A Little Courage
Until I met Eddie, there was never any safe place.
We had a lot of trouble inside our house. My father beat up my mother, and I got thrown everywhere. Then when I turned five, my mother started sending me to the store to buy Coke and BC powders. It was usually around 11:30 at night, and she gave me a lot of money — $10 or $20.
The trip took about 10 minutes, but it seemed like hours. There were vacant houses on both sides of the street, with drug dealers inside. Every night I heard shooting, and I could see people selling drugs and fighting.
When I got to the store, I asked the owner to watch me go home. He stood outside and sometimes walked me to the corner. But I always thought, “Any minute now, I’m going to get killed.”
I used to throw up a lot and have headaches. Then when I was seven, I met Eddie. Eddie is trustworthy and honest. He took my brothers and sisters and me out to eat, and he drove us to church on Sundays. When he took us home, I never wanted to go inside. I always wanted to stay with him.
After I met Eddie, I stopped being afraid all the time. I know I still might not live to grow up, but I think I survived this long because I had a little courage. I always told myself I could do it. I could get home safe.
Vincent Quinn, 14
Eddie Spencer is a youth worker in Jackson, Mississippi.