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I shoved my hands into the pockets of my hoodie while walking down the filth street. I had just gotten off of work from my part time job at Trader Joe's and I thought I ould come down here. Something was telling me that this was a bad idea, but I just had to see this woman. I glanced around once more before turning into the usual alley that she would be in. I quickly spotted her hunched over while counting up the change that she most likely hustled up on the streets today.

"Momma?" I said while cautiously approaching her. Her head immediately shot up while shooting me the nastiest look that she could muster up.

"I told you to stop calling me that shit girl! Did you bring my food?" I nodded my head while pulling out the turkey sandwich I made her. I handed it over to her and sat a bottle of water down next to her.

"I uh... I came to give you this. It's a ticket to my graduation. I have a 4.6 GPA with my AP and honors classes and I got accepted into Columbia. I remember you used to tell me that it was your dream college and-" She cut me off by kicking the bottle of water at me.

"Don't nobody give a fuck about how smart you think you are girl! You still ain't shit and you ain't never going to be shit. Mark my words." I frowned and looked down at my sneakers. I leaned down and put the ticket next to her.

"Graduation is this Friday. It'll mean a lot if you could make it."

"Fuck you and your dumb ass graduation." I gave her a small smile and turned to leave. I made my way back up the street and to the bus stop. I was going to sit down on the bench until I noticed a homeless man using it as a bed. I sighed and leaned against the stop post. Thirty minutes later there was still no sign of the bus and it only seemed to be getting colder out here. I tried shoving my hands deeper into my pockets in an attempt to get myself warm which didn't do much. A car pulled up and I pretended not to notice it until the person in it was calling out my name.

"Brooklyn!" The person repeated causing me to finally turn my attention to the car. I was shocked to see Damien behind the wheel of the black Mercedes. It's been a little over three months since the last time I seen him. Even though I worry about him, I mostly didn't look forward to seeing him because he has one of the worst attitudes.

"I'll give you a ride. The bus ain't running over here this late. Especially after the driveby that happened earlier. The bus got mad damage from that shit." I frowned and reluctantly walked over to get into his car.

"Thank you." I said while pulling on my seatbelt. He rolled the windows back up and turned the heater on.

"What you doing over here anyways, you still visiting that crackhead?" Here e goes.

"Can you please not call her that. She's my mother."

"That alley rat ain't your damn mom, Brooklyn. That's your problem now, you're too damn nice. If she was your mom you wouldn't have been in foster care for the past ten years. That bitch don't give a fuck about you. You too busy trying to give love to people who ain't never going to return the shit." I turned away from him and looked out the window. This is exactly why I don't look forward to seeing him, he's just so damn negative. If I didn't care for my mother then who will? Everyone needs someone, and even if she doesn't show it I know that she has to care about me too.

"Stop pouting. Shit is going to be alright."

"You know you don't have to be such an asshole all the damn time Damien."

"And you don't have to be so nice to every damn body. Stop doing for others what they will never even consider doing for you. When is your graduation?" I immediately perked up at the mention of my graduation. He has to be the first person outside of school to actually acknowledge it.

"On Friday. Do you want to come?"

"I'll try. It all depends on my schedule though." I nodded and pulled out my last two tickets. We were given six, but the other three I gave away to people who actually had people coming to support them. Damien pulled up in front of the home and I took my seatbelt off before leaning over and tucking the tickets into his sunvisor.

"If you can't make it I'll understand." He didn't say anything back, just gave me a weird look.

"Paul ain't in there fucking with you is he?" I shook my head and bit the inside of my cheek. I hate lying to him.

"Let me know if anything pop off a'ight?" I nodded and got out of his car. Damien aged out of the system two years ago, and has been living the street life ever since. He has to be one of the few from our home who isn't dead, on drugs or in prison. Mainly because unlike everyone else, he didn't go trying to make nothing of himself. His only plan was to provide for himself like no one else had. I worry about him a lot though, especially when months go by where we don't run into each other, but he's usually never too far away.

"You're late." Paul said as soon as I walked through the door.

"There was an incident with my bus."

"You little girls love to start acting out when you get close to aging out. Thinking you can do whatever you want. This is your fifth infraction this month for being late. Therefore you're out of here on Saturday when you turn eighteen. You've been abusing your privileges around here and we will no longer be alowing you to extend your time until you go off for college."

"What? No, that's not fair. I don't have anywhere else to go until then. You guys no I have a job."

"Life isn't fair little girl. You should have thought about the consequences before you decided to violate our rules time and time again. You better grab one of those lists of shelters and get the hell up out my face." I wanted so bad to punch him in his throat, but I knew it would be his pleasure to send me to the detention center for assault like he's done to so many other kids around here and almost did to Damien. I snatched one of the lists of shelters off of his desk and stormed off to the room that I shared with nine other females. I quickly changed into my night clothes and climbed into my bunk.

I closed my eyes and prayed to help calm myself down. It took a while, but I soon began realizing the positives of the situation. I've learned the hard way that I couldn't depend on anyone, so I can't take this situation as that mcuh of a loss. I still have my job and I'll be off to Columbia in the fall.

"Stay positive, Brook." I whispered to myself.



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