As I was scrolling through Instagram today I came across a picture that said, “There should be no limit to our ability to forgive”. Instantly my mind went back to a moment when forgiveness was the hardest choice I ever had to make.
When I lived at home I remember my mother would always wake up late at night and she would walk the house. She would check that all the windows were closed and locked, the doors were locked, and we were all in our beds. She did this every night like clockwork for years. Needless to say, I have adapted that same routine.
One evening in 2003, I was living in my first apartment in Marina Village projects in Bridgeport, CT. It was late about 1:30am. My then boyfriend and I were sleep in the bed and my son’s godfather was in the next room sleep with his then female friend. It wasn’t uncommon to find him sleep in Jamir’s room since he often crashed at my house especially after I had Jamir. I woke up and began doing my normal check of the house. I went downstairs made sure the tv and lights were off, the doors were locked, looked outside made sure the car was safe and intact and began walking back upstairs. As I got to the middle of the steps I heard a noise. I thought I was hearing things, but then I heard it again. Something didn’t feel right. I immediately ran up the stairs and hopped in my bed. It seemed like seconds later there was someone leaning over me, yelling “get out the bed, get up now”. When I opened my eyes, there were about 4 men in my house with black ski masks on. They pulled out guns and hit my boyfriend over the head with it. I could hear the same thing happening in Jamir’s room. They dragged me and my boyfriend in Jamir’s room and proceeded to tape our mouths and tie us up. I remember laying there thinking, “wow, this is really happening right now”. One of the voices asked me, “where’s the boy, where’s your son?”, he’s not here, I stated when he removed the tape from my mouth long enough to speak. One of the guys began to touch my butt, and then I heard the same voice that asked me about Jamir say “don’t touch her, leave her alone”. The guys then stated to us “don’t move, don’t try to get away, if you do, we will kill you”. They then closed the door and proceeded down the stairs. I could hear things breaking downstairs and being thrown on the floor. We sat there for what felt like hours. As I sat, I began loosening the rope that had my hands bound behind my back. I knew we had to get out of there. Eventually it was silent in the whole house. I waited a few more minutes and I removed the rope and then the tape from my mouth. I made my way over to Jamir’s bed where I could here my son’s godfather moaning. I was able to untie him and his friend and my boyfriend. I told them that we needed to get out of there and get to the hospital. I slowly opened the door and in the dark, grabbed the car keys off the dresser in my room. I crept down the stairs and scanned the house, no one was there. We grabbed my sons godfather and all ran to the car and sped off to the hospital.
It wasn’t until we got to the hospital that I looked at my sons godfather, his face was bloody, because they pistol whipped him. He was in pain, but I remember him looking at me saying, “you good Sana Mama?”. That was him, always making sure I was okay. He wouldn’t let me call his mother (sorry mama Marie) or his sister (love you Krys) who’s graduation from college was the very next day and he was supposed to be there. At that moment, all we had was each other. No one else was as injured as he was, so they kept him over night for observation.
When daylight came, I went back to the apartment and dealt with the police and the neighbors. My apartment was trashed. As the police dusted for finger prints and took pictures of what had became a crime scene, I just watched in awe. This just was not really my life, it couldn’t be. I made up in my mind that moment that I wouldn’t sleep another night in that apartment. So when CL was released from the hospital, we checked into a hotel. We stayed there until I was able to find another apartment.
One day, shortly after the home invasion, it was the day of the Freddy parade, I was sitting on my stoop. I had come over to do some packing and was now taking a break. This guy walked up and said hello. “Hello” I responded. I had seen him around before b
ut never spoke to him. “You need some help?”, “no I’m good”, “do you happen to have any water?” he asked, “yeah hold on”. I went in the house and came back with the bottle of water. We sat there and talked for a few minutes about how hot it was and how it was so quiet because everyone must be at the parade. Eventually I got up and said I better finish packing before it got dark since I had already turned of the electricity. As he got up and stepped off the stoop, he looked at me and said “I’m sorry”. I looked back at him for a split second and said “yeah, I know. I forgive you”. It was the same voice that asked me if my son was home during the home invasion.