Despair was written all over my face. What’s wrong baby?” Tim said, as he brought me and his plate of Chinese food to the living room, where I’d been reviewing a case. “I just got off the phone with my brother’s ex. She asked me if my nephew Jay, could come live with me,” I said. “Wow.
What happened?” Tim said, after sitting our plates of Chinese food on the table, and taking my wine glass to the kitchen to refill my glass. “I’m going to need the whole bottle baby,” I said. “Oh, okay,” Tim said. Then he walked back into the living room with my glass and the bottle of Chardonnay. “Jay hasn’t been going to school and now he’s selling drugs,” I said.
“What? When did this start? You were just in Georgia visiting him six months ago, and you said he was doing good in school,” Tim said. “Baby, I know. I don’t understand it, but I’m going to call him.
I know that his mom’s boyfriend has been abusing her for years. I don’t know if he’s acting out because of what’s going on there, or what. Apparently he’s been living with my brother for months now,” I said. “What did his mom say?” Tim said. “Basically, she just said that she can’t deal with Jay anymore.
She said that she’d tried talking to my brother, and my brother doesn’t have a problem with Jay’s behavior. She feels like if Jay’s exposed to better, he’ll do better. As much as I love my nephew, I can’t do it. I’m at work up to twelve hours a day. I can’t give him the one on one that he needs.
You see what I’m doing on my off day… working. I can’t give him the time or attention he needs. The last thing I want him to do is come to NewYork and start doing the same things because I’m not around. Ugh! Let me call him,” I said, before grabbing my cell off the table.
“No, wait,” Tim said, before taking my phone out of my hand. “Baby, calm down. Eat, and gather your thoughts. It’s a lot to take in, and you don’t want to make a decision right away,” Tim said. “Are you saying that I should move Jay here?” I said.
“I didn’t say that, but I am saying, take a moment to think about it. Sleep on it, and call him in the morning. I just don’t want you to call while you’re upset,” Tim said. “Fine, I’ll call him in the morning.” I didn’t sleep a wink that night.
Sunday morning, I called Jay. Monday night, he was in New York. Welcome to Manhattan, I said, as I pulled up to my townhouse. I promised Tim that I’d call him once I got home. Tim and I have been dating for almost a year, and he knows how much I love my nephew, so he was excited to meet him.
I enrolled Jay into private school. On the weekends, I began to teach him how to drive. I told him that if he got good grades, I’d buy him a car for his sixteenth birthday. He got his grades up, and as promised, I bought him a car, but after a few months of having the car, all hell broke loose. He began to come home late at night, and couple of times I came home early from work, and he had a fast tailed lil girl over my house.
They’d been having sex at my house like they’re grown and pay bills. Trying to raise a teenager is hard. Trying to raise a teenaged young man is even harder, especially if you’re a woman. I’m not going to lie; I was stressed. I went from cool auntie to not so cool auntie real quick.
I had to lay down some ground rules. I was doing my part to help Jay, but he needed to help himself. Coming in my house at three in the morning, and having sex at my house wasn’t it. I had a talk with him because he isn’t ready for a kid. He’s still a kid, working to get himself together.
I started looking into all kinds of programs that he could get involved in, so that he wouldn’t have so much idle time. He said that the programs weren’t for him, and he said he’d do better, so I gave him another chance to redeem himself, outside of a program for troubled teens. However, despite the second chance that I gave him, he started hanging out late again. He would wait until I was asleep and sneak out around eleven, and come back home at three. I tried talking to him again, but out of frustration, I yelled, and that turned into our first argument.
I grabbed my cell. “Who are you calling, my dad? Oh, I get it. You’re sending me back home. You’re just going to leave me like everyone else,” Jay said.
I put my cell phone down. I wasn’t going to call my brother. I was going to call Tim and ask him to sign Jay up for a
the program for troubled young men. Tim had been great about supporting me, and giving me the space I needed to deal with Jay. He understood Jay’s past with his mom’s boyfriend, and he didn’t want to be the guy that isn’t family, but gives his two cents about how Jay should live his life.
He stayed out the way. Jay didn’t trust Tim easily either, probably because Tim’s a cop. “I’m not going to leave you. I love you Jay, but no matter how much I try to help you become your best self, you’ll never live up to that potential unless you want better for yourself. I know that there’s more to you than these streets. I grew up in the streets too, but it’s all about your mindset.
Some people never want to make it out of that life, so they make decisions that keeps them in. Sometimes, when they do make it out, they’re still attached to those demons, so they go back to that lifestyle. The projects are nothing more than a prison. When you choose the street life, it ends in prison, or death, and I don’t want to lose you,” I cried. Jay hugged me, and promised to do better.
“Auntie, it just feels like trouble follows me everywhere I go, and no matter how much I try to do better, something bad always happens,” he cried. “I know baby,” I said, still hugging him. “I understand,” I said. “I don’t want to be like this, but it feels like the streets chose me. I didn’t choose the streets.
I want better for my life; I just don’t know how to get to better,” Jay said. We came out of each other’s embrace, and a business card fell out of his coat pocket. It was Tim’s business card for the youth program. That was the confirmation that I needed from God, that it was meant for Jay to join. Then my cell rang; it was Tim.