INNER CITY STORIES
Here is a story about an amazing mother named Vanessa, who is raising two kids on her own named Aiden and Alex. She is a single mother working a part-time job as a bus driver. Vanessa is always busy with her job, house, cooking, and cleaning, and she feels overwhelmed and depressed. She also feels that the love and happiness inside of her is slipping away.
8:40 am; it's a Sunday morning, and Alex wakes up to brush his teeth and then eat breakfast. “Good morning Alex," his mother says in a cheerful tone. “Good morning, mother, I want pancakes for breakfast,” Alex replies. While Alex is brushing his teeth his mother gathers all the ingredients together. But then she notices that she doesn't have any eggs in the refrigerator. So she quickly checks her purse for some money, and all she has is $1.26, and a dozen of eggs costs $2.10 at her local supermarket. She quickly wakes up her oldest son, Aiden, who is 16 years-old and s student in high school. “Aiden wake up, Aiden wake up, go ask the neighbors for two eggs.” “Now?” he complains, “You just woke me up and I didn't even get to brush my teeth. “So what, just go” the mother insists.
Aiden feels embarrassed to go ask for eggs. He makes it to the neighbor next door and knocks. A lady with brown puffy hair and a lazy eye named Ms. Higgins answers the door. “How can I help you, son?” she inquires. “Well, I was wondering if you have two eggs you could give me, because you see my mom was going to make pancakes but we have no eggs, and no money to buy some at the supermarket. So I came here.” “Sorry, Aiden, we just used the last three we had left to make scrambled eggs,” Ms. Higgins informs him in a sad voice. “It's ok” Aiden says. He goes back home, and when he steps inside his door once more, he sees his brother crying, crying because he can’t have the breakfast he wanted. Their mother is screaming at him to shut up because there’s nothing she can do. Aiden tells Alex, “Let me brush my teeth, and then we’ll eat cereal together,” and that’s what they do.
Later that evening their mother gets a call from the light company telling her that she owes $252.00 on her electric bill; she tries explaining to them that she won't have the money until Wednesday, when she gets paid, but they insist that they’re going to cut the power off by Monday night. She keeps pleading for a little more time so she can pay the bill, but they simply say, “NO.” When she gets off the phone she starts crying. Aiden and Alex quickly go over to comfort their mother, but you can hear from her voice that she’s unhappy with herself, sad and mad. She feels that she’s let herself and her kids down. “Don’t worry, mom, we’ll get through this together; I don't want to see tears running down your face,” Aiden murmurs, trying to comfort her. “Thanks, baby,” his mother replies. You can hear in her voice that she needs help mentally and emotionally. Aiden has seen his mother fight through all her battles, whether it's putting food on the table or having enough money to buy some clothes, or medicine when the kids are sick, or even simply having enough time for herself and her children.
It’s late, around 9:32 pm, and the kids have to get ready to go to bed, because they have to attend school the next day. While the kids are falling asleep, their mother is in her room talking to herself; “I can't do this anymore, I need to get some money quickly.” The only thing that comes to her mind is to sell herself -- her body -- out on the streets. So she quickly gets dressed and drives over to Berry Tuck Ave, where she’s sure she can make $150 in less than an hour, and if she stays for a little longer, the money could easily double or maybe even triple. She risks everything -- herself, her kids finding out what she’s doing, but she feels she really doesn't have a choice.
Aiden wakes up to ask his mother a question, but when he calls her, there’s no answer. The house is sunk in complete silence. He feels something is wrong, but he’s too sleepy to think about it, so he just goes back to bed. He falls asleep wondering, where did mother go? It’s already 11:09 pm.
By the time Aiden opens his eyes again it’s already morning, 6:05 am, time for school. He and his brother Alex get ready. Aiden takes Alex to his school, which is only five minutes away, and then he takes the bus from there to the high school. When he arrives, his friends are waiting for him. “What's good, Aiden, want to go smoke?” his friends cry out. “Sure,” he replies. They go off, skipping school and smoking. Casually, one of his friends asks him, “Hey, do you want to make a little money?” Aiden is interested right away, and asks how. The companion responds by saying, “Selling weed.” The first thing that comes to Aiden’s mind is, “Money; money means helping mom with the bills and putting food on the table, and having a little extra for other things, like clothes.” So Aiden eagerly replies, “YES”. Throughout the day Aiden keeps skipping classes and selling weed. By the end of the day he’s already made $82.
On the way home, Aiden stops at his local supermarket to pick up some bread, milk, cheese, ham, and eggs with the $82 he earned. So at least he and his brother will have something to eat throughout the week. But when he enters his house, he hears a noise, the sound of someone crying; when he checks, he finds Alex weeping in the small bedroom they share. Aiden asks Alex, “What's wrong, bro, why are you crying?” Alex looks up at Aiden with his dark, watery eyes, with tears streaming down his face. He breaks the silence with the horrible news. “Mama is no more,” he murmurs, “mama is gone, mama is dead.”