Chapter 11: Solo
Today is a really beautiful day for a Monday. So I figured why not end it with a trip to the lake, start a little campfire to keep warm and work on some writing under the moonlight.
I believe we stayed in that shelter we were in for about a month before I found out I was pregnant yet again, so I just gave up and decided I was ready to leave that horrid place. I was able to find a program that would help me pay for a hotel temporarily, until I was able to find work and pay for it myself. I’m over Darnell and the entire situation we found ourselves in. So one day while he was out, I packed up my children and our belongings and left him there at the shelter, alone. I did find out that not too long after we left, Darnell chose not to stay at the shelter and he eventually left as well. Where he went, that I’m unsure of, but it would be much much later before we would communicate again. What I do know is that being in that shelter, I found myself in a very depressing state of mind and that shelter was not an environment I wanted my babies to become accustomed to.
The hotel was nothing extravagant by any means, but it was not the shelter and it was away from Darnell. It was your basic 4 hr type stay hotel, I was just grateful that they had rooms for temporary living quarters that were away from the nightly stays. There was no way I would be able to properly explain all the inappropriate oohs and ahhs through the walls to a bunch of children. It was one very spacious room, with a table for eating and a few chairs. It had a dresser with a vanity mirror and a television that sat on top of it. There was also a mini refrigerator with a microwave above it. A small closet space, lol, if you can even call it that. A wash/vanity area with a sink and it came equipped with the items needed for grooming. Then there was the bathroom that was decent sized with a tub and shower, with a toilet that always flooded.
Things were going relatively well with just me and the children. It was almost like being able to breath for the very first time and there was peace, there was solace. There was no yelling, screaming, discouraging words thrown at me and I was free to be me. The program I used to move into the hotel was only temporary so I was on a hustle to find myself employment quickly. I eventually was able to find a really decent job, the problem was, I was only making enough to keep up with the hotel cost and daily necessities. So of course there was always a struggle here and there, it felt like I would never leave from there.
While browsing a few social media sites one day, I came across a friend that I hadn’t heard from in years. I was so excited to hear from her. She was always like a big sister, I spent most of my time at her house before I had Antoine and her mom always treated me like her daughter. I felt so loved being around them, so maybe excited was understatement. Robynn and I spent many hours on the phone just catching each other up on each other lives and our different struggles. It was so amazing to have my best friend and refreshing to have someone to talk to about everything. Every spare moment we had, Robynn and I were on the phone.
A couple days went by and I received a call from an unknown number while at work. The phone number had the area code to where Robynn lived but it wasn’t her phone number, so I decided to return the call when I got off work. I get off and go straight to the hotel room where my babies are at and begin the process of settling in. I checked to make sure the kids were okay, they ate, everyone took a shower and all homework was completed. After settling myself in for the night, which would include a shower for myself and supper. I dialed the number back that had called me earlier, I was surprised to find out it was Shannon, Robynn’s mother. If you thought I was excited to hear from Robynn, then you would overstand how elated I was to hear from Shannon.
Shannon and I spent a couple hours on the phone going over everything I had been through over the last couple years with Darnell. Of course she knew who Darnell was because we all, Robynn, Darnell and myself grew up in the same area. Shannon gave me some motherly advice on where to go with my life from that point on, how to improve myself in multiple ways and then she talked about the different opportunities where they lived in South Dakota. Shannon felt that I could really make a great living out there. By the time Shannon and I got off the phone, I was just about convinced to pack it up that night and head out. We said our good nights with promises of keeping in touch more often from then on out.
The very next morning I got a call from Robynn asking if I had spoken with her mother, I told her yes and discussed what we had talked about. Robynn asked me how I felt about the idea and to be honest, I really wasn’t sure. I mean I have never moved too far away from home. The furthest I ever went was maybe a little over an hour and even then I still had family in the order. I didn’t know if I was ready for a move like that. At the rate my life was going though, what did I really have to lose from the whole deal. I wouldn’t realize what a huge mistake I was making until some time later. But for now, what did I have to lose? So I made the decision to pack it up, try something different and I took a risk for a change.
I had given my employer my notice of resignation, I paid the hotel room off for another week and took my van to the local auto shop and had it serviced. I got a tune up, oil change, new tires, I mean the whole nine. Any and everything that needed to be done, to make this a safe trip, was done. This was going to be a fifteen hour trip, my first time moving far away from home and I wanted nothing to go wrong. After all, it was just the children and I on this trip solo. The last thing I wanted or needed for that matter, was to be stranded in the middle of nowhere.
The day before we were due to leave, I decided it was a good time to get the van loaded up so it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle the next morning. We had a few visitors throughout the day to wish us well and safe travels. My mama and daddy even stopped by to see us off. Later that night after the day had calmed down, I received a phone call from you know who (ding, ding, ding, ding, ding) you guessed it, Darnell. I should probably mention that I never told Darnell of my plans, so he was calling to confirm what he had heard and yep, confirmed it I did.
Darnell tried calling himself pissed about me taking the children and I really just give a damn anymore, be mad all you want bro, but I’m over the back and forward. So I had my fuck you attitude on full display during the whole conversation. But don’t think, I let him talk so much that I didn’t get a few words of choice in, before the whole conversation was all said and done. By the end of the phone call I had made plans to go see Darnell that night because he claimed he wanted to spend one last night with the children, so I agreed. It’s still relatively early after all the packing is, I made sure the room was clean, checked out and headed to Michigan where we’ll be seeing Darnell for the last time.
We pull into the parking lot of the hotel we would be staying in. I didn’t mind going to see Darnell largely due to the fact the hotel was right off the Interstate we were going to be traveling the very next morning. Darnell was dropped off not too much later after the children and I arrived. He went in to pay for the room, he came out with the room key in tow and we proceeded into the building following Darnell to where we would be sleeping for the night. We got to the room and I began to get the children settled in for the night, we had a long day ahead of us.
Of course Darnell spent most of the evening and a lot of the early morning hours trying to convince me to stay. I was not having it, I had made up my mind already and we were leaving, everything was either set in stone or was already put in place for our arrival. There was no turning back for me. Obviously this life was not for me, never treated me kind and it was time to start anew with a fresh beginning. With that, the children started to stir from their sleep and it was time to go and hit the road. Darnell said his goodbyes to everyone. The children and I loaded up in the van and hit the highway, heading towards our new home.
We’re all allowed to make mistakes.
We’re all allowed to learn from them.
We’re all allowed to grow from them.