January 2009 in Washington DC, everyone present was excited to witness the inauguration of the first Black president Barack Obama except for me. Amongst million-plus smiles of family and friends all taking in this significant moment with tears of joy and shared hugs, I stood there at the National Mall as a mannequin. You see, being a realist, and it’s not that I didn’t believe a change was gonna come, I just knew it wouldn’t come fast enough to prevent my eviction.
With only a few years post graduating from Howard, challenging times was upon me. A few months before the inauguration, I was fired as a manager(the primary source of income) at DTLR for failing to open a store on time because the alarm clock decided to go on strike. My second gig as a radio jock(career choice) was part-time and paid a laughable $5 an hour with two overnight shifts a week. I underestimated my ability to find another main job during this country’s worst economic disaster since the Great Depression and exhausted all privileges from borrowing friend’s money. My mother could not help me because she was already staying with friends down south after being laid-off and forced to leave our hometown Detroit during the city’s financial crisis. After a long conversation with my aunt and sister, all pride pushed aside, and I went to my father for assistance, who charismatically said, “I’ll call you back later tonight,” which was French for “See you in a decade n***a!!!” The final gamble came when I made a genius decision to take all the little savings money and joined my cousin( who at the time was living with me because of his financial challenges) and some other folks to organize a night before the inauguration event. If the event were a success, the funds made would clear the three-month rent overdue balance with leftover to pay five months ahead. An event celebrating the first Black U.S. president was a sure win, hence why it ended so terribly that we owed money by night’s end. The last-ditch opportunity turned catastrophe left me a member of the Walking Dead as Barack’s historical speech mark the beginning of a new day for most; for me, a countdown descent into broke-ness.
KNOCK!!! KNOCK!!! KNOCK was a sound at the door that one could bet wasn’t from the Avon Lady.
“UNITED STATES MARYLAND SHERIFFS OPEN UP!!!” the voice shouted from the door.
In a slight shook manner, my cousin glanced at me before opening the door, and a half-a-second later, a short brown-skin woman handed him some papers as two officers, one black, the other white, stood about 6ft-something-tall AF behind her.
“This is an eviction notice; according to her paperwork, you have an outstanding balance that you have yet to pay; therefore, you are currently being evicted as of NOW!!!” said the white sheriff. My cousin could see from the numbness of my facial expression that there was no fight left within me. His sense of urgency was reasonable, considering an eviction meant his stuff would also be tossed out.
Cousin: Is there any amount we can pay now to prevent this? Anything at all?!!
Leasing Lady: Well, the entire balance is *insert*, but if you pay *insert*, you can stay for a week until you pay the balance in full.
At that moment, the white sheriff interrupted and said, “And for the record, she can legally take the money and STILL evict you guys TODAY, so it’s completely up to her!!!”
Cousin: So If I run up the street to the bank and get the money, will you at least let us stay for the week?!!
Leasing Lady: Yes, but meanwhile, the eviction process will still take place, so you’ll have to come back before the last item is removed.
My cousin then grabbed both his laptops, handed it to me, and said, “I got client money in the account, but I’ll figure that out later. Hold these; I’ll be right back and don’t let anyone touch them!!!” It didn’t matter that he turned and left too quickly to see a response because I didn’t have one. I sat holding the laptop, numb, and mentally accepting my fate; I was done, and there was no way he was going to make it back in time.
For Pt.2 click HERE
j hall is a Detroit bred Howard Bison multimedia culture critic. An abstract thinker who believes “You ain’t wrong when you’re right,” and that his mother’s cupcakes are legendary. Check out his slight worldwide view here.