I was born in Rancocas Hospital (Willingboro, New Jersey) on March 11th – twenty something years ago. Though my mom and dad lived in Delran, I was always back and forth to the infamous Boro, seeing most of my family stayed out there.

When I was 5, we moved out there officially, to Ritten House – I think it was my dad’s idea.

We lived in 2 Regent Court for a lil’ minute. I was about 8 or 9 when we moved out of that crib into another one in Garfield East on Elridge Lane. I went to the elementary school up until 5th grade – after my dad died and the family crumbled. He had cancer. Unbeknownst to me, he was already dying by the time I found out. I didn’t know that until years later when his sister told me. He was in his last stages.

Sometimes I feel like I wouldn’t have taken it the way I did (and still do) had he just outright told me he was dying…but how do you tell your baby you’re dying? Your baby girl??? You don’t. I was too young. My brother? Even younger. I don’t even think my older sister knew the extent of how sick he was.

That’s the shit I try to suppress if I can. Between him dying like that and his family being on the bullshit they were on afterward, I think I felt enough in this life.

I was happy growing up. My parents were happy. My brother and sister were happy. We were always in good care. Fed. Clothed. Loved. Supported. Shielded.

I say shielded because now I feel exposed. Life will do it to you.

After my dad died, I lost a lot of who I was. Then after his side of the family showed their ass shortly afterward, I lost even more. I moved to Mount Laurel young and fragmented. I finished my 5th-grade year out in Garfield East then it was a wrap.

My mom snapped. It was June 2004 and my dad’s sister done called and said some slick shit she ain’t like. My dad was gone, and she felt like everybody was starting to become crazy and they were. I saw it with my own two eyes, and I dare any one of them to say this shit happened any differently. They ain’t have the proper respect for her the way they should have. They thought she was scared and she wasn’t.

I remember being at one of my aunt’s houses at the time. She lived in Garfield East – the other one lived in Garfield East, too. The house I was at had all the girl cousins there – for some reason my brother was at the other house – we had a boy cousin that was around his age, and that’s what we would do after school while mommy worked.

I guess my aunt was on her period this day or something cause she called my mother’s phone coming crazy, talking about “Come get your son,” or something to that effect. Yelling into the phone, talking like a nut. But what my mother told me was that we (my brother and I) were supposed to be in the same crib with the one aunt. Not separated. At this point, my mother was fed up. Supposedly she was already talking stupid while my dad was dying, on the way to buy his fucking casket and even after this man’s funeral so this day she got what she deserved.

I guess she thought my mom wasn’t gon’ pull up after she called the phone the way she did. Or maybe she did – because right after she did it she up and left to where I was, and where she knew the rest of her sisters were. Her protection.

My mother told me she left right after the call. She worked in Mount Laurel, but she was there in 2.5. She was livid. If you from ’round here you know there’s a thin line between Mount Laurel and Willingboro. It’s nothing.

My mom pulled up to the crib my aunt TRIED to kick us out of. Nobody’s there. That crib on Elridge? Yeah, that was hers. My dad rented it when she moved to Maryland or some shit. It wasn’t long before she came back. Dummy couldn’t make her mind up. She knew she couldn’t say too much because my dad was already sick and stressed. Like I said, she was already doing and saying dumb shit while he was in that state – but after he died? This is the shit that got me what I’m on right now…to this day.

I know my mom, and I know exactly how she felt…pulling up to that house and she wasn’t there. Enraged, but she knew where to find her. The other aunt’s house was on Efland – literally like 5 seconds away.

Now, this is where it gets fuzzy. I don’t remember seeing her pull up…but I remember already being in the car hearing the shit go down. The way she said it happened is that she went in and confronted my aunt and she tried to get loud. My mom is not for the bullshit. She’ll let you slip and slide for a little while before she grabs you by the balls and makes you wish you ain’t say shit at all. I told y’all she was fed up. She already didn’t like my aunt for the shit she was saying and how she acted towards my father in his last days; she swung on her. To this day I still don’t blame her. I respect her for it.

I was 11 at the time. Young and impressionable. My brother was five – he’d be turning six that July. Even more impressionable. I feel for him the most.

We watched them jump my mother from the car. One of my cousins (my aunt’s daughter) included. It was not my intention to stay in the car. My “uncle” barricaded me there. I wanted to fight my cousin and still do to this day. Even after that court order shit my grandmother finagled to try to see us again after that shit happened, I had hatred and anger way deep down – but I forgave them – only off the strength of my dad’s love for them. Tuh. He had to turn in his grave a million times by now off that event alone.

Maybe I didn’t forgive them. I’m still mad. Still wondering why and how shit ended up how it did. Still wondering how I never came across any of them after we stopped going to see them. Still thinking about how much these motherfuckers owe me for my pain and suffering. For my mother’s pain and suffering. For everything. In a way, I feel like they killed my dad. They might not be the cause of his cancer but definitely the cause of my own and finishing off my dad with their wicked ways.

When I say my own cancer, I mean my anger. I have been mad all this time. Just good at hiding, good at suppressing, good at ignoring it until some more shit happens. I hold many demons in my heart because of this shit. I would like to thank my dad’s family personally for that. If any of y’all are reading this THANK YOU but it’s FUCK YOU – forever.