Just a year after my 8-year-old self was (I loathe using the word) molested, I was relocated to South Carolina to live with my grandmother and great-grandmother.
I was 9 years old when I realized my mom couldn’t take care of me anymore. I was torn between “can’t” and “didn’t want to”. It was a cold, icy night in January when my aunt and her beau came to get me from my mother to take me on the long trip to the dirty south.
Tears were shed. Hugs were long. But the reality was, I was not going to be raised by my mother anymore. No more bouncing from house to house. No more not having my own bed to sleep in or even my own room. No more having to think about what happened that night in the alley, just a year prior.
I will never forgot the smile on my grandmothers face when I finally arrived and walked into her living room. It’s like she knew every inch of pain and hurt that traveled throughout my entire body and tried to hug it out of me.
I wish it worked but it didn’t.
The weekend passed and my aunt and her beau left. My poor little grandmother tried her best to get me things I needed and she fed me very well. I know I say it as though I was never fed but it’s just, I hardly ever had home cooked meals when I lived in DC with my mother.
I was visited by my aunt and her twin sons, my cousins whom I call my big brothers, and other family members. It was all so nice but overwhelming, honestly.
My beautiful, short, great-grandmother with her smooth, brown skin and silky, grey hair always sat quietly in her chair. She only really moved when she went to the porch, the bathroom, the bedroom, and back to her chair. One thing I do remember is, she loved her family, she talked in her sleep, and she loved baseball.
First day of school. Grandma fixed me breakfast but made it very clear this was not an everyday occurrence. I didn’t care! I got to eat grits and eggs with sugar! She drove me to school and there I was at Morrison Elementary School, starting 4th grade in the middle of the school year. I made two white friends and got jumped, or approached rather aggressively, by some black girls. I went home with a long scratch on my face but was very intrigued at how diverse my new school was. There were a handful of black people but loads of whites; and this ladies and gents is when I realized the south is where racism still existed. I had never experienced anything so strange in my life.
Why were there so many white people and so few black people at my school? Why was it so evident, the segregation between the two races in 1994?
I got a few more rides to school then I had to catch the school bus. Can I just say that the bus stop was down a long arse hill that if I weren’t too careful I would’ve tripped and fallen all the way down? Okay, said it. I remember the bus driver. He often yelled at us for no reason. Of course walking the aisle, saying bad words, and throwing things at each other was to be expected on a school bus, so I don’t know what his issue was.
It was all so amazing to me. The view to school was so beautiful, so peaceful, so different from the city. But I missed the city. I missed my mom and I missed my sister.
Bittersweet, the next few years to come would definitely be an adjustment for everyone.