by Deidra Ash

As I sat on the bed, the memories flowed along with the tears of passion, pain, and anger. The small isolated room trapped my body, but my mind was bound by my own vexation. My humble, but wounded heart had not found peace, although it searched frantically within the souls of others. Sometimes, hope can be found internally, but my internal being had been tortured, mutilated, and lost in a whirlwind of captivity. A victim of my own sorrow was all I had become. The screams down the hallway influenced my good behavior. Though the white robes looked heavenly, they would have left me with nothing. The source of my mental strength waned as the sincere cold embraced my entire anatomy, the physical amendment would certify my death. The minutes dragged as hours until my appointed counsel entered to attempt the miracle of dissecting my mind to diagnose my affliction.

The tall counselor walked in and wasted no time to begin. He was an intimidating man. His hands showed age with the fine lines of time. The glasses he wore epitomized microscopes that he peered down into, appearing to see every pore and follicle of my complexion. He had perfect posture. I could see the wisdom in his expression. He was black to my surprise. I know I shouldn't stereotype, but no one in my family had ever really achieved anything. I tried to soften my expression in hope of similar response from him, but I had no such luck. This guy was a brick wall. I had to consult my acting skills to become an evasive teen who was certainly not intimidated as we began.

He began with an introduction and simple clich in his very proper speech, you know, "Hello young lady; I'm Dr. Millerton. So tell me about your life."

I know the goal was to be vague, but the question sparked a fire in my mind and the flames poured out of my mouth in the form of history, my history. He was good at what he did. He got me talking in no time. Besides, who doesn't like talking about themselves? I didn't get here by being modest or conservative. So, I planned to make sure his paper was engulfed in notes on my account.

"Counselor, believe me when I say things before weren't much better. I can say the pinnacle of my existence was September 3, 1989, my birth day. I can assume my parents were happy upon my arrival; well, they kept me, and named me Tia'ron Ford. That's all the persuasion I needed. I didn't know them. I still don't, but as a newborn my ignorance was innocent. There is no excuse for my matured unknowing, but that's the path I was led along," I continued.

"New Jersey in the mid-nineties was far from perfect, but it was home, so I loved it. Home life was a blemish. I was torn in between the price of drugs, mentally, and the exploitation of my own body at the tender and still fragile age of six. You have to understand, this was all I knew. You can say I was brainwashed, and the cult-inspired education overwhelmed my young mind. Do you honestly think that my family was the only one abusing the gift of their child? Ha! Let's not be so naive."

"Newark, Weequahic District, Southward, Brick City, it really didn't matter what you called it, because before you could pronounce it correctly you were working. It was our mentality. Cocaine rocked the whole state. It wasn't uncommon to have children dependent on the poison. My city from Philadelphia to Manhattan was destroyed by the "drug-quake." Wherever the transit would take you was where the drugs were. The bus was part of our downfall, nothing but cheap transportation for illegal substances. It was no secret and it was a shame. Now hear me when I say this Counselor; Things could have definitely been worse, so I would never complain. I don't want or need your sympathy. At least I had a sense of meaning," I managed to painfully squeeze out.

"I don't feel like talking anymore," I whined. "I'm exhausted and I just want some sleep please. Good night Counselor. I'll see you later," I demanded before he could say another word.

The memories began to sting my mouth as they trickled out nonchalantly. I had to stop the appointment to regain my composure. As I fought back the tears, I could only think about New Jersey and how all I had left was a Lauryn Hill cd, a Jersey Devil tee, and a postcard of the bridge connecting Trenton to Brooklyn.

I knew I hadn't done a very good job of showing my defiance, but tomorrow was a new day and there were many opportunities to show him I could hold my own. I did not need to be here, and I would take charge. So I did my best to curl up with my plans and enjoy slumber with the lack of amenities.

That night had been the easiest I had slept in months. Despite the freezing temperatures and the constant supervision, I was at peace. I dreamed of my mother and father, before they had destroyed my life. I woke up sweating and ending the dream as if it were the worse nightmare I could conjure. I wasn't ready to see them again and I would not let myself forgive the monsters that left me to be devoured by the world. They hadn't taught me anything. I take that back. I knew how to cook up crack and clean them up after a relapse. REAL LIFE, what was that?


So I sat in the room and rocked. Now I knew why the people in the pavilion rocked. Not because they were crazy, but because they were cold and rocking made the time pass quicker. That's what it seemed like anyway. Over the years my imagination had grown so vivid and full that I never needed to ask questions. I just thought profusely and whatever made sense to me would then be the reason for the logic I questioned.

Just as I had convinced myself that my new habits weren't out of the norm. A stocky nurse walked into my room with breakfast and a daily dose of what I had eluded the night before. She looked very young, younger than I was. I fought to hide my jealously behind the white cotton cover I had covered up with previously. She was beautiful and her demeanor was cheerful. She smiled with a blinding glare as she flipped her lustrous black hair from her shoulder. Again, to my surprise, she was black! Her healthy chocolate complexion was all I could take before exposing my appearance of revolt. I took my food and medicine and forced a thank you sneering behind her back as she left my room.

After the nurse was out of sight, I put the food on the bed and examined myself in the plastic glazed mirror.

The windows and mirrors had been basically ruined by the plastic that oozed on the frames for our protection. Although my view was distorted, I knew I was in shambles.

I was only sixteen but my age seemed to be doubled. My hair was nappy and it stood atop my head just as Don King's hair had. My smile was a sorrowful sight. The drugs had eaten holes in my cheeks and my teeth were a yellowish color with a brown overtone. The good thing was I never smiled anyway so no one ever had to be plagued with my happiness. My body was reduced to bones, clothed with an ashy brown cloak of skin which seem to be slipping away as I slumped in the chair. I was covered in grotesque onyx scars which gave me an edge of death. The war with others and drugs had taken its toll. The only beauty I had left were my honey brown pools of perception into the world. My pupils had been dilated so no one could really admire their beauty. I sat and wept silently awaiting the arrival of another reality check. I was miserable.

After a long hour of recollecting, Dr. Millerton walked in, this time with a friend. I glared at the two of them and did not intend to speak until I recalled my plan. I had to show out. The first impression was the most important. I assumed the persona of a street queen. I didn't need anyone.

A street queen was a woman that grew up in the ghetto and had an attitude out of this world. She wouldn't take anyone's crap and she would not hesitate to jack you up. She was in control, and it was not a joke. She was feared and respected as a leader and protector of her hood.

I quickly reviewed my position and began strongly!

"I thought I told you doc, I don't want anything from you, I snapped!"" You can't make me do nothin' I don't wanna and you ain't got no power here. So take yo nasty hussy and bounce up out my room!"

They were unmoved! I panicked.

"Yo, I got peeps on the outside and I'll put out the word that you ain't treating a queen right," I warned." I'm crazy! Don't make me get belligerent in this piece! You best be leaving for I have to make you. I scare myself sometimes."

A nurse appeared with medicine and a straight jacket from around the corner. I examined all three authoritative figures and sensing their seriousness, I submitted. I was not about to have anyone manhandle me and put me to sleep because I was trying to be tough. OH NO! This had gone terribly wrong.

Dr. Millerton chuckled and whispered to his friend. I interjected, "I am right here!" So what do you want?

I winced and he continued.

" A change from yesterday, wasn't it Miss Ford?", he joked.

I failed to find the humor and stared blankly at the towering man.

"My name is Sha-Ron," I enunciated each syllable, trying to show at least a little sassiness. I was fine with him calling me Miss Ford. It wasn't his fault my name was spelled weirdly, but I was trying to regain my confidence.

" Well before that stunt you pulled, I was just telling Miss Combs about how articulate you were." He continued.

I rolled my eyes and let out a sigh of truth. I couldn't hide it. Just because I was from the ghetto did not mean I had to be of the ghetto. I spoke very well and had wisdom beyond my sixteen years. I loved books.

" Miss Combs is here to help me evaluate you more thoroughly." She's an expert in speaking with dependants of drug and alcohol abusers!

Miss Combs, what a character! She was a short full figured women with immaculate taste. She strutted her long sandy brown extensions and French manicure. I could see her jovial expression and youthful appearance shining in her perfectly made-up face. I envied her nicely creased pin-striped pants and sultry low v top. I could tell she was nice, but definitely not a pushover, or so I thought.

This must have been some kind of alternate reality I had walked into. Every social worker or doctor I had ever seen was white, but these people were all of color. Dr. Millerton, the nurse, and Miss Combs all had something in common, the element of surprise and pigment. I pondered and concluded that maybe I was just close-minded and left it at that.

Miss. Combs approached and I braced myself. She spoke softly and smoothly as she put her hand on my thigh.

"You can call me Angela."

I flashed back and remembered an unpleasant event, quickly sweeping her hand away from my leg. Noticing my apprehension, she backed away and looked at the counselor. She was persistent, so she slowly stepped closer and asked another question.

"Do you know what today is?"

The sarcasm swelled in my throat and I could hardly help myself when I replied, "The first day of the rest of my life, right!" I smiled maniacally feeling accomplished.

She spat back, "No, what's the date, smart-mouth?" Witnessing her control, Mr. Millerton backed out along with the nurse who had came to their "rescue."

I choked and mentally picked my face up from the floor. Embarrassed, I looked at the calendar and shamefully answered, "November 13, 2005."

Expressing her dominance she began her appraisal of my mind and asked, "What is or was the most important thing to you in life?"

I swung away and looked down. I felt like I had been shot and wished that I had been. The searing pain made the mood very uneasy between us. My eyes pleading for her to move on, blinked out tears of acid it seemed. Despite my pain, Miss Combs, Angela was not swayed and I sorely began my account of a family. The family that had come and gone within seven short, excruciating, and unavoidable years.

"Family was my first love," I began. Although my mother and father were married to each other, they were also married to cocaine, in any form. I never questioned their love until after they let the toxins pierce their minds and swindle their ability to love or even recognize me.

Miss Combs inquired, "What convinced you that they loved you?"

I stared at her questionably and countered, "What convinced you that your parents loved you?"

"Answer the question," she gnashed.

She was not helping and she made me feel inhuman for a brief moment, but I complied with her requests and began answering her ruthless question.

" I didn't need any convincing!" There were group homes up and down the streets I grew up in. Things at home were definitely terrible, but they could have been worse, so I won't complain!

"I decided to give her a piece of my mind. " Listen, Angela, I have been abused my whole life. Just when I get some peace someone like you comes without tact and brings me beneath her own real demeanor. That front you put up for the counselor may have fooled him, but I saw right through it," I lied. " It's people like you who made my block a horrible place to live. You tear families apart and don't lose a wink of sleep from it."" Realize this", I began, "What goes around comes around and everything that glitters ain't gold. I'm so glad I'm old enough to know my parents loved me, but I hate you for the children you scarred by telling them their parents don't care. Don't you know that all children need is some attention, affection and support and they are soaring. I pity you for failing to appreciate the small things. You waltz in with your nose up and your expensive attire thinking you're above me. You're a great actress miss, but you're just as poor as any project runaround!" I meant it too.

A project runaround was a young man or woman who had been hooked on drugs for years. Cold and heartless, they would do anything to achieve their next high. They were lost and disowned by their families and they often begged for money and food. They were snitches and didn't care about anyone, but themselves.

She stood up calmly with her head hanging so low she was sweeping the floor. Her eyes were rivers by then, flowing violently as she stepped out of the room. I cried too, not because of remorse, but because I felt cold and barren. This place was supposed to help me, but she, Angela, Miss Combs was trying to tear me down and sedate me. I knew I would be sentenced for this unproductive day, but it was well worth it. I smiled inwardly as a vehement knock preceded by two large nurses and Miss Combs interrupted my moment.

" That monster!", screamed Miss Combs. She attacked me. She got up and tried to choke me and spat in my face. Luckily I took that self-defense course. She's crazy! She spun around and clutched her heart, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Maybe I shouldn't have complimented her on her acting skills. It was too late now and I accepted my punishment as the strong nurses grabbed each arm. One nurse grabbed a syringe and stuck it in a vein protruding out of my neck.

Being a recovering drug addict I had been pricked and stuck everywhere. The veins in my arms were useless and callused so they injected the medicine in my jugular. I didn't have a chance to put up a fight as I hung limply between the two burly men. Before I blacked out, I stole a glance at my accuser, she was smiling. What a character. She really needed to be admitted into the hospital herself.


The next day when I woke up I was trapped in a straight jacket and strapped to the bed. My body was trapped by the equipment, but I was bound by my own vexation. When would I get out of here?

The same beautiful black queen, from the morning before, entered with medicine and breakfast. I closed my eyes as she approached me. She was humbled by my entrapment and asked softly, "Why are you so angry with me?"

I opened my eyes and cringed. In reality she reminded me of the picture I had found of my mother, before she was hooked on drugs. It was too painful to look at her. I turned my head toward the wall and answered coldly.

"I ain't worried about you lady."

The nurse gently unloaded her cart, sitting the food right in front of me on the bedside table. Then the nurse shrugged and walked toward the door. Before exiting she flashed a smile and said, "I'm Shirley."

An idea slowly formed in my head, " How a was I going to eat this food?"

Who cared that I was a vegetarian. It was a fad anyway. I would tear into that crisp piece of meat that lovingly graced my plate. It was browned to perfection. Maybe it was soy. At this point I couldn't care less. It's smell was tantalizing making my mouth water. Unable to wipe the drool away, it formed a pool under my cheek soaking the sheets I lay so desperately helpless on. Mounded next to this deliciously painful temptation was an expertly arranged egg. Scrambled, as my mind was as I tried to figure out how I could devour its essence. It was topped with just the right amount of pepper sealing the deal. The purgatory wouldn't end as I ogled the fluffy golden brown disks, drooling with Mrs. Butterworth's. They were purposely designed with a nice square of melting margarine which slid down the sides as the steaming confection sat unharmed. The final blow was a frosty glass of orange juice which appeared to taunt me.

I tried to stick my neck out as far as possible and attempted a lunge toward heaven, but to no avail. My heart almost stopped, but I would not give up. I braced myself and almost breaking my neck, I began trying to inch the bed over to the table, but it was bolted to the floor. Pride dissolved into hunger as I screamed out impulsively, "Shirley!"

She must have been waiting for me to call her, because as soon as I cried out, she was right there smiling.

" I bet you're worried about this lady now, huh!", she teased.

She fed me and monitored the door. Gulping down my helping I smiled, but couldn't help feeling elderly. She looked intently into my eyes and, with concern, began to lecture me.

" Listen, sweetie, "she began in a southern accent, Everyone is not the enemy. I heard about that heffa from yesterday and they were wrong to come get you, but you decided that with that first stunt you pulled. Mr. Millerton is a great doctor and he thinks highly of you. Let him help you. Do It for yourself. God places people in your life to help you bear the load. Yeah , you messed up, but you can repent and find salvation. Jesus-

She smiled, noticing she had began to preach and stopped to let it all soak in as she administered my medicine.

I heard her and I took every word and hid them in my heart to begin rebuilding my dignity.

Later, that afternoon I was visited again by Dr. Millerton.

" Young lady, how have you been?" Quite the feisty one or so I've heard. Was breakfast good?

I paused to think. How did Shirley know how the doctor felt about me? How did Dr. Millerton know about my occurrence at breakfast? I looked up at the man and knew something was going on between them. They were married!

I briefly blanked out to envision their wedding. I told you I had a vivid imagination.

Everything was bathed in white as the bride walked down the isle gracefully. The man at the altar cried at the sight of her beauty and smiled as he accepted her hand. They recited their vows and rode a horse drawn chariot to heaven. That's what I had hoped for my own parents.

Shaking me back to reality, Dr. Millerton filled with concern asked if I was all right. I shook my head.

"Yes, Shirley is my -"

"Wife, right? , I confidently blurted.

" Daughter."

Was I wrong or what? He did seem kind of old. I just shut up before I dug my grave any deeper. I needed to pay attention to the small details of the big picture sometimes. I had been making a fool of myself since I had been introduced to this mental ward.

" Well anyway we both know this isn't about me," he started. It's about you, so lets cover what you and Miss Combs were suppose to accomplish yesterday.

I silently agreed.

" Just start where you remember leaving off."

I started to address the man with an insubordinate attitude, but thinking of Shirley's kind words I spoke softly of my family experience.

"To make a long story short, My parents were drug addicts and I lost them both by the time I was seven," I swiftly uttered exerting pain.

Dr. Millerton searched my expression and asked as if his duty, "How did that make you feel?"

I stared back at him in disgust, but realizing it was his job, I answered with the honest truth.

"My heart was a casualty of this massacre." I could hardly believe this was happening. My seven-year-old mind could not register the impact it had on me until the social workers whisked me away. The cavern where my heart had inhabited had been violated when the people took me away from my home in New Jersey. In a sense, I know this sounds clich', but part of me died. Counselor, It was all I knew. I felt naked and useless. The hope that I would be able to remain in New Jersey, on my block, was shattered just like the glass that dressed the streets. Ultimately I was angry, and at the age of seven I became heartless, ruthless, and careless. I would make everyone suffer like I did.

Interested he enthusiastically asked another question while I still felt like sharing.

"Why the change of heart?"

This man spoke in clichs' didn't he? I thought before continuing.

"I knew that no one cared about a poor, black, female child from New Jersey." There wasn't to be any caring for this child of the ghetto. Just throw her into a group home. Oh no, who will lament the loss of a young black girl? ," I sarcastically whined. "No one, that's who. I knew that for sure."

I couldn't go on. I couldn't help feeling l like a freak in front of Dr. Millerton. I turned my head from him.

Getting the point, he started to wrap up.

"Okay Miss Ford, we're done for today, but tomorrow we have to talk about your parents." I know it's hard, but it will help you. I promise. I'm just waiting for your trust.

I looked into the man's assuring eyes and nodded.

Subjectively, I had to find a way to dodge speaking of my parents. They still ran through my thoughts and angered everything within in me. I rolled my eyes and smiled as the counselor began to pack up.

"Wait, I didn't know my parents"

Informed of my defiance he answered.

"Tell me what you know!" Stop worrying and just wait until Shirley arrives. She'll unstrap you and take you back to your room.

Comforted I closed my eyes and awaited the arrival of my mentor, Shirley.

After about fifteen minutes Shirley hurried in and woke me in a frenzy


" Guess what baby you don't have to be trapped anymore." The doctor's report was enough for the administrator to release you back to your room. Well, don't look too excited! She sung out.

"They not releasing me from this building so I have no joy," I groggily creaked.

"Take pleasure in the small things, child, or I'll have a mind to report that you attacked me, like that crazy women did," she ridiculed.

I grinned silently and relaxed as the gorgeous nurse unstrapped me from the bed and helped me into a wheelchair. I imagined being wheeled off to a mansion of happiness!

I never knew I would be so happy being in my room again. When Shirley dropped me off, she told me she would be back at dinner to help me out some more. The numbness in my legs began to wear off and I danced joyously across the freezing white floors. The rest of the day would be so wonderful. I imagined having a breakthrough with Dr. Millerton and being released back out to the warm Texas streets.

Remembering the topic Dr. Millerton was so adamant about, I sprawled out on the bed and thought intensely of what I was going to bestow in the night's meeting. In the back of my mind aloof thoughts intruded on my happiness. "What if my confession guarantees a longer stay?" What If something was really wrong with me?

Worrying and waiting, I wished Shirley would rush to bring my dinner.

Even though I had only opened up to Shirley earlier that day; she was my confidant. Every chance I had I would tell her something new. I told her things that I could only speak about with another female. She gave the best advice. Shirley was an angel. She must have just been delayed before leaving heaven. If she had come into my life a little sooner, she would have saved me from all the pain that had befallen me.

Finally Shirley arrived with a regretful look. I asked her what the problem was, and she simply replied.

" She's back"

Letting it play back numerous times, I knew what she was referring to and looked to Shirley for advice. She needed the consoling this time. She appeared pale and raging with fury. Her derangement scared me. With a contrite look she turned to me and sat down to explain the details that agitated her tremendously. I wondered why she was so upset, but in due time it was all revealed.

I sat down next to Shirley and focused on her every word as she began to share her tribulation.

" Listen, I grew up in New Orleans and it wasn't no walk in the park either. My parents weren't drug addicts, but I lost them both at a very young age. Not 'cause they died, but because they were abusive and very sick minded people. Now I know this may not seem similar to your situation, but it is. Social workers broke up families daily. I could have been saved from the drugs and alcohol, but I chose to try ta' be grown. I turned to trickin' and runnin' the streets. I have been raped physically and emotionally, but that's what I get I guess.

I abruptly halted Shirley by expressing a concern.

" I thought Dr. Millerton was your father."

She stared at me as if trying to trying to calculate my stupidity. Then answered.

"I said my parents were taken from me at a young age. What, you thought I was a street urchin or somethin'? Dr. Millerton took me in. Some things go without sayin',but considering your situation, I understand."

Feeling drained of my common sense and embarrassed, I nodded for her to continue.

"There wasn't no little clinics and homes for people like me back then. I had to do it on my own, and yes, there were obstacles, but I made it. That gracious man, Dr. Millerton, helped me maintain my new identity. Take this help and thrive on it. Just because one person is trying to break you, does not mean that everyone is trying to break you. We're building you up and once you realize that ,you will be unstoppable. God knows what he's doing. Just trust him! Just pray and ask God to reveal himself to you and accept his son Jesus as your personal savior. He will if you just ask."

Inspired by her intuition I leaned in to hug her, but out of the corner of my eye I witnessed an unwanted visitor scheming at the door. It was Miss Combs! Knowing we were caught, I informed Shirley of my findings .We expected the worst.


"Personnel relationships are strictly prohibited. You should know that, Miss. Millerton! As one of our senior nurses I expected you to set an example. I have no choice but to suspend you and explore the possibilities of termination. Do you have anything to say?" The short, fat, balding administrator scolded.

Shirley fumed with anger and snapped, "I don't see how talking to a poor, tired, scared young girl is a personal relationship is! The counselors do it. But I accept the consequences. Some people are so inconsiderate."

The administrator yelled, "Enough! You were wrong no matter how you look at it, so accept it or quit."

Calming down, Shirley took her bag and gathered her things to leave the building. As much as she wanted to stand up, she couldn't. She was hired as a favor to her father. She knew the hospital would function just as well without her, but she needed to survive.

I blamed myself and laid limp and unresponsive in my room. How was I supposed to survive now? When Dr. Millerton entered, I ignored him. He informed me that I didn't have to speak then, but it was imperative for my release. I just prayed that this was all just a horrific nightmare as I slept. Alone, once again, and bound by my own vexation.

The next several days were malicious. The only thing I could think of was how that malevolent woman had ruined my comfort. There was no way to calm my meandering mind. I strived to overcome my greatest oppressor, which was me. No matter how hard Miss Combs tried; she could never control me. I was responsible for my own faculties and I would not let any person on Earth contradict that. At that point, I decided to attempt to become a hood hero. I did it for Shirley.

A hood hero was a person who had made a difference, much like Shirley had, in the lives of others. They may not have had much, but they were rich in all respects. They had made something of themselves, despite the factors that held them back in the hood, or anywhere. Their main objective was to give back to their home no matter how ragged it was. They were selfless and humble citizens who grew up in poverty and rose to greatness.

It had been fifteen days since I had spoken to the counselor or anyone. Timeliness was key to a meaningful recovery. I knew that when I was ready the whole world would be able to sense my confidence, and know that I was, for once in my life, happy. I knew that the day would never come if I kept procrastinating, so I planned to have a long heartfelt chat with the counselor.

When Dr. Millerton entered the room, his eyes were filled with jubilance as I welcomed him with a smile. He asked if I remembered what we discussed would be our next conversation and I nodded with approval. I was ready to let the counselor probe my mind to find the roots of my problem. I was ready to forgive my parents.

He began with a simple statement.

"Tell me about your parents."

I took a deep breath as if trying to inhale all the oxygen in the hospital, and hoped to pass out, but I didn't so I began.

"Well as I already told you before, I don't know much about them. They were drug addicts. Mostly cocaine. I watched them throw away their lives and destroy our family."

I stopped to gauge my wrath and began again noticing that I felt better.

"They both were intelligent people, but you could only tell when they were doped up. I remember one time when my dad sat me down and told me, "Learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others." That sounded so promising, but I don't doubt he stole it from someone. He let drugs steal away our happiness and we were supposed to be a family. I wouldn't put anything past him. That's how he made his living stealing and selling, but mostly stealing. If he could only differentiate family from customers, maybe we could have had some hope. My mother was like one of those people who got drunk and then started feeling sorry for themselves. She also became very philosophical when under the influence. She once told me, "No one owes you anything. You must work for anything and everything you have so no one can take it away from you." That must not have applied to blessings. "Coke" took what she had worked for; life, love, me, and she let it happen. This pretty much sums up their personalities. They were high all the time trying to give me direction in life. Too bad it all backfired. I'm getting help and I'm sure they would have jumped at the chance of recovery."

"Do you want to tell me what they looked like? Where did you get your good looks from," he questioned?

I just wanted to strike him. He knew I looked like a zombie. I had to admit I had improved since my first day, but I was still a mess. I just smiled mockingly and avoided the question. He was not making this easy.

"Are you angry with your parents?"

"Yeah, I'm angry, but I miss them the most. I envy not having the chance to go places with them and love them. I'm not a bad person; I just want to be the apple of someone's eye. I don't have any brothers or sisters. I don't have a boyfriend. I don't have friends, period. I don't have anyone and I need someone. I want to be able to talk to people before my aggression grows uncontrollable. I don't want to hurt people. I just don't. I'm tired of holding myself back. I'm tired. I'm just lonely.

Did I ever tell you about my experience in foster-care? It was horrible. I became depressed and suicidal. I was degraded, humiliated, and put in grueling situations. I hate to say it, but drugs were my best friends. Those people didn't care about me! They just solemnly collected the set revenue the government approved. I was exploited." I never had been so open, trials poured out.

"Is that why you hurt that girl? Because you were mad?" He handed me a notebook. The notebook I had entered with after the heinous crime I committed, admitting to my guilt.

"I didn't mean to hurt that girl as bad as I did, I continued, addressing the reason I had been admitted. All of my transgressions and acerbity built up and I exploded. "I could see the two-toned fireflies flickering on the black canvas above. Red, blue, red, blue. That night was the darkest and coldest. The girl down the street had been hit by what seemed to be the fiercest and clumsiest June-bug of all; this one was far from harmless. Bells and sirens sounded as if the carnival had come, but the occasion was too solemn and gloomy for such festivities. The wind pierced our ears, but our cheeks were glistening from the diamond drops of emotions which unified with the pool on the ground. The young woman was highlighted crimson with her own tributaries. As the stream flowed into the street she was still. I remember trying to revive her with a shake or two, but her sleep was an abyss, dark and endless. Traumatized, I realized she was dead." I read in horror. The account was chilling. " Luckily she was only in a coma, but I have become a monster !," Referring to Miss Comb's comment.

Reality hit harder than ever and an epiphany had dawned as I recalled the events of my life. Blaming everyone else made it that much easier to continue in anger. I was the problem. Dr. Millerton quickly gave me a pen and encouraged me to write in the notebook again. I decided to talk to God as Shirley had suggested. I knew just what to record.


Just Let Go

I cry out unable to express myself.

In bondage I am with no help.

I look to the heavens where God inhabits.

Please Lord deliver me from my faults and fears.

Hear me now in my great depression.

This loss of words has given me unbearable suffering.

Expressing myself again would feel so pleasurable

Tear away these chains I beg of thee.

Bondage has suppressed me.

I know that you hear me.

Feeling you near brings me such alleviation.

So near I feel I have no defeat.

Screaming now helps to relieve my stress, but only for a short while.

You have enlightened me.

The pain I felt was my fault alone.

I could have been cured before.

Never letting go brought me anguish.

Let go of everything.

This epiphany is so wonderful.

The answer was right before me, yet I neglected to see.

This poem summed up my experience and it made me feel so much better. I think God showed himself through the words he gave me. This was an account unlike any other I had ever written. It would be submitted to the judge to appeal my release. Hopefully I wouldn't see Miss Combs again before I went home.

After fourteen more days of breakthroughs and testimonies, I was deemed fit enough to go home. I heard I would be going to another foster home, but these people were looking to adopt. I kept my hopes up. I wondered what had happened to Shirley. Her suspension should have been over by now.

Through the last of our meetings, Dr. Millerton convinced me that writing could be a great outlet for me and that it would keep me out of trouble.

When I stepped out of the institution, I saw a familiar face. It was Shirley! I ran up to hug her not wary of the consequences. She told me she had a surprise and pulled out a paper. I snatched it frantically and read it. Intensely, the tears began to fly out of my eyes. Shirley could now be my guardian angel forever. From that moment on I knew that God was real and I was no longer bound. I was freed by God's own will.

God is good and he will take you out of your trials and deliver you into his own perfect will. Know that God's ways are higher that your own and submit unto Him. Sometimes He will send one person into your life to help you see that his love is real. I hope that my story can help all of the troubled teens who are searching for love. God's love is the only love we need. Trust God and accept him as your personal savior. Let his love saturate your hopes, dreams, and efforts along with his unfailing mercy and grace.

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