I can't believe that prom was just a few months ago. The strains of Pomp & Circumstance linger in the distance. It was hard for me to decide to go away to college at the last minute. However, I felt that it was the right thing for me to do. If I do not leave this place, my mother will never let me be my own person. She wants me to get a liberal arts degree at a local college and get married. I want to travel the world and experience different cultures. There are exchange programs in Europe and study opportunities in Africa. My academic scholarship will be transferred and Dad said he would get me a car. Of course there is the issue with my boyfriend or my former beau.

He went away to college last year and was sent home because he did not have time to study in between partying. It was then that I started to pull away from him. Now, he is here living with his parents doing nothing. He wants me to stay in town so that we can be together. We no longer want the same things. I do not want to be restrained by anyone or anything which caused me to say bye. There is such a big world out there, and it is waiting for me. He did not take the news well, but he needs to figure out his own life; without me.

It will be nice to make some new friends. Since graduation, a lot of us have just been doing our own thing. I miss hanging out with the others. Janet got pregnant and will start in a few years. Keisha left early for a trade program. Janet went to visit her grandmother in North Carolina, and then there is Melissa. She wants her own everything: car, apartment, and two boyfriends. The fights with her mom escalated, and she left the house. She has been living with her aunt, and working in the local strip club. She did not disclose this info to her family. I saw her going home one morning as I was walking in the park. We had a nice long talk about it, and I promised not to say anything. I did beg her to be please be careful and not to make stripping a career. It did make me wonder.

What type of a God would allow such a thing to take place? Melissa isn't perfect but she shouldn't have to twerk for a living just to get a decent dollar. Am I even worshiping the right God? I am saved. My acceptance of Jesus Christ came at a young age. It was simple for me. I did not want to go to hell. The baptismal pool felt like a potential drowning, but now I won't burn to death. I have questions about God; about Jesus. Everyone around me seems to be so set on their spiritual path. Part of why I want to visit other countries is so that I can see other religions. There has to be something else to suit me. Church does not seem to feel right anymore. I would not dare tell my mother. She would just tell me to pray about it. I do not want to pray about it. I want to take action.

I did tell Melissa how I felt. She shrugged her shoulders and took a puff of her cigarette. She told me that I had to follow my heart. If it did not feel right, go explore other things. She invited me over for dinner one night with her Aunt Maria. She was dressed in all white. The cloth looked so pure that it glowed. There were flowers and beautiful pots everywhere. She told me about how I was feeling. It was obvious that Melissa did not tell her because Aunt Maria told me things that I never told anyone. She told me to try meditation as a way to connect to something greater than myself. It was a great evening. For the first time in a long time, I felt as if someone truly understood my point of view.

There was no judgement. There was no listening to respond with her opinion. She heard me and responded with gentle guidance. Have I ever had that before? It was very comforting. The meditation really helped me. I felt so together. Aunt Maria began inviting me over on a regular basis for dinner. Her white clothes intrigued me. She said that she wore white to purify herself. It helped to keep negativity away from her. Apparently, she would do spiritual readings for people. They would seek clarity for issues in their lives. That was the first time that I saw a tarot deck. It was not long before I had to have my own.

At first the cards just stared back at me with their strange pictures. As I shuffled, a vibration went though me. One by one the cards began to reveal to me what was light and what was dark. Melissa helped me practice before working one night. She said that I was really good and should take them with me when I start college. Each day I would pull one to say hello to the deck. Each day, it would respond to me. The frequent trips to Aunt Maria did not go unnoticed by my meddlesome maternal unit.

She asked what I was doing there all of the time. There was no way that I could tell her the truth. Lying did not sit well with me either. I told her that I was learning how to meditate and clear my mind. She wanted to know what cluttered it. She questioned Aunt Maria's interest in me and implied that her time would be better spent on Is she one of those women? She went on to say that she was single and childless. She is a stain on society. She felt as if poor Aunt Maria never got a real job and instead lived off the kindness of others. My eyes blinked. 

 It was then that I realized that maybe I should leave for school sooner than later. Daddy agreed to buy me a plane ticket and would buy me the car in a few months. It was time for me to escape my mother and her antiquated view on life.

August 9, 2020