The year 2001 was a game changer for me. I was in my early 20s, raising two young boys by myself, and was no not in the most ideal situation. I just left a physically abusive relationship, and had nowhere to go. Of course I knew I could always go back home, to Denver, CO. That was just not an option for me. I left Denver to get away, to start something new, to start life. I could not go back and admit that I messed up. I had to find a way to make it work in Federal Way. I had to.
I was working full-time as a customer service manager at Walmart. Although it was not great money, it was something. A way to provide for my seven year old son and one month old baby boy. I just needed a place to stay temporary until I was able to save up enough money for our own place. I was determined to make it happen. I just did not know how.
On my day off from work, I took my two sons to Walmart. My seven year old needed shoes for school, and I was down to my last 30 bucks until payday-which was three days away. His shoes had to come first.
I purchased the shoes, came outside to the bench so my seven year old, AJ, could put them on. My baby was crying, I had to feed him, and of course I had no bottle with me. I am arguing with AJ because apparently in the time it took to pick out the shoes, pay for the shoes and come outside so he could put them on, he decided he no longer liked them.
“You are wearing the shoes! I do not care, you are wearing the shoes.!”
And that is when I met Alphonso. He was on break, sitting on a corner bench, smoking his cigarette and laughing at me. I gave him a quick “Do not even start with me” glance. He put his cigarette out, came over to help my son with his shoes, gave me the up and down look over and said,”You are just a big hot mess, aren’t you?”
That is how I met my best friend.
Ever since the first meeting, where he was not only critiquing my mothering, but also my look, we became fast friends. We took our breaks together, we took lunches together, we would talk on the phone when we were not at work. He would tell me about his roommate, Christin, who also worked at the store. I worked a different shift than her, so I had no idea who she was. I told him about my situation, with my boys, and he told me all about him and his fashion magazines.
There was a small group of us at work who became fast friends. One friend in particular, Jessie, offered for my boys and me to come stay with her and her husband until I save enough money for my own apartment. I was running out of time. The person who abused me, was on his way out of jail, and I was on borrowed time. I had to find somewhere to go, and Jessie was my saving grace.
It was a great arrangement for the first two months, and then things got bad very quickly. Let me explain something. Jessie was amazing. She turned her dining room into a bedroom for my boys and me. She helped me pack my belongings and made sure I was able to move out safely. She had my back, she had my boys back. This woman was an angel. She went above and beyond.
When her husband propositioned me, when he told me he would get a hotel room so we could have sex, my world fell apart. How could he do this to me, and more importantly how could he do this to his wife, who moved mountains to help me. I knew I could no longer stay there, and I still did not have enough money saved to get my own place.
I was forced to make one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. I had to send AJ with family in Virginia temporarily, just to give me some time. I needed more time. I would keep the baby with me, only because he was so young. Saying good-bye to AJ at the Sea-Tac airport was a day I will never forget. I was at an-all-time low, and I had no idea how I would go on. My only goal, was to get enough money to make a home for me and my boys.
A few days after AJ left, I was court ordered to allow my ex to have visitation. I had a restraining order against him, which means we had to have a mediator. Another friend at work was gracious enough to take the baby and me to a meeting place so the piece of garbage could see him. Did I mention Wa State law sucks? Everything was agreed on, he would have the baby for two days, and then I would pick him up, with my mediator in the same place. Except, that did not happen. The piece of garbage never brought my baby back. He took him and there was not a thing I could do. You see, at this point the piece of garbage was listed on the birth certificate. The only order that legally had to be upheld was the no contact order us. The custody order was still in progress. The Federal Way Police Department, along with Child Protective Services of Wa State told me there was nothing I could do. Piece of garbage was listed on the birth certificate. It did not matter that the piece of shit was in jail for physically abusing me. It did not matter that I had pictures taking by the police department. It was two separate issues and I was screwed. Basically, I had to get my baby back on my own.
You talk about hitting rock bottom, this was mine. I had to send one son away, and for all intense and purposes my baby had been kidnapped, and I was going to be homeless in a matter of days. I did not want to go on, I did not how to go on. I was done.
I met up with Alphonso that night, a long with a mutual new friend, Pat. This was the first time Alphonso and I hung out outside work. This was the first time I did not have my children with me. I no longer cared. I just wanted a drinking buddy, I wanted to drink to forget and I was going in balls to the wall. All of us, Alphonso, Pat and me were fighting our own demons that night. None of us cared about anything, except drinking.
At the end of our drinking binge, I was screwed. I could not go to Jessie’s house. This was the night she was confronting her husband. She told me “This is your home, you do not have to leave.” But, I did. There was no way I could be there. Alphonso, Pat and I were driving in the car, and it hit me. I have no place to go. I have no kids, I do not have anything. I am nothing. I deserve nothing, there was no way for me to fix this. There was no way out.
And that’s when Alphonso said
“You can crash at my place.”