For What It's Worth

Is it worth the risk?

I don't know how I ended up here. I was always the "good child", the child that every adult in the family would wish their kids took after. Although those type of accolades never made me feel any better because it made me the most hated amongst my cousins, I knew I had great potential to be somebody one day. It's ironic that trying to be somebody and do it the right way got me into this mess, and now I am not so sure there is an escape route. I have gone to sleep with wet eyes and wet thighs too many nights that I have honestly lost count, and if my mother knew that this is the life that I had resorted to, she would disown -- if not KILL me!

The grown folks in my family always said, "Treasure, you know your mom named you that for a reason. You are quite something special. You're the jewel of the family, carry our name far! There are great things in store for you." Those words were always bittersweet for me because I loved that they saw so much prosperity in my future, but I felt I had the weight of hundreds of years of ancestors on my shoulders and wasn't so sure that I could handle that much pressure. No matter how bittersweet those words were, whenever I would come home from college I knew they were bound to be spoken to me from one of my older relatives. I only see my family twice a year because my college is hours away, so every time I return, they remind me of how proud they are. All I can give in return is a porcelain smile to hide any hint of truth.

The truth is, I have always had dreams of being the first to graduate college out of all of my cousins, but I lost sight of my goals halfway through my college career. I started drinking and going out more, studying less, and I went through jobs as if I did not realize that I have to work to eat. I had no scholarships, my mom had taken out several loans to help support my dream, and I foolishly wasted it all. My attendance along with grades started to drop, but I had no heart to tell the woman who has been my biggest supporter that I had been living a facade, so much so that I lost financial aid. How could I finish school? I knew my family was not poor, but they were not in a position to put me through school solely out of pocket -- especially not my mom, so I told myself "Treasure, it is time to own up to your mistakes and be a big girl now. How would an adult handle this situation?". I knew telling my mom the truth was always out of the question, so I asked my homegirl, Cassidy, how does she live so lavish when she is pretty much in my exact same predicament. "Girl, look around you! Do you know where we're at?! Fuck school! There are ballers ready to risk it all for our young cat, just gotta find the right one and attack!!" she said. 

I was not sure where Cassidy was getting at, until she pulled out her phone and dialed a contact that was simply saved as "SD RICO". Before I could ask who that was and what "SD" stood for, I heard a deep raspy voice seeming to belong to an older guy answer, "Hey baby." She responds, "Hey Daddy!" Now, I was utterly confused because I knew Cassidy's dad was in prison, but here she is calling some grown man daddy. "I need my allowance early, and can me and a friend come through tonight?" she says. Allowance? Maybe her father has been out of prison, and I am simply out of the loop. I knew I had not truly spoken with her since freshman year and we were going into our senior year of college, but damn! I thought her father had a life sentence, how could he have gotten out of a situation like that? However, he obliges, and I let them finish their conversation before I asked any further questions which she only answered "You will see! Be Patient, and go put on your sexiest outfit. I will pick you up, and hurry! Daddy is big on punctuality." I figured I would just listen to her because at this point I had no real options, and I would call this chapter of my life "Damage Control" because I needed a savior of some kind!

And this is why you must be careful what you wish for, I received that savior.. or so I thought! That night we went to meet "SD RICO" and his friend at his condo in the city, in which I later learned that "SD" stood for sugar daddy. Cassidy was a sugar baby! He treated her great though and had money! I mean, the kind that the rappers flash in videos. The kind that I never thought I would ever be in the same room with, at least not at the young age of 21, but there I was meeting two wealthy men. One of which I wish never came into my existence, Shawn. He was so handsome with a devilish smile -- literally. That smile was so bright and beautiful against his chocolate skin, but If I had known what kind of demons were hiding behind it, I would have never even shaken his hand for fear of them jumping onto me! 

Shawn became a close friend. We did everything together! He spent money on me left and right. I had never had a guy treat me this way, and he seemed to be the answer to my prayers because after becoming closer, I confided in him about my school issue, and he seemed to be genuinely concerned even though he was a college dropout. He offered to pay the remainder of my tuition! I just knew this man was sent straight from heaven because he had me living lavishly the way Rico had bossed up Cassidy, and I was here for the entire experience. I had gotten so comfortable with him, I was calling him "daddy" and letting him hit raw because I figured he was mine, so why not act like it? 

However, there is usually a storm in between the sunshine, but I never knew mine would hit so soon nor so hard! I felt we were barely through the honeymoon phase before Shawn started to show his true colors. I did not live with him; I stayed on campus to avoid any suspicion from my mom about where I was getting money to live off campus, but he had given me a key. He told me I could use it at any time, even if he wasn't home, so I did. About two months ago, I went over to surprise Shawn, and I walked in to find him bent over his kitchen counter snorting coke! I was so shocked! That was my first time showing up unannounced, but he told me that I was welcome at any time. I never expected to walk into something like that! "What the FUCK Shawn!!" I screamed and startled him, so he accidentally knocked most of it onto the ground. This immediately frustrated him. "What the fuck Treasure?! You made me waste my good shit!!" he screamed back at me. He didn't even seem to be concerned that I had just CAUGHT him snorting coke! I was arguing with him about him doing drugs, and he was screaming at me about causing him to waste his "best supply" as he called it. I could not believe him, so I left that day and vowed never to fuck with him again.

 I never wanted to see him again, but my spring semester was coming up. I needed my tuition paid, and I knew he was my only option. After ghosting him for two weeks, and ignoring his calls, I finally gave him a call. "It's about time. I knew you'd be back! Just like a moth to a flame, you need me!" he said arrogantly. I was so disgusted by his demeanor, but I could not say much because sadly, he was right. I needed him. "I have the tuition money for you, but what are you going to do for me?" he asked. I could not believe him! Yes, we had a mutually beneficial relationship, but it just flowed that way. We were physical, and he showered me with gifts, but he never blatantly asked me for something in return before. It made me feel so dirty, almost like a whore, but what made me above them? I was exclusive to one guy, but my means of getting paid was all the same as theirs. NO matter how disgusted I was, when he said jump all I could say was "how high?".

He had been giving me what I want since we made up, but the honeymoon stage had definitely ended. There were no more dates. Hell, there weren't even anymore daytime visits! I had practically forgotten what he looked like, even though I am sure he had as well because his habit had caught up with him. He had lost so much weight. I barely wanted him on top of me at this point, but I needed the money. I didn't have a job, and I needed to finish school! I insisted on us using condoms from that point on though because I just did not feel like I could trust him, but he told me if we used condoms he would not pay me anymore. He knew the power that he had, and he used the hell out of it. I should have followed my first instinct that night and gotten up, NEVER looked back and simply told my mom the truth, but I was one semester away from getting my degree. I had compromised my morals and values thus far, I thought might as well finish strong! So, I let him have his way with me through the rest of my college career because my degree was everything to me. 

"Hey baby, our plane will be landing at 2:30pm tomorrow. Will you be able to meet us at the airport?" "Yes mom! I will be there!" I said happily. I was graduating in two days, and my immediate family was flying in tomorrow to support me! I could not be happier. No matter the struggle or sacrifices, I did it! I was so grateful to know I did something none of my cousins had actually managed to, but I was even more happy to be able to be completely done with Shawn! I vowed to start over and give real love a try when it found me, no rush of course. However, today my phone rang. I answered without looking at the caller ID, "Hello!?". I was excited because it was 1:45 pm, and I thought maybe my family's flight had landed early. "Hey, Treasure?" a shaky voice spoke. "Yes?" I responded sounding confused, but I knew the sound of that broken soul anywhere. It was Shawn. "I heard you're graduating soon, congrats!" he said, although I felt as if his excitement was a tad bit forced. I still thanked him and assumed that was the reason for his call, so I explained that I was waiting for a call from my mom about their flight and had no time to talk. "I know, it will be quick!" he responded in a hushed tone. I could not understand why he sounded so weird but with all the drugs he does, I don't know why I was even surprised. "What is it, Shawn?" I responded in an annoyed tone. I had no time for his sorry excuses that he always gave me. He no longer had the upper hand because I had gotten what I wanted out of him, and It had all paid off. There was nothing he could say that would pull me back into his web of demons and lies! "I had an appointment a week ago, and my results came back today.. I'm positive." he rushed the statement. I dropped the phone in disbelief. Suddenly that degree wasn't as valuable.