Imani and Braxton:A Compton Love Story

By: Keisha Simpson-Baker

“I’m going to check out some of the other big in-state schools to see what kind of financial aid or scholarships they have.”

“Alright! In a few months, we will have acceptance letters pouring through the mailbox.”

I sure hoped so. She had such high hopes for me and always pressured me into doing well in school. Nothing else mattered to her more than me bringing home A’s.

She and I were tremendously close since my father passed away some years earlier. He and my mother feel in love, married and had me. When I was six, he was killed in a robbery attempt along with two co-workers at the bank he managed. When he passed life changed for me and my mother drastically. The only good that came out of the tragic death was that Mom and I were super close; we rarely disagreed about anything because we knew we were all each other had in this world.

“Let me change out of this uniform and then we’ll eat, okay?”

“Okay, Mom.”

This gave me time to update my relationship status on Facebook from single to ‘In a Relationship.’ I then sent a request to Braxton to be in a relationship with me and then combed through the rest of his profile; a ritual I had done every night for the past few weeks. This time his status was updated to ‘Finally made her mine’ and I had no doubt he was talking about me.

A few people liked the status but there was a girl by the name of Kayla Richardson who left just a question mark for a comment. My trouble radar went off as I clicked on her page. Kayla and I weren’t friends but I recognized her from school, she was in the same grade as us. Even though we had some classes together through the years, we had never really spoken before. She was super skinny, like one of the girls who could fit into a size zero, but very average in the looks department. I felt I had nothing to worry about–she really wasn’t any competition for me. Braxton hadn’t replied to her anyways, so if he wasn’t worried about her then neither was I.

While we ate dinner, we discussed how our week went. I didn’t mention Braxton because I really didn’t want to go through one of Mom’s ‘Don’t get pregnant it, will ruin your life’ speeches. I wasn’t hiding the relationship from her but I wasn’t going to broadcast it, either. She had a Facebook profile, too, and we were friends so I knew eventually she would see the update.

I told Mom that the next day Tasha and I were going to have some fun at the mall and she allocated $100 from my summer savings to spend which really wasn’t going to get me too much but I didn’t complain. We were both happy that the busy week was over and now it was time for two short days of relaxation.

“Alright, Imani, I am zonked. I’m going to go to bed soon but we’ll do breakfast in the morning, okay?”

“Okay, Mom. See you in the morning.”

Weekends were her days to catch up on sleep. Mom was not a morning person and always said it was a cruel joke that she had to report to work at 6:00am. After she ate and went to her bedroom, I grabbed my laptop and planted myself on the couch to see if there were any movies worth watching. I’d started to watch a movie and five minutes into it, Mom came into the living room with a towel around her body.

“Imani, what’s this? I see you’re in a relationship?”

“Oh yeah, Braxton asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes,” I replied nonchalantly.

“Braxton, that boy in your computer class?”

“Yeah, we have computers together this year but we’ve always had a couple of classes together throughout high school.”

“So how serious is this, Imani? Braxton might be a nice boy and everything but you need to know a baby could ruin your life.” She sat next to me on the couch, meaning this was not going to be a short conversation. It looked like I wasn’t going to avoid the pregnancy talk after all.

“We just got together today so I don’t know what you mean by serious.”

“I mean sex, Imani! I know I’m not always home to regulate who comes in this house but I hope that you’re not involved in that kind of activity. You’re just too young and no good can come of you having sex at this age.”

I rolled my eyes. This really wasn’t something I wanted to talk about with her and I wasn’t even close to having sex. “Mom, I’m not having sex, okay? I just started talking with Braxton this year and we like hanging out together and have a few things in common. That’s it.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear that but if you decide you want to take things further with this boy, do not get pregnant. Do you understand? Your life will be over and everything we’ve worked so hard for will be wasted.”

I didn’t know how many ways I could say I wasn’t having sex, so I just let her rant until she felt satisfied.

She continued, “Imani, I know these boys out here aren’t about much. This neighborhood is not the best. I don’t know Braxton so I don’t want to speak badly about him but I know that finding a knucklehead is easy to do at that school. If you just wait to start dating in college then you can find someone who will be more your equal.”

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