names have been omitted
I sat on the flowered love seat, the sunlight streaming in the large picture window to my left almost blinding me. My therapist rose from her seat in the cozy taupe arm chair with it's nubby upholstery and adjusted the mini blinds to tilt so the light was dimmed. Taking her seat again, she picked up her pen and pad, nodding at me,
"Go ahead..." she prompted.
some names have been changed
or omitted in this post
Later that day, after skipping home economics class, when Bao pulled up in front of the high school to drop me off, I saw my mother. There she was... her petite stride in brown slacks and blonde hair walking out the front doors of the high school, purposefully looking up and down the sidewalk, the warm midday sun beaming off the concrete.
She was looking for me.
I panicked, ducked my head and in a hushed tone told Bao,
"Just keep going.”
I remember furtively looking back at her through the rear window of the car. She looked so tiny in stature suddenly. Much smaller than I’d ever seen her and then eventually she was a dot in the distance as we sped off, Bao clutching the stick as he drove. Tears sprang to my eyes and I blinked them away. I felt an intense sudden sadness for her. But I tried to squash it down. Panic began rising in my throat and my stomach was forming knots as we continued.
What was I going to do?
Where would I go?
I wailed inside not knowing the answers.
She knew I wasn’t at school and I knew she would wait till three o’clock for me to show up when school was dismissed in a few hours. Then she would realize I wouldn’t be coming home that evening.
Reality slowly began setting in as Bao drove further away. The only thought that kept me going forward and realizing going back wasn’t an option was the reality of what was waiting for me back home. If I went back I would never hear the end of it. I would be under such strict surveillance it would be all the more suffocating than it already was. Feeling as though home already resembled a prison with zero decision making, voice of self expression or nurturing, then how much worse could it become?
I knew it could become much worse than I could ever imagine.
My father felt most secure when he believed his environment was controlled... solely by him. Lack of control brought fear and more control. I had now thrown a loop into the system and this would offset not only his false security... but uncontrollable fury. Steeling myself for whatever I would face alternatively couldn't be worse than the restrictive environment I felt I had been living in for years. I kept telling myself that. It couldn’t.
We now made our way to one particularly run down section of town on the west side. No one with half a brain went there during the day much less at night as it was notoriously known as one of the worst and highest crime sections of the city. It was the nineties, the height of gang activity and their territorial wars... but unlike most gangs who were hung up on turf, the vietnamese gangs were about making money... business, chop shops, prostitution, drugs, etc.
The afternoon sky had turned to a charcoal dusk as the tiny gray customized Toyota MR2 weaved it’s way through the wide streets. It felt surreal, as it was like being on a movie set... a movie set of hell. But this was real life. I had never witnessed anything like it in my life. There were rough men in baggy pants and wife beater shirts straggled along the edges of the overgrown broken curbs reaching out their splayed hands... some begging for help, others cursing obscenities and glaring darkly at us as we moved at a snails pace so as not to hit any of them. Some held brown paper bags that I knew held bottles of booze and others held out needles or baggies of powdery substances that I knew to be drugs they were soliciting. Clearly some of them were so high on drugs or incapacitated by alcohol they had no idea what they were doing and would stumble across the road in front of the car forcing us to stop. Desperate for money, some of them would gather in groups around the vehicle as it slowed, waving bags of drugs at the window. I knew myself well enough to know drugs were never anything I was interested in and throughout all my time gone never once was I tempted to dabble in them which to this day I'm thankful for.
"It's amazing that you were able to survive something like this..." She exclaimed, taking a quick sip of freshly brewed coffee from a hand-painted mug with pale blue stripes circling it. "I mean, most people wouldn't have." She added, her cinnamon brown hued eyes sparkling warmly at me.
"It's been a strange journey..." I admitted looking down at my clasped hands sitting in my lap. "It's been an odd combination of something out of Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift meets a Lifetime movie..." I looked up and smiled wanly at her, pausing in thought...
"But I know God was who led me through. It was He who looked out for me, gave me the strength and power to keep going. It's only because of His grace I'm alive. At one time I would have taken credit or at least partial for surviving it. But I know now I can't do anything without God. I'm incredibly thankful to be here and it may seem cliche to say it, but not a day goes by that I don't know how very blessed I am in that. I would hope one day my story would inspire others to realize that no matter how dark life may seem it can get better."
What has God led you through?
How many triumphs in life can you thank Him for?
How blessed are we to have Him!
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
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