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Advantages (Sasha Massey - Lafayette, LA)

It was wonderful and created an ache in me to see kids with two parents play on sports teams. They got to be in dance and have endless toys. Sing in shows I only heard about at the last minute.I saw so much wealth while I had to follow my grandmotherhelp her polish silver and scrub floors. She was unhappy at home but turned on a cigarette stained smile for them. She raised their kids. Cleaned up after their dogs. Nursed a dying mother.We got their leftovers for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I got presents like cassettes and nail polish. Some of them remembered my mother and told me how exciting my birth was. It’s so bizarre hearing so much about a woman you only knew for the first 5 years of our life. Would her friends care to know how many times she came into my room sweating, shirtless, mumbling comforting words and scaring the hell out of me? How I hated waking up in places I hadn’t gone to sleep in? What about the times when she wrapped me in a blanket, carried me down the stairs and I was afraid of where I would wake up? Just don’t leave me with Jo again, I thought. Thanks to him I woke up in a crack house… There were struggle noises and the lower voice I heard was gone after a slamming door. Did those kids know fear like that? Police shining flashlights in my face after I watched a man beat my mother. I figured they always had new clothes because we got their old ones. I was referred to as “other one” or asked if I was my grandma’s sister by one of their kids. [insert numb look of confusion] Cut to being interviewed and making the other person stammer when I said what people look like shouldn’t be the reason they are valued. They blue screened for a moment. I got robbed for the third time the week I started the job.

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