SShea

By SShea

Thirteen-year-old Devontae is poor and often homeless. He sleeps on the floor of apartments or in their rundown car without complaint. He eats one meal a day. He moves from school to school, and spends time in the principal’s office, which his mom attributes to the color of his skin, his intimidating height, and the ignorance of teachers and administrators. People stare at his parents – a petite woman with blond curly hair and blue eyes, and a basketball-tall man with a magnificently thick afro and skin as beautiful and dark as the black keys of a piano. He is a loner; his parents the only people he trusts.

When eviction slips litter their apartment, Devontae’s dad panics. He breaks his creed to never accept help or trust anyone outside of the family and makes a deal with a stranger to work a job for two days in exchange for staying at the man’s house for two nights. He didn’t ask questions; the pay screamed high risk.

They move in and two days later, his father comes back from the job to find Devontae beaten by the man’s oldest son.

In the backseat of the car, Devontae forces himself to face the truth about his parents and his dream to live a different kind of life. But, who can help him? Who can he trust?

A 30-year urban educator, SShea gives voice to the stories of children who experience homelessness and the foster care system.


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