My First Love

My Reflection of Life at Seventeen

For a seventeen-year-old, I’ve been through a lot of drama, especially when it comes to
males. The first man I loved in my life was Anthony Berkley. He was 19 years old, full of
anxiousness and happiness–or so I thought. He took pictures of me on the dining room table next
to bread and fruit like I was the main entree. I was barely clothed, nine pounds and twelve ounces
with a diaper on. Oh, a big baby I was, and big baby I remain. My father was in and out of my
life for six years, after dropping me off at my mothers’ when I was five. I lived with him for a
school year-kindergarten at Adams Elementary in South Philly. I remember it vividly; my father
would wake me up a half hour before school started, and if I whined, he would let me sleep for
another ten minutes. We only lived across the street from the school, and he would walk me to
my classroom door everyday.
I had a kind teacher and funny classmates. I specifically remember a little dark-skinned
boy who could push his eyelids inside out until the teacher told him they would get stuck that
way. I remember reading books in front of the whole class fluently and teachers boasting about
how smart I was. I also remember my first unexplained fear of Martin Luther king, Jr. All I can
remember is being given a color-in picture of his face that was given to me as an assignment. It
didn’t have his name on it, but as soon as I realized who it was, I bursted out into tears. Maybe it
was his tragic story; maybe it was my comparison of King to Jesus, and stories my Nana told
me and how he died for our people. I sit here to this day and wonder why I cried for this man I
never knew.
Anthony left me at my mother’s apartment in Mount Airy when I was six. From that day
forward, I knew that the first man I loved would never be there for me how I believed he was
before. For the next six years, he would call and make promises to pick me up and takes me out
places. He made me promises to buy me things I wanted and needed, and each time he broke his
promise I would take out my anger on the only person around, my mother Annette. For six years,
Anthony would make it up to my school on my birthday and bring me card, huge cards with a
few dollars taped or glued in them. He’d say hi and bye, and I would cry and cry until the pain of
having a fair-weather father subsided, until my next birthday came.
He stopped showing up when I was twelve, and I was genuinely relieve. I wasn’t sure if I
had went off on him the year before, told him that it was “really messed up” that I only had a
father on day of the year, but birthdays haven’t been the same since that year.
As much as I did spite my father for leaving me, I could not imagine the kind of life I
would have if I were still under his custody. Would I still have the same goals and achievements I
do now? My father thought nothing of education, so much that he only finished high school by
the grace of my Nana. He was going to drop out. Would he implement that same laziness and
apathy in his daughter?
If I were a forgiving soul, I could say that he thought the same thing, and to his credit,
loved me enough to spare me a life of learning carelessness and ignorance from his mastery.
Much against this, however, his absence lead to the depression and angst I felt for many years
tied with feelings of neither of my parents wanting me and being a complication to them both…
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