Living Out Loud: : A Tale from the Hood

Examining a life in OTR

It was another depressing night.  Once again, I was stuck at home changing another dirty diaper. I stared out of my cracked bedroom window and watched my life pass through the night. I live with my alcoholic mama in a tiny apartment in Over-the-Rhine.

My father is absent from my life. I would probably miss him if I knew him, but I don't know much about him.  If he showed up on my doorstep, I don't think I would recognize him. I think his name is Stevie or Bill, depending on who you ask.

My mama doesn't work because she's disabled. Truthfully, I think she doesn't work because she can't find her way out of a bottle. Mama has always been kind of lazy and has never done anything with her life. Like my grandmother, momma has lived off the system for years.

Mama wouldn't know the definition of work unless someone wrote it on a vodka label.

Poverty has always been a way of life for my family.  I've heard about people who work and buy their own things.  One of these days, I may get myself a house or a car.  I just want to know, how does someone get a good life?

My life has been nothing but misery and frustration. The only things I know anything about are drugs, alcohol and sex.

I'm not much of an expert with the dudes either. They only call me when they need or want something. I just wish one of them would actually respect me. They come along with their rap, do their thing and leave. They don't ever buy me clothes or take me anywhere.

I have a baby boy named Tyree. Unfortunately, I can't collect child support for him, because I don't know who his daddy is.  Tyree really makes me angry because he doesn't do anything but eat and dirty his diaper.

I don't understand why people have babies. They don't give you anything and they cry all night. It's really hard to sleep when you have one.  

I wanted to go out with my girlfriend Keisha last night but I couldn't find anyone to watch Tyree. My mama couldn't watch him, because she passed out in front of the TV.  I decided to stay in for the night with Tyree. I reminded myself again how lazy my mama really is.

I'm too busy to be a mother to Tyree; he deserves a better life.  I know Tyree won't become much of a man if I raise him and I'll soon be free of him.

I just had some business with the welfare center. That's the place in Over-the-Rhine where people get assistance. It's the big brick building on Central Parkway. I had a meeting with a worker named Ms. Carter and my cousin Rita.

Ms. Carter, Rita, and I arrived early for our two o'clock appointment. Ms. Carter asked me if I really wanted to allow Rita to adopt Tyree.

“Please take him,” I hastily replied to Ms. Carter, “but I don't know why my cousin wants Tyree when she already has her own kids.”

Rita told Ms. Carter she wants to keep Tyree in the family.  I guess I'll never understand why Rita thinks Tyree is so special. I don't have any special feelings for him at all. To me, he's more of a burden than something I need in my life.

Ms. Carter handed me some papers to sign. She asked me for the final time if I wanted to change my mind.

I told Ms. Carter I already know the routine, because the county already has my other two babies. I also told her that Tyree probably won't be my last one either. I have a weakness for boys and won't take birth control pills.

Finally, it's three in the afternoon and I've regained my freedom. I start trying to plan out the rest of my busy day.

I start walking down Central Parkway and call Keisha's cell phone. I wonder what she's doing tonight.