names in this post have been changed or omitted
I sat on the low metal stool behind the counter top partially hidden from the customers coming into the convenience store. High up above my head were colorful packs of cigarettes for sale. Bao stood to my left at the cash register waiting on customers…
The man, an unruly customer became louder, yelling at Bao from across the counter, pointing at him. Yelling obscenities and waving his hands erratically, he was either high on drugs, drunk or both. He peered over the counter, catching a glimpse of me. I averted my eyes and shifted uncomfortably. Sneering nastily at Bao he slurred "How much for her?" Bao stepped in front of me and I was now behind him out of the man's view. Bao barked at him to make his purchase. But instead the man lunged across the glass countertop and grabbed a glass beer bottle slamming it against the metal counter edge. Beer foamed like a mini volcano spilling everywhere as bits of amber glass flew and I turned my head, shielding my porcelain face with my long brown auburn hair and hands. He raised the broken beer bottle in the air like a trophy with it’s jagged edges and laughed psychotically at Bao. I froze in that moment. I could feel myself holding my breath and I felt panic rising up within me. Was Bao going to be able to keep me safe? Would something happen to him? Things were rapidly getting out of control with this man. Hearing all the commotion Trong hurried up from the back and quickly stopped in his tracks when he saw what was playing out. With his slight build Trong stood there motionless in his baggy jeans and brown t shirt watching as Bao reached in his black leather jacket and withdrew a Glock 36, his eyes dark, pointing it squarely at the man who had been laughing manically like a hyena at the busted beer bottle. Suddenly all was quiet. “Get out.” Bao told him. The man’s laughter came to an abrupt halt. The man swiped his cigarette pack from the countertop, took a step back and held his hands up in surrender. “Okay, okay, you got it. “ he said with southern gentile like Bao had just won a civilized game of poker and slowly gestured toward the door that he was leaving as he backed toward it.
I remember that night like it was yesterday.
When you leave home at seventeen and live with a gang even for just awhile, it's like playing Russian Roulette. You never know what the next day will bring. The next hour... sometimes the next minute. I say thanks to God every day I survived that time in my life. A time in my life up till now that most people in my life know nothing of. A time in my life I worked diligently for eighteen years to hide from friends and family. When anyone asked about high school I would freeze with fear at their questions. But hiding it cost me. Hiding my experience while I was gone and how it made me the person I am today cost me closeness to others. It cost me relationships. Just a few short years later at twenty two hiding my past and keeping everything in cost me losing someone I really cared for. But ultimately it cost me giving something very valuable until now....
HOPE TO OTHERS
We all have the ability to help others, to give hope to people in our lives when we share our past tribulations. It unites us all even if our experiences are not exactly the same. We can all relate to feeling completely trapped or filled with despair at some point in our life and realizing all we have at the end of the day is God… and a prayer.
But at the end of the day...
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2012
Never underestimate the power of prayer!
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Where we are is not where we
are destined to stay.
We can pray, cry out to God for help.
We can stand in victory!