The sun shining on my face woke me up, as the sharp pain in my back reminds me that I have been sleeping in the car for almost three weeks now. I slowly sat up so that I could see if anyone was standing around, as I uncovered myself in the back seat of the car. I slept with my clothes on so I would not have to worry about anyone seeing anything. I grabbed my backpack and checked to make sure my items were in place.
I got out of the car and went inside the same store near the abandoned house that I use to live in and used the restroom to wash up. As I am coming out of the store there is a guy standing in the front who is staring at me hard enough that I made the “What are you looking at” face. “Wait? That’s the guy that spoke to me the first time I was looking for and found an abandoned house to stay in, in this area; the one with the short afro and large black lips” I thought.
I continued to walk to my car as he too walked towards my car and stopped. They were the largest lips I had ever seen on a person… they were beautiful on him. He smiled at me, “My name is Bobby James.” He stood there looking at me and when I didn’t answer he asked “You okay”? I said “Yes”. “Are you sure” he asked? “I’ve seen you sleeping in your car, have you eaten anything yet” he asked?
I looked at him like he was crazy! “Why is he asking me all of these questions” I think, as I get mad. He threw his hands up and smiled the perfect smile. “I’m not gonna hurt you Queen, you know you need something to eat” he said and cocked his head to the side, as he looked at me waiting for a response. “You need to come by my mama’s house and get something to eat. She’s home with the rest of my family; you’ll be fine”.
I sure was hungry and the thought of hot fresh food had me shaking my head up and down. His smile widened even bigger. “If you not scared, I will ride with you and show you the way to my mama’s”. I stared at him for a moment more and said “Okay” he jumped in the car with me and we drove to his mama’s house.
She had a huge two story light green wooden house, with a long front porch. I waited in the car while he went into the house; I did not want to go inside just in case he was lying. After about 20 minutes a young girl came out on the porch waving to me, yelling “come on in the house”; so I got out of my car and went inside.
There seemed to be people everywhere. He had eleven sisters and brothers; some looked grown to me, including Bobby. His mother Miss Mildred, a small woman, who you would never think gave birth to that many children; welcomed me into the house with a hug that scared me a little, it was so tight.
“Have a seat and I’ll get you something to eat, you hungry right” she asked? “Yes ma`am, thank you” I say as I shake my head up and down. “How old are you” she asked? 18, I lied. I was scared to tell her I was barely 16 years old. I did not want her to call the police. Bobby just stood in the doorway and watched as I made small talk with his mother and ate. She wanted to know why I was living in my car. She listened while I told her my life story and she made me feel like everything would be okay.
That morning turned into several weeks. I shared Bobby’s room with him and helped Miss Mildred take care of her kids, clean and cook. I did not mind at all, I was happy to do that in exchange for a place to lay my head. I felt protected. Bobby was so nice to me, whenever and wherever I had to go Bobby was happy to drive me in my car.
Everything was going fine until Miss Mildred said that Bobby and his sister Tammy, the oldest, had to move out and get their own place. I was worried; because if Bobby had to leave, I was sure I had to leave too! Bobby did nothing to find us a place to stay; although he told me he was taking my car every day to go and look for a job, he could never find one.
His sister Tammy got a section 8 apartment in Dixon Circle and Bobby and I moved in with her. Tammy said I had to go with her to social services to get food stamps and a monthly check that I would give to her each month in exchange for her letting me live with her. “What does Bobby have to do” I wondered. He didn’t do anything each day, but drank with the other guys hanging around outside, smoke and drive my car.
He swore he was still looking for a job. So he used my car to look for work each day while I stayed at the apartment; now he was driving my car more than me. It got to where Bobby drove me everywhere I went. At first it didn’t bother me; I thought it was nice, like Corn did the driving for Momma. But I started to notice that even when I wanted to drive, he wouldn’t let me.
At first he was nice about it, acting like he wanted to treat me like a queen, for me to just sit back and relax; but then he started bullying me and not letting me drive. Then he would get upset if I went anywhere without him; even to see my sister. Sand noticed it during one of her visits and told me that I better be careful.
He started accusing me of being with other guys if I went anywhere without him; soon I couldn’t go anywhere without him or he would fight with me once I got back!
Sand was right, he was controlling me and he was taking my car! It was time to leave and find somewhere else to live. I decided I would go and visit my Aunt Marilyn and ask her if I could move in with her for a little while.
I got up, cleaned up the apartment and pulled out what I was going to cook for Bobby; who was supposedly gone job hunting. I watched some TV, sat on the porch and watched the happenings on the court and then watched some more TV; but it was getting late in the day and Bobby would be coming home soon. If he had been drinking he would be ready to eat.
His sister Tammy came into the kitchen as I was cooking and said that she was leaving out and wouldn’t be back until late. I was happy to hear that, it meant I could relax for a minute without feeling like she was watching me.
I finished cooking and then went and took a shower; and I had just finishing putting my clothes on when Bobby asks “Where you going?” from the door way. I jumped because I did not hear him come in, “To my Aunt Marilyn’s house, I…” I didn’t get to finish talking before Bobby cut me off with, “Naw, I got something else I gotta do”.
I am thinking “That’s not my problem” but I say instead “Well, I can drop you and then go to my aunt’s house”. He doesn’t answer me. As I walk over to pick up my keys from the dresser, Bobby lunges forward and elbows in front of me snatching my keys off of the dresser!
“Give me my keys Bobby” I say, as he walks out of the bedroom. I hear the front door open and close, so I run to the front door. “Bobby!” “Bobby!” “Where you going with my car” I yelled from the front door! He kept walking and was about to get into my car to leave. I ran up behind him and tried to grab the keys.
“This is my car Bobby, you can’t keep taking my car” I say as I struggle to take the keys from him. “Bitch you must be crazy” he says, as he is pushing me out of the car!
He elbows me in the chest and I fall back, as people are starting to gather around. I jump back on him and he starts punching me in my face, as I try to cover up and fall to the ground! He stops hitting me to get back in the car and I jump up and lunge forward; wrapping my right arm around his neck and then my arm as I bite his ear! He yelled and slammed me into the side of the car and beat the side of my face, head and shoulders! “Stop Bobby!” “Bobby stop!” I fall onto the ground screaming!
He grabbed me by the top of my hair and he drug me across the parking lot! I hear the screen door creek open, as he drug me back into the apartment, into the middle of the living room floor. He let go and went back to close the front door. I lay there curled up and crying on the floor! He kicked me! He bent down, grabbed my hair and pulled my head back to make me look at him.
“You belong to me and anything you have belongs to me, you hear me” he growled! I shook my head up and down. “You belong to me” he said again, as he pulled my pants down and off. He kicked my legs open, he didn’t even bother to take my panties off; he just took me.
I lay there and looked nowhere. When he had finished, he grabbed another beer from the fridge and sat on the couch. “Get up and clean yo-self up before Tammy get home” he said. I jumped up and ran to the bedroom. He drank beer after beer while he watched sports until he was drunk.
I looked at the clock and it’s been several hours and all I hear is the television set in the living room. I got up and walked slowly to the door and placed my ear to it to listen; I didn’t hear a sound. My heart is racing as I slowly open the door and peeked into the living room. He was drunk sleeping on the couch like he didn’t have a care in the world.
I was so mad; Momma would be shaking her head at me right now! “He ain’t shit and you ain’t shit” I heard her voice saying, “Letting that sorry ass nigga beat on you” she was shaking her head!
I got up and stomped out of the room “He was not gonna be treating me like this” I mumbled, as I picked up one of the empty beer bottles from out of the kitchen trash. I opened the back door and broke the bottle on the concrete back porch, creating sharp jagged edges!
I slowly crept back to where Bobby was sleeping, holding the bottle in my hand. The more I thought about what he had done, the madder I got. I held the bottle over his throat while he slept. I closed my eyes and opened them and Corn was sitting on the couch! I blinked and Bobby was back.
“You can do it Joye” I thought, as I stood over him. I had seen my Momma hurt Corn and daddy Presley; and I saw my Aunt Gloria beat the HELL out of her boyfriends several times. Aunty would take a belt or a wooden plank after he was drunk and would beat him like he was one of the children!
I stared at him… I hated him for how he had beaten me earlier in front of everyone and then raped me. “Cut his throat” the voice said. “Just raise your hand and smash it down hard” I heard! So I placed my fingers from both my hands around the neck of the broken bottle and I raised it up as high as my arms would go as I stared down at him drunk and sleeping.
I saw myself killing him in my mind, jugging him in his throat and his blood going everywhere, but I couldn’t do it; no matter how much I hated him!
I backed up and dropped my arms to my side letting the broken beer bottle fall onto the carpet. I quietly walked out of the living room into the bedroom. I grabbed his duffle bag from the closet and I quickly packed up all of my things.
I went back into the living room looking for my car keys; but after not being able to find them, I remembered that Bobby had put them in his pant pocket…
“He can have that raggedy ass car” I thought, as I walked out the door.