It should come as no surprise that my husband lived on a street off of Clinton. He and some other neighborhood guys would DJ parties, performed at various events, created art; evolving into local celebrities. And he was my friend, mine. So I got to hang out with them!
When I learned how to drive, cruising was the thing to do. It was 1989 and the destination was usually Clinton Avenue; whether it was for a church event (sanctioned by my mom) or to visit a friend, a house party or run an errand... all roads led in the same direction. It was just exciting to get stolen moments there, sort of like having a forbidden relationship with that person your parents warned you about.
But one day, Clinton Avenue became like an ex. I wanted nothing to do with it. It was October 21, 1993. The day my husband got arrested... on Clinton. Our beloved Avenue got to see his freedom disappear and I wasn't there to be his conscience, I felt betrayed. For years I stayed away. I avoided driving down the familiar streets; it was too painful. My husband's legal documents were filled with descriptions of the Avenue. Sometimes I would dream about being there, but I knew that it would never be the same.
Many years later, I decided to drive down Clinton. I looked at the intersection where my husband was arrested and as I kept driving I noticed the big church down the road and it was still so beautiful. I realized that the Avenue had changed very little, yet I had changed a lot. For the first time in a long time I felt hopeful.
Almost six years ago I began teaching at a school that is on Clinton Avenue. Now I get to drive down this Avenue everyday, sometimes stopping at the bakery or other establishment on my way home. I reminisce on positive and negative experiences I've had on this street. I look at the empty lot where the house where we lived once stood. I work with families from this community and I love that I have roots and history there; we have have much in common. My love for Clinton is still alive, though now I have respect for the Avenue. We have both grown.
My husband is also at Clinton (Correctional Facility), ironically. I think fate has a humorous side. It would be awesome if he would just come home right now, from Clinton. Then he would have come full circle.