I loved her, immediately.
It was June 26, 1996.
From behind the pulpit her voice reverberated in the sanctuary. She was compelling.
I had looked long for a woman like her in my mother, my teachers, and the school nurse.
But those women weren’t as welcoming as her.
She embraced me.
I admired her, immediately.
She pushed me to move past my past.
"Talia, you have to get off welfare and get a job."
"You’re kidding, right?" I asked.
She got me my first job.
I worked as a receptionist in the accounts payable department at a hospital.
She gave me books to read.
She removed my hand from over my mouth when I talked.
She provided me guidance.
I had never had before what she gave me.
She told me the opposite of everything I had heard my entire life.
Then our relationship began to collapse.