Where Phoenix lived people didn’t dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, teachers or professional athletes. The people in her neighborhood dreamt about making it to the next day alive. Phoenix experienced a lot of bad times during her childhood years, and learned that even though there were areas in her life that needed improvement, it didn’t mean she was a failure. Every day, Phoenix was told by men how beautiful she was, yet she knew she was not a movie star or model. She was just your average girl who grew up in the ghetto. Looks weren’t everything. The outer surface told only a part of Phoenix’s story. What lied beneath was what really mattered.
Today, Phoenix’s life will change. The past few months had been rough for her, not knowing what her future held. She was unsure how to handle what had been happening in her life. This was the day that she had anxiously been dreading, her meeting at the Cuyahoga County Court at 9:00 a.m., court room 18-A. For court, Phoenix searched her closet for the perfect attire: a black Calvin Klein pant suit, a pink shirt and a pair of black BCBG pumps.
In the townhouse where she’d been residing for the last three years, Phoenix stepped out of the hot steaming shower, wrapped her wet hair in a towel turban, and slipped on her plush terrycloth bathrobe. She stood at the double-sink vanity, and wiped her hand across the mirror so she could peer at her reflection. She was mentally in pain. Butterflies grew in her stomach as she looked into the mirror, hoping to see the image of the person that was no longer inside her. Phoenix wanted to cry, but she knew she had a long road ahead of her and crying wouldn’t change the situation. She crossed the line. The damage was done.
“I’m going to get over this hurdle in my life,” Phoenix spoke to the image that looked her straight in her eyes with a worried expression on her face. As Phoenix stood in the bathroom, she also thought about a meeting she had a few weeks ago with her attorney Anthony Lombardi.
“Tell me straight up, am I going to jail?” Phoenix had nervously asked as she glanced around Mr. Lombardi’s office trying to avoid eye contact.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” her lawyer had responded. “But for how long, that I don’t know. That’s up to the judge to decide. That’s why it’s very important that you make a great impression on the judge.”
For a split second, the thought had entered into Phoenix’s head—illegally leave the country and start a new life. She wasn’t looking forward to the flavorless food, waking up early in the morning, and sitting around all day. She was not the type of person who enjoyed sitting around doing nothing. She was a mover and shaker. She knew if she left town or the country, the police and the bail bondsmen would be looking for her. Plus, she would constantly have to look over her shoulder while on the run. However, the main reason she could not and would not leave was because she just couldn’t leave her friends and family behind, especially since they had put the collateral up on her bond.
Phoenix took a deep breath as she covered her face. Swallowing hard, she tried to hold back her tears, but inside, she was crying like a baby.
“Are you okay, Phoenix?” her attorney had asked. Phoenix did not respond; instead, she looked up at her attorney as tears started rolling down her face.
Phoenix shuffled out of her attorney’s office with her head held down. She felt hopeless and helpless thinking about the information her attorney had just given her. As she sat in her car, she had screamed out loud “How did I let myself get in this shit?”