this is the introductory character from my next book, "Different Trees From the Same Root" (the sequel to my debut, "Foundations") Delilah "Journey" Noble Delilah is my name, but my friends call me Journey. You can refer to me as Delilah. I don't know you, so I don't trust you. You can love me or hate me, but either way it's my decision to invite you into my life or invite you to kiss my ***, plain and simple. I don't want to depress you with some talk-show-type sob-story about me growing up in a roach and rat-infested housing project, but I do need to tell you some things so that you can understand how I came to be me, Delilah "Journey" Noble. I'm forty-two years old, but I don't look it. I was born on February 14, 1958 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. Today, I am what no one else would imagine a person born on a day of love would turn out to be. Reason being, my foundation had more than a few cracks. I'm daughter to two trifling-*** parents who were more interested in selling drugs, smoking weed, and having orgies than raising me. I haven't seen either of my parents in twenty-eight years. Wild parties, cigarettes, weed, drinking, cursing, fighting, drugs, and sex, it all went on around me. My mother didn't work, and for the time that I was in my parents' house, we lived off the drug money my father brought in and government assistance. I hate my father and hope that he's roasting in hell with his manhood cut off. He came and left our house when he pleased. He touched me, he—I would say he stole my innocence but watching what went on in that household, I wasn't too innocent myself. I was raped by my father, and it happened right after I'd lost my virginity to a guy named Selwyn who lived in the same building we did. I vaguely remember Selwyn now, only that he had a oak-wood complexion, stocky build, bow-leggs. Six weeks later I found out that I was pregnant, I don't know who the father of that child was. Where was my mother when all this happened? She was around but did nothing more than light a joint. When I initially told her about my father touching me, she said, "Grow up, Delilah. It ain't the end of the world." She never knew that I was pregnant. After the first response I got from her about my father touching me, I never said another word to her. I packed up what little clothes I had, took $870 from a safe that my parents didn't know I had the combination to, and left. I never looked back, and I've never heard or seen either of them again. I haven't seen that child since the day after I gave birth to her. That child is not my child; after she was born I left her on the steps of Jesus People's Youth Ministry, a large church in South Florida. I don't know if she's alive and well but I do know that leaving her there was the best thing I could've ever done. At one point before I turned eighteen I was in a shelter, but the people that were supposed to care for me treated me like I was some ****ed-up, cross-eyed, stepchild, so I left. Forget that! The roads I've traveled in my life after that pregnancy have lead me to live on the streets, steal, prostitute, do time in jail, go to night school, get a GED, work jobs in just about every industry, try my best to live right, or not try at all and just live wrong. I couldn't raise a child with a life like that. The turning point in my life came as a blessing in disguise. I was on seventy-ninth Street in Miami, a street known by locals as the home of prostitution. I'd just gotten out of jail for possession of marijuana, and I was glad to be out. Those broads in that jail were looking at me like a piece of Shake n' Bake chicken! With my hazel eyes, slim figure, and plump ***, I can't blame the other women for looking, but I don't get down like that anymore. I've tried it a few times but that's just because I love oral sex, and it doesn't matter if a man or woman is doing the pleasing, just as long as I'm on my back enjoying the eating. That may sound messed up but so what. I'm a grown *** woman, and I do as I please. But anyway, back to the turning point in my life. I was on the corner waiting for someone to pick me up so I could have sex to make some easy money. That was the night I met Delvin Armstrong, a construction worker that helped me turn my life around. Instead of sex in his car, he took me to a motel and we talked. Instead of sex, Delvin paid me to get to know me. "Why were you out there? How old are you? Have you thought about going back to school? Where's your family?" Delvin asked me a truckload of questions but for some reason I didn't hold back in answering. It was the first time in my life that anyone ever seemed to care about me, my life, and my journey— That first night with Delvin was twelve years ago and the beginning of my new life.