Slice of Salvation

Destiny Packaged for the Road

“You could really make something of yourself, you know? You just have to get out of the Bronx,” says the woman from church.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

“Right,” I tell her.

“It’s true; you’re strong, you’re smart, you’re brave, and you are always willing to fight. I know you think the only way out is in a body bag, but you have to be creative enough to tuck yourself into a bag just long enough to get somewhere you’ve got a chance, then burst out.”

“Look, I’m lucky if I grow up to rent a place with real locks on the doors. I’ll never have a crib with a gate unless I go to the big house, and that’s got revolving doors for people like me.”

“You think I don’t know making one mistake is a perfect trajectory to a one-way ticket where the sun don’t shine for people like you and me?”

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

“Listen, I’m not what you think I am.”

“Maybe not; maybe I’ve been wrong about you since the day you walked into my office. But I know this for sure: you are more than what everyone around here expects you to be. You are the embodiment of potential, of hope. You can ignore all you have inside you or you can show this world what you’re made of; either way, the embodiment of potential is right here on this stoop.”

“You’re right. Only problem is reality has to kick in at some point. Reality is defined as the following: I embody the future because a couple years from now I’ll have kids on this stoop. I’m going to show the world when I’m made of when I end up an exotic dancer or some guys turn me into their own personal stripper that one night I couldn’t get out going home all by myself. I’m going to die on this stoop and so are a lot of other people who I love with my whole heart but everybody ignores on days that rhyme with some stupid city in South Carolina just because they live in here. But don’t worry- when someone is dragging my body bag a sum total of three blocks away, you can tell them you knew all along I’d make it out of the Bronx.”

“You don’t have to scream to be heard. But you’re wrong; your body is not a sex toy. It’s a vehicle for your success, not some drunk’s entertainment. And by the way, Raleigh is in North Carolina. We can visit, if you’d like.”

“A view from an airplane window on high clouds over the Tasman Sea” by Pat Taylor on Unsplash

“What’s next, you tell me it’s supposed to sound like lilies of the valley instead of ice cream sundae?”

“This isn’t about how some random city is supposed to be pronounced. It’s about you. Come on, Zara, the only way you fail to make something remarkable of the capable woman you already are is by giving up on yourself now.”

“And suppose I fight my way to the streets of somewhere brand new. What then?”

“Then you work hard. Next, you come back to the Bronx and buy those people you care about a house where they can have locks on the doors. You deserve so much more than the life you’ve been set up for.”

“Everyone I know deserves better. Most of them are kind and most of them smart and most of them do the best they can do day in and day out. And most of those thugs selling drugs are trying to make a living in the most lucrative business in the world. They want better, but they’re not getting it.”

“I don’t care what thugs selling drugs on the streets of this borough want. I care what you deserve. Which is a fair chance to prove yourself. Are you going to tell me that’s not what you’ve thirsted for since you were a little girl?”

“Sister…”

“I’m not your sister anymore. I’m Julie, your savior. Jesus sent me to your stoop to drag you kicking and screaming to some livable conditions.”

“You really think Jesus wants you pulling me away from my destiny- all I’ve known?”

“I really think it’s high time you start building your own destiny. You might be a black girl from The Bronx but you’re also an American and you have the inalienable right to a little freedom every now and then.”

“A little God-given freedom, huh? A little hop-on-my-bike-and-never-come-back freedom?”

“Are you ready to pedal?”

Image: Slice of Salvation

I write poetry, prose, and personal pieces. All images are mine unless indicated otherwise. Feel free to leave feedback on my work anytime; I hope you enjoy.

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