I loved her, immediately. It was June 26, 1996. From behind the pulpit her voice reverberated in the sanctuary. She was compelling. I had looked long for a woman like her in my mother, my teachers, and the school nurse. But those women weren’t as welcoming as her. She embraced me. I admired her, immediately. She pushed me to move past my past. "Talia, you have to get off welfare and get a job." "You’re kidding, right?" I asked. She got me my first job. I worked as a receptionist in the accounts payable department at a hospital. She gave me books to read. She removed my hand from over my mouth when I talked. She provided me guidance. I had never had before what she gave me. She told me the opposite of everything I had heard my entire life. Then our relationship began to collapse.