No one knows the struggle of the inner-city youths until you’ve walked in their shoes. Choyce and Chance are twin brothers with a unique story.
Although they lived two different lifestyles, one had to choose between following his own dreams, or his brother’s nightmares.
Cold Summer: My Brother’s Keeper is an epic tale that will leave you speechless behind how things really transpire when trying to survive in the ghetto.
August 4, 2016
It was a late summer night during a thunderstorm as I laid in my bed and stared out the window. My eyes were filled with tears and mind with terror as a bright lightning bolt flashed and struck a nearby tree, followed by the deep boom of thunder that rattled the glass in my windowpane. Although my heart raced by the combination of the two, it was the domestic dispute between my parents that took place in the very next room that frightened me the most.
“I hate you, Clarence! I’m sick of you always feeling like it’s okay to do drugs and beat on me! I’m not having it anymore! Just get out! Get out of my fucking house!” my mom yelled as glass shattered against the wall.
“Shut the fuck up and tell me where you stashed the money! I don’t give a fuck about none of that other shit you’re talking about! I’ll leave once you give me what I want!” my sorry excuse of a father answered as I could hear his large hand smack across my mom’s face.
I helplessly laid flat on my back and averted my attention from the window to the ceiling. I clinched my fist as tight as I could and cried heavily. I tried to pray, but it still didn’t drown out the argument or the thump of my mother’s petite body as it got slammed aggressively against the wall.
“Chance, it’s okay, Pops on that needle again, that’s all,” my twin brother, Choyce, said as he looked over from his bed that was right across from mine. Our dad had relapsed back into his heroin addiction.
Although he would quit from time to time, his abusive behavior worsened whenever he decided to stop or just started back. It seemed like the only time our family could deal with him was when he was completely on the drugs, therefore, I wished he never stopped.
“Just get some rest, lil’ bruh, it will all be over soon. Plus, your first day of high school is tomorrow,” he continued as he handed me my pillow that fell on the floor.
“Man! I hate him, bro! I wish he would just do so much of that shit that he’d overdose and die!” I yelled out of frustration caught up in my emotions.
“I know, Chance. Trust me, I feel the same way, just chill though, get some rest. We need for you to be as focused as you can. After all, you’re going to be the bread winner of the family one day, Mr. Future NFL hall-of=famer. Think fast!” he said then tossed a football my way in the pitch dark.
“Aww, shit! Damn bro, you hit me in my eye. Why’d you just throw it, knowing I couldn’t see?” I questioned and covered my face with both hands, only to hear our bedroom door kicked open. As the door banged against the wall, I could see my dad cut the light on through the cracks of my fingers.
“The fuck is you two still up for? You’d better close them mothafuckin eyes and get rest! Y’all got school in the morning!” my dad demanded as he stood at the threshold of the door in nothing but his boxers and wife beater.
“You mean, close our eyes like you just closed mom’s?” Choyce questioned as he covered his face with his blanket, only to get drug from out the bed by his ankles.
“The fuck you just say to me! You want some too?” Dad said as picked Choyce up by his neck and slammed him against the wall.
“Get off my brother!” I yelled as I jumped to my feet and threw my football at the back of my dad’s head. It just bounced off, and he turned towards me with what looked like fire in his eyes.
“Sit yo ass down, lil’ nigga!” was all heard before, I received a back hand that knocked my lights out.
I was dazed as I stood to my feet, I had a knife hide under my mattress. I pretended as if I held my face as I reached for it. My dad continued to beat on my brother as I secured it in my hand. Then, while his back was still towards me, I rushed my dad.
“I fucking hate you!” I screamed out as I stabbed him in the back.
“Chance! What are you doing?” he questioned as I continued to stab him repeatedly.
“Die! Die! Why don’t you just die?” I said as his blood splattered and tears filled my eyes, I used all my strength to stab him until he fell to the ground.
“Chance, stop don’t do me like this! Please! Stop! Chance, Chance, Chance!” I heard my father yell, followed by a smack to the face as I regained consciousness.
“Where am I?” I questioned as I looked around only to find out, I had been knocked out cold from my dad’s rough, oversized hand and had been laid out on my bedroom floor all night. Once focused, I realized that I had dreamed the murder of my father. Although, I was relived, it was still bittersweet.
As Choyce and I sat at the breakfast table, the smell bacon and eggs filled the room. I closed my eyes and deeply inhaled the aroma. I heard my mom place our plates on the table. I opened them to thank her and say grace, but the instant I saw her badly beaten face, I was at a loss of appetite.
“You two hurry up and eat, I’ma drop you off before I head to work,” said my dad as he gave Choyce and I a demanding stare.
“I’m not hungry.” I murmured, pushing the plate forward and turning my head, disgusted at the sight of that man.
“Chance, eat up, baby. You too, Choyce, I can’t have you two going to school on empty stomachs,” I heard my mom say in a sweet tone.
I always admired her strength, no matter what she went through. She held her head high and carried herself like a queen. She would say from time to time to Choyce and me,
“Boys, if you ever find yourselves in love, make sure you know that woman’s worth. Treat her right, support her dreams, and tend to her every need. And she’ll give you the world in the palm of your hands.” Even though she was treated like she was worthless by my piece of shit father.
“What? You aren’t hungry! Ain’t this ah bitch? I bet, I won’t provide another meal for you ungrateful sons of bitches!” Dad yelled as he took our plates and slammed them into the wall.
“Now, get y’all shit and let’s go!” he demanded with anger as he grabbed his work coat off his chair and proceeded towards the living room, only to get stopped in his tracks by a phone call. He pulled his phone out of his pocket then answered in a frustrated tone.
“Hello!” Choyce and I stood in silence as we witnessed how our father’s facial expression frown up even more.
“I’m under an investigation for what!” he yelled as he clinched the cellphone tighter in his hand, then walked completely into the living room for more privacy.
“You two just have a seat, I’ll take you to school once I get ready for work,” my mother said as she just wiped the mess off the kitchen counter, stove, and sink dad had made. She then pushed her and my dad’s chair under the table and walked towards the living room.
Choyce and I just sat quietly as our father yelled to the top of his lungs, at whoever he was on the phone with.
“What? Job abandonment! Since when have I ever left without letting my punk ass supervisor know? Huh! I can’t believe you dirty mothafuckahs are just going to lie on and fire me like this. I have a wife and two fucking kids! How in the fuck are we supposed to make it out here?” Dad questioned in a raged outburst.
“Now don’t act surprised, when I come up there to pick up my last check and shoot the entire place up! Because you all chose to play with my livelihood!” he threatened as my mom snatched the phone out of his hand and quickly hung up.
“It’s okay, baby. You don’t have to go there with them! I still have my job and just got a three dollar raise, so everything will work out. You’ll find another job just don’t lose hope because it’s not the end of the world. A violent reaction like this is only making matters worse. I’m telling you; everything will be okay—” Mom pleaded but got silenced mid-sentence due to a back hand across her face.
“Bitch! Shut the fuck up, how in the fuck do you know it’s going to be okay? I don’t have a fucking job! I’m the breadwinner of this household, I don’t give a fuck about your funky ass three dollar raise!” he yelled as he looked down on my mom then over at us.
I was enraged by the way he kept disrespecting my mom in front of me. I looked over and saw a knife on the kitchen counter. My dream that I stabbed him to death came back to me, it was a now or never moment for me. My adrenalin rushed my body, but when I got up to walk towards it, my legs wobbled. I was too nerves to act on my instincts. Choyce looked over at me, he then saw what I was headed for and grabbed my wrist.
“Just chill out, bro, he’ll get what’s coming to him one day,” he whispered as I sat back down. By then, my mom had begun to scream out at my dad.
“You’re right, Clarence! You shouldn’t give a fuck about my accomplishment as a black woman, that’s making her dream come true. The fact that I worked hard, to get to where I am while dealing with your bullshit for all these years, hoping one day you’d change. But all you’ve done is made matters worse and developed a drinking and drug problem.” She’d reached her breaking point. Choyce and I looked at each other with our mouths wide open. We’d never heard our mom stand on dad the way she did, but it made us proud of her.
“You’re sick, Clarence! You need help, you can take your stupid ass up to that place and act a fool if you want to. But watch how quick you’ll see, they’ll have a special place in the county jail, for ignorant people such as yourself,” Mom said as she walked over to the kitchen counter then turned back towards him.
“Bitch! Say another mothafuckin word, and I’ll knock your teeth clean out your mouth!” my dad said aggressively. He walked over to her and reached to grab Mom by the collar of her shirt with both hands.
“You’d better learn how to stay in a woman’s place.” As he grabbed hold of her shirt, he quickly let go and took a step back. My mom had the knife I was about to get, pointed right at his stomach.
“I’ve had enough of your womanizing, abusive, chauvinistic ways. I’m sick of it! And before I allow you to put your hands on me again, in front of my kids, I’d rather gut you to death and watch you bleed out by my feet. Now, get out of my house, you damn, fool!” Mom demanded, and Dad continued to walk backwards with his hands in the air.
“Okay, I’m gone, but you’ll regret that you ever pulled a weapon out on me. Just wait and see.” Dad made his threat, grabbed his coat, and stormed out of the house as he slammed the door behind himself. Mom instantly drooped to her knees and cried aloud.
“I’m so sorry you two have to go through this,” she sobbed and laid the knife down on the kitchen floor. We quickly rushed over and wrapped our arms around her as we attempted to comfort her.
“It’s okay, Mom, don’t cry,” I whispered in her ear, then kissed her forehead.
“Yeah, Mom, you’re going to be straight. We got this, just the three of us,” Choyce assured as he used his shirt to wipe the tears from her cheeks.
My dad made good on his promise, by going up to his job and acting a fool. They locked him right up just as my mom warned. He only did twenty-four hours, but when he got home, he started hanging at gambling shacks and ticket houses. He ran into a few of his old friends and continued to use heavy drugs.
He eventually got himself locked back up, but that time, the courts gave him two years in prison.
Mom went back to school and picked up where she’d left off. Just a year later, she finished and received her M.D. She became a Doctor of Medicine for Eli Lilly’s and made good money.
She purchased our first home in her old neighborhood, and it was right around the corner from our school. Choyce and I decided to walk to and from there, being that mom’s new work schedule conflicted with our school hours.