Raising a family isn't hard to do. That's why when I visited my old classmate, Chansela Thompson, I sat outside in my two seater praying that my tubes would tie themselves! Five children, ages ranging from seven to eighteen months. Poor child was only twenty-five with a streak of gray hair in her loosely made ponytail. She needed help badly, but the bastard that got her pregnant, was in prison for non support payments. It would have been funny if the kids hadn't been deprived. I waited in the car for another ten minutes. After I heard cursing, I ran up the twenty steps and poked my nose in the wrong business.
"What are you doing, Chansela?" The thin framed high school drop out had her third oldest in a headlock trying to manage the mane on her head.
"She won't stay still! I have to be at the damn social services at ten!" Popping the chubby bowlegged girl on the back of her neck with the wide tooth comb, Chansela threw her on the sofa full of dirty clothes. My heart sank as I went to see if the little girl was alright. Wiping tears from her eyes, I asked her name.
"Malinda." Sniff sniff. "what's your name?" She then wiped a long watery booger from her nose.
"My name is Ariona. Your mom and I went to high school together. Here, let me tell you how we met." I sat Malinda on the sofa beside me, where we could get a spot, and began telling her the story of how Chansela and I had met. Malinda paid close attention as I began with the cafeteria showdown between me and one of Chansela's friends. How she didn't like me because I had worn the same outfit she had but looked better in it. Well, that was what I told her before she threw grape jelly all over it. Malinda laughed at me getting my ass whipped by a tiny Asian exchange student. Shaking her chubby face at how Chansela started a bet on who would win and cashed in big when the Asian karate chopped me in the throat! Oh, did she holler when I told her about the footprint in my forehead that lasted weeks after the fight.
When the story was finished, Malinda hugged me and ran into her room when I told her to get dressed. After all, her hair was neatly combed and pulled back into a ponytail. Chansela was completely ungrateful.
"What'd you do, offer her a candy bar?" Sliding her feet across the dusty floor like house slave.
"No." I said in disgust. "I just tried a different approach. One not so violent." Chansela laughed, then threw her hands in the air.
"Please take them if you think you can do better. Please!" Chansela sat on the arm of a vintage chair with so many stains covering it, the original color was obsolete.
Finally all of the children were ready to go. I had no idea how I was going to safely transport five children in a two seater car. The baby's car seat alone took the space of another human being. Secure enough, we all rode across town to the local social services for Chansela to reapply for food stamps. It was called a re certification, but all it meant that after three months, she would have to come in and report any new changes or if things were the same within her household. The only new change I could see in Chansela's household were less roaches. I guess the rats stopped being picky and ate them!
When Chansela finished her errands, I offered to treat all the kids for ice cream. By the annoyed expression on Chansela's face, I could see that was a bad idea. My first mistake was allowing the words ice cream to loosely slip from my mouth around children. For the entire ride home they really did scream for ice cream. Chansela became violent and reached in the back and punched all five screaming children. That wasn't fair at all! The eighteen month old didn't know what ice cream was. He just wanted to get out of that soggy diaper.
"Hey Chansela! What the hell is your problem?!" Opening the passenger door while I was still driving, Chansela leaned outward as if trying to jump. I slowed the car down right in the middle of traffic.
"You raise 'em!" Chansela jumped out and slammed the door. Without grabbing her children, or looking back, Chansela stormed down the street.
I tried to reach Chansela all that week, but no luck. In my opinion, every parent needed a break. Maybe Chansela was overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities. I did wonder though, if I had been anyone else, would she had left her children like that? It was hard at first adjusting to the new life of motherhood. Waking up at 5:30am and not returning to my comfort zone until midnight. Eric, the eighteen month old, was a handful by himself. But all the children were doing well even though there were some new rules to get used to, like proper hygiene.
Nylona, Shannel, Malinda, Tonia, and Eric all benefited from the new five bedroom home we moved into over the summer. By law I was not the adoptive parent, but with the knowledge and compassion of the local school system, nothing was reported to the state. For the next six months, the six of us lived in warm sweet bliss until Chansela showed up. In court that was. Chansela was captured and charged for prostitution.
Chansela was released and actually cooperated with police to find a non existent kidnapper. When the school heard of Chansela's allegations, they immediately had me arrested and charged with five counts of kidnapping. When I told police how I really got the children, they were unmoved. Then I showed the detectives the before and after photos of the children, they released me, and locked Chansela up on two brand new charges, neglect of minor children and stupidity!