John Kirkwood: A short story by Shubricca L Bell. Part 1

Hey, y’all. I’m back with another short story. This is going to be a good one, if I do say so myself. I just love writing y’all. I could do it twenty four seven. Anyway, this is a inspirational drama that I know you’ll enjoy. 

As with any of my stories, there’s always a profound message in them, and my prayer is that God moves on you in His own special way, and that this story, or any of my short stories or books, will inspire you to love and live life purposefully, never taking a second for granted. I pray that you have love, peace, healing, and happiness in this life, and the one to come. Now, without further ado, I present to you this short story, by yours truly; John Kirkwood.

Part 1

Sometimes in life the unexpected happens, and it changes the trajectory of our lives, and/or the people in our lives, forever. People experience these unexpected events in different ways, some good and some bad, some happy, and some sad. A high school student getting accepted into the college of his or her dreams. A high school student losing their life a few days before graduation. A married couple becoming parents for the first time. A married couple going through a miscarriage a third time. We don’t always get to choose our battles, but when we do, we’d better choose wisely, because our choices affect our lives. 

Sometimes we feel the effects immediately, sometimes we feel them twenty years later. For every cause, there’s an effect. Everything we sow, we reap. I’m John Kirkwood, and this is a story of my life, that dramatically changed because of a choice that was wisely chosen on behalf, not by me, but by a wise woman. That wise woman is my aunt Brenda. 

Now, I want you to understand something, because this is very important. Just because a choice is wise, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes, making a wise choice is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Sometimes, it’s lonesome. Sometimes it’s scary. 

Sometimes making a wise choice seems like the stupidest thing you could have ever done. Sometimes it hurts like hell, but in the end, it always, always work for the good. I’m not speaking out the side of my neck, I’m speaking truth. I’ve witnessed it. I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for the times that I felt the sting of someone else’s decisions, or my own decisions. 

So, let me tell you how I got to this point in my life, because it’s easy to see the glory when people don’t know your story. I’m here to let you know that life isn’t always easy, it’s what you make it. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in God, and although it took me a while, I learned to believe in myself. 

I grew up in Kirkwood, yeah, I’m from Decatur, but not the Kirkwood that many of you may be familiar with. I grew up in Kirkwood when it was also known as, “Crackwood.” My family dominated the east side of Atlanta back in the day. I come from a line of OG’s, and hustlers. I still have street credit off my name alone to this day.

My aunt Brenda was always the smart one. She was in the hood, but she wasn’t of the hood. She always had dreams and aspirations to make a name for herself, outside of what our family is known for. My dad is her older brother. My dad has always been in my life, but my mom’s always had full custody of me. 

Aunt Brenda is fifteen years older than me. I remember when she graduated from college, every now and then she’d come scoop me up from my mom’s house, and we’d go hang out downtown. This was back in the day when Underground Atlanta was the place to be. She would take me downtown to buy me some new shoes, and we’d get something to eat, and catch a movie. I enjoyed spending time with her. 

Although my dad lived in the same city, I started seeing less and less of him after he and mom broke up. Over the years, I’d see aunt Brenda more than I’d see my dad, and aunt Brenda was now living in NewYork. I remember she came to visit me one time. I was around ten years old. She asked me when was the last time I saw my dad, and I couldn’t remember. 

It hadn’t been years, but it had been a while. I told her that he always sends me money, but I didn’t see him like that. I could tell she wasn’t too happy about my dad’s decisions, but she never talked bad about him or anyone for that matter. She was my peace, because I lived in a house of pure hell. Yes, I was well taken care of, but my mom was in a relationship with a guy who would beat her every chance he got, and I’m not going to lie; messed up my head, but what was I supposed to do? 

I was ten, and he was a grown man. This had been going on now for three years. I started to hate that man. I wanted to live with my dad, but he was too busy chasing tail or chasing money. That messed with my head too, but I had to man up. 

I was a young man. I was taught that we didn’t have emotions, and if we did, we’d better not show them. My mom’s boyfriend taught me that, but I don’t think he realized the monster he was creating by telling me that all the time. He never laid a hand on me, because he knew my father and uncles didn’t play about their family. I couldn’t understand why dad would let mom get beat on though. 

I asked him on one of the days he decided to come around. I was about twelve at the time. He told me that mom wasn’t his concern. He said, his only concern was me. I asked him if I could live with him, and he told me that it was better if I lived with my mom. 

He didn’t want to expose me to his lifestyle. I was already exposed to it though. I knew what he was doing. By the time I was fifteen, I’d had enough. I joined a gang, and I would come home late at night, and my mom would fuss and cry, and tell me that she wanted better for me. 

God knows that I wasn’t hurting her intentionally, but I was hurting too. “How the hell you demand better from me, when you allow this loser to use you as a punching bag?” I told her. Then, me and her boyfriend began to argue. I pulled out a gun on him, and he threw up his hands. “You got it, Youngblood,” he said. 

“I know I do. Yeah, look at you now. Not so bad when a gun is on your forehead, are you?” I said. “Jay, put the gun down baby,” my mom said to me. After a few seconds, I put my hand down, but continued to hold the gun tight. 

She ran over to her boyfriend to see if he was okay, and then she yelled for me to get out. She told me that she couldn’t put up with my shit anymore. “My shit? My shit? Mom, what the hell! 

I’m your son. You can’t put up with my shit, but you can get beat like a punching bag for eight years?” I said. “Jay, please. Just leave,” she cried,” while hugging her poor excuse of a man. So, I left and went over my dad’s house. 

He told me that if his lifestyle is the life I’ve chosen for myself, then it was time for me to become a man, and he immediately put me to work. I sold crack, I sold weed, and this was around the time when popping Molly was the thing. So, I sold pills too. I rarely went to school. The teachers would call my mom about my attendance, and although I hadn’t lived with her for months, she’d try to talk me into staying in school and doing more with my life. So, a couple of times I went to school, just for her.

I tried… I really tried, but I was already making money; I didn’t need school. I only went to school to sell weed and pills. My mom had enough, and after she talked to my dad and he seemed unconcerned about me not going to school, she reached out to aunt Brenda. Aunt Brenda had her own thing going on in NewYork.

She would still come and see me, but not like she did when I was younger. It had been a year since I’d seen her, and a lot had transpired. “Brenda, please help. I’ve done all that I can do,” mom said, over the phone. “I’m sorry, but I can’t,” aunt Brenda said.

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