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Stella Victory had eyes just exactly like a new born fawn. She had the ass of a porn star and she regularly styled her hair like a 1940’s Hollywood cocktail waitress. Her legs were long and always reminded me of a gazelle in the moment just before it is about to launch. Her face much in the same manner, always appeared just on the verge of laughter. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. As I saw it, God had chosen to plant the flower that was Stella Victory right directly down in my neighborhood as a gift to me for being good. So, in effect, it was Stella Victory (strictly by her presence in my vicinity) that kept me righteous and saintly well into young adulthood.
When I found her again, a battered beaten shell of what she one was (years after the neighborhood had decayed and those in it had scattered to the wind) in the only public restroom I had ever seen in a New York City Subway, everything that I had ever known (down to the core blueprint of my own damn soul) shifted, melted and changed forever.
Stella used to be married to a prize fighter by the name of Joe Victory. His name certainly did not come about due to his skill as a fighter though. He was a crude handsome man with a sour tone. The only time he smiled was in the presence of Stella – then he seemed as though the sun was shining directly on him. Otherwise, butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. Dogs barked at him and he scared me to death. He, like Stella, was a mulatto descendant of slaves. His Great, Great, Grandmother, Miss Layla Victory, formerly Miss Layla Wilkerson of the Wilkerson plantation in Aikin, South Carolina had travelled 800 miles north on bare feet along the underground railroad to gain her freedom. Long story short, she made it. When she arrived at her destination, hungry and cold but free, she was asked to sign or speak her name so that it could be entered into the registry. She stood still and silent staring at her chapped, cracked and bloody feet and she answered with a tone of complete dedication and absolute honesty, that her name was Layla M. Victory. No one ever knew what the “M” stood for but the new surname was never questioned or changed. It proved from that point forward - or at least until it reached Stella to be bad luck for every soul born under or married in to it.