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0 | The Prelude

2015, January | Harlem, New York

I heard this one weird saying that you can tell who a person is by their spouse or their significant other. My friend had gotten it tattooed on her after her boyfriend of three was sentenced to life in prison for 2nd degree murder. I told her it was a stupid tattoo, and she only responded by slapping me across the face. Apparently, she didn't want to hear it. But I meant it: it was a stupid tattoo. I didn't believe that one bit. You were comparing the actions of someone else to an innocent person who just so happened to be in love with them.

Maybe I felt so strongly about the tattoo because at the time, I believed that that tattoo could just be a hint of shade thrown at me.

I was dating my boyfriend Reid at the time. It was a sweet relationship. We both resided in a small sunny town in Compton and according to our yearbook, we were voted 'Cutest Couple'. It was everything that Generation Highschool talked about: "Isis and Reid" or "Reid and Isis." Sometimes I wondered if we stuck together for the hype, or because we truly loved one another. But all those questions went out the door whenever he looked at me.

Sometimes he looked at me as if we were the only two people in the world.

And he kissed me like I was his last meal. I couldn't replace him for anything. Even though I was aware he did some things, I didn't let that get between us. He was just doing what ninety percent of Compton did to raise enough money for rent, to feed their mother, or to pay the unpaid child support bills that kept showing up at their house. So how could I judge him when everyone else was doing it? My friend, Camille (the same one with the tattoo) told me I needed to ditch him. She went on and on telling me that hanging with him was going to get me in serious trouble and I had a lot of things going for me. I dissed her, waving her off. She wasn't the one to be talking. She was seventeen at the time, a mother of two by a drug dealer who supplied drugs to half of the school.

We got into another argument and we both said some things that resulted in our friendship being ended.

I used to not care, but now I realize that maybe I should've cared a little.

A year after out argument, Reid dissappeared.

He left no trail of where he could be.

I panicked thinking that he was dead and gone and it was all my fault for not listening to Camille, but one day he sent me a short text. He told me he was okay, but warned me not to look for him. I wasn't going to anyway. We were in Compton for peaksake. When someone left, it wasn't because they wanted to, but because they were forced to. And I did not want to be the one to find out just who, or why Reid decided to leave.

It was the year of our graduation and they skipped Reid's name on the list. There was no moment of silence like they did for the people who died before they could graduate. It was almost like Generation Highschool forgot about Reid, but I sure as hell didn't. I pictured him walking across the stage and smiling as he recieved his diploma. Reid was smart as hell. He could do a lot of things with a computer as well and he told me that he wanted to be a graphic designer for a really big company. I supported his decisions and I promised him that no matter what, we were going to graduate highschool together and get out of Compton.

Half of that promise was fufiiled.

I did graduate college and moved to Harlem, New York.

I was out of Compton, but part of me wondered just where Reid was. Ever since that last text, I hadn't heard from him. I tried contacting the number, but the line was disconnected. I had even taken it to this dude on our block who was fond of tracing number. The number was hard to find, and when he did find it, it said that it was located all the way in Antartica now. I didn't believe Reid could be down there. He hated the cold and whenever it was below sixty degrees in Compton, he got agitated. I assumed that he was gone for good, and I made it my duty to move on.

But that was then, and now, I realized that Reid left me with something more than just his memory.

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