My first apartment, the one my daughter and I lived in after I left her sadistically abusive father, was way up on the 3rd floor. I didn’t have any furniture except for a table and four chairs. My mom and aunt bought us a 19 inch color TV that first night. The kid and I sat on blankets and watched it, although I can’t remember what now. Then, we both curled up within the donated softness and slept.

We were free.

Slowly, people started to give us things. My mothers work friends, my two only friends at the time (my ex didn’t like me socializing) and family. Even my moms hairdresser got into it, letting us raid her garage. Eventually, I had two couches, a microwave, kitchen items, towels and a dresser. I got a decrepit computer, bought a desk at a used furniture store.

I accumulated enough items to start a life over from scratch.

My mom and aunt bought us a bed, but sleeping with the kid was a challenge. She was like a little 5 year old octopus. I ended up on one of the couches most nights.


It was a small apartment, a one bedroom with a galley kitchen. But it was just enough room for the two of us. Sometimes, we walked around in our underwear, wearing only T-shirts. We ate dinner on the floor. We did whatever we wanted to, whenever we wanted.

We were free.

I found myself a cleaning job and after work, I would pick my daughter up from daycare with the ancient Buick that my mom and aunt helped me buy from some guy for $800. The drivers window was duck-tapped shut, so I was always sweltering. But I didn’t give a shit.

Yes, you guessed it.

Because I was free.