My sister, Jasmine Martin was born and raised in the ghetto of Oakland with three sisters and two brothers. Gabrielle, Elizabeth (that's me), Brian, and Saviore not Xavier. We all lived in a three bedroom house on a street name 62nd and Baker. I really didn't have a room because I was at my dad's house most of the time.
Jasmine was the eldest of us and fastest too. She had a straight nose, Japanese eyes, smooth juicy lips, and had dark mocha skin. Being the darkest in the family she was the less favored I would say. My father always told me the mothers usually favored the light skins and it was almost true.
Gabrielle was the lightest and always got away with stuff. She drank Smirnoff on my mother's porch and got to go with a gang of boys to the movies.
. When I was small and my mom went out to buy groceries. Jasmine and Gabrielle had catfights. I remember seeing Gabrielle on top of Jasmine, pulling the weave out of her hair. I was scared to death but Jasmine's face stayed impassive and calm.
Jasmine always had fights at Claremont Middle School. Jealous girls talked about her and envied her about her hair and how she dressed. " Oo girl can I do your hair? You are so ugly," they would say. But Jasmine had confidence. She knew she was beautiful because my dad and I would tell her. Even if we didn't tell her she knew. She didn't care…until those jealous touched her. She fought like hell if any of them snobby girls touched her and she won every fight too.
That's why I favored Jasmine and even Gabrielle. They both had confidence in themselves but Jasmine knew intellectual self-defense and didn't even know it. How did I know? The way she talked to our mother.
I remember when Jasmine graduated from Claremont, she wore these tight jeans. And wearing those made my mother angry. I was angry too but I didn't say anything. Everyone was in the car and one almost hit our car.
" Jesus!" my mom said frantically," Satan, the lord, rebuke you!" " It's ok ma," I said. " No I want his license plate number!" my mom yelled. " Mom don't do that you doin' too much," Jasmine said.
" No they were driving too fast!" my mom yelled. Jasmine could've stopped talking but she then said loud and clearly," What are you going to do with his license plate number…pray for it?"
I dropped my mouth, Gabrielle giggled, Brian gave a short laugh, and my mom balled up her lips. " Get the Hell out my car," my mother yelled with rage. " Psh. No," Jasmine said as my mother pulled the car over on the freeway.
" No get out!" my mom yelled. Jasmine refused. My mother drove on and spoke in tongues. " YOU WRONG FOR LAUGHIN' AT THAT GABRIELLE!" my mom hollered as we went into our house.
Jasmine just had a mouth. She talked back a lot and most of the things she said to my mom were true. " You don't like me 'cause my daddy don't pay child support!" Jasmine said once." Satan may the lord rebuke you!" my mom said bringing God into the conversation.
My mother always said little phrases from the Bible when she couldn't answer a question or have a comeback.
There was a time when Jasmine had her friend come over. I was in the living room with my mother, who met Jasmine's friend. Keona was her name. I was standing right there when Keona was trying to hand Jasmine something behind her. How stupid. My mother was watching them.
" What is that?!" my mom snapped. I think Keona dropped it. It was a rolled up swisher with crumbled up weed inside. I walked off, Keona ran out the door, my mom ran after her, cursing her out with rage, and Jasmine stupidly said, " Come back." That's when I realized Jasmine was experimenting with drugs.
The whole night my mother talked to Sister Patty (a church member) about how Jasmine was acting up. Jasmine was out the house somewhere. I think she ran away.
When I was in the sixth grade, I was at my mother's house. I decided not to go to school because Jasmine had a verbal fight with my mother. She accused mom that she stole one hundred dollars from her. From that she was really acting up.
Jasmine walked around the house naked with the bible in her hands. My mom pushed my brother and I out the kitchen. Saviore stupidly laughed and I was just confused.
" Mom doesn't God say that we shouldn't be wearing clothes?" I heard Jasmine said. Throughout the whole day she was acting crazy. She told me cats and animals can speak to you. It was almost convincing, the way she said it as she pet my cat Nala and Twinkle.
My mom finally decided to call the police. The police came over and called the ambulance. The ambulance took Jasmine in as she whispered," O my god." Over and over again.
I watched them take her away as my mother talked to the police," She carries box cutters and weapons." It was only for protection. She didn't carry any real guns or swords.
It was Christmas time when this happened. She was unfortunately in there for Christmas. I felt bad. I worked for a while, selling candy, and used that money to buy Jasmine a Baby Phat outfit. I knew she liked expensive stuff. So I bought her that with a little help from my dad.
" She's not taking the pills or the food," my mom said every time she visited her at John Jorge. My mom brought her food and Jasmine ate it.
When Jasmine came from the hospital, she was really skinny. She threw the pills away that the people gave her and started a new life.
Jasmine stopped the drugs, joined church again, and joined junior college at Laney. During those times I had problems at my middle school. She made me more confident.
" I'm tired of people always talking about me and I never say anything mean about them," I told Jasmine. She looked at me in surprise and said," Elizabeth. You know that they envy you.
" I had more problems than you when I was little. Kids threw stuff at me Elizabeth. They talked about me in my face EVERYDAY. You are very beautiful Liz. You know those kids just want to make your life hard. You know they just want you to feel lesser than them.
" You are lucky. You play tennis and went to Mexico to play, you like to write which helped you get into Mexico, and you play the piano! You have a father that loves you. My daddy isn't even here. He doesn't pay child support. This isn't the Elizabeth that I used to talk to."
Jasmine gave me an inspiring lecture. I felt better the next day and thought maybe I should be like Jasmine and fight. I had a fight the very next day because someone stole money from me. I couldn't take it any longer.
Jasmine had plenty of fights. She won most of them she even fought a boy before. But there was one time when she fought another boy and lost. She filed a report on the person. But never found him.
" When is you gone pay the rent JAZZ!" my mother yelled at her mostly all the time. They would always argue over stuff like that. " I have to finish paying for my car mom!" Jasmine yelled.
Jasmine did have a car and I always rode it in it. It was a tattered up car that sounded like it was about to roll over and die. " You want me to park the car somewhere else Liz?' Jasmine asked me looking at me with her Japanese formed eyes and voluptuous lips.
" Yeah," I said silently looking away. It was the second time I got suspended for fighting some prissy girl name, Frenchele. She had everything she wanted but yet she continued to bother me for no reason. Everyday I didn't make eye contact with her or even look at her but yet she seemed to come into my life.
" Elizabeth!" Jasmine said. We just had finish meeting Frenchele. " You fought my sister?" Jasmine had asked Frenchele who wasn't making eye contact with her. " Yeah she pulled my hair out," she said obnoxiously.
Jasmine put on her fake smile and said in a tone that the daycare staffs would use with little kids," Well you have a lot of hair Chandelle." Frenchele rolled her eyes and said," It's Frenchele."
We walked off. " Elizabeth!" Jasmine said sharply," That ignorance is not worth fighting for. Everyone isn't going to like you." I watched Jasmine in admire as she continued on with her lecture of inspiration.