How can I forgive you and not myself? I can’t forgive myself, yet I can forgive everybody else. I forgive you for never being there. I forgive you for never acting like you cared, when you would leave for days on end. I was all alone with no friends. The drugs took over your life. You couldn’t even walk or think right. I would brush your hair and it would come out in chunks. I always stayed quiet never cried much. Although when I was alone I would cry my eyes out. Cursing at God, in Him I had so many doubts. When you opened the door I would dry my tears, trying to show you that you could talk to me and that I was mature. You would brush me off and say you’re too tired to talk. Yell at me, and tell me to go outside and play with my chalk. Not understanding I was twelve and I didn’t play with chalk anymore. I would go outside and try to hide what happened behind closed doors. People would ask me why I looked so sad or what was wrong with me. I would lie and say I just watched a sad movie. I know my excuses they did not believe.
As I grew older I started to rebel. Going out all night, drugs I would sell. I thought you would notice but you never did, never even cared that you had a kid.
Things only got worse with the thugs I would hang and a little after that I started to bang. I thought I was cool and that I was the shhh. I was robbing houses, cars, and hitting licks. When I would get arrested you would come and pick me up. I was yearning for your attention but you never gave a *uck.
Then you disappeared left me to rot in jail. I spent eleven months sitting in that cell. It had been almost two years since I had seen or heard from you. In August 2014 all hell broke loose. They came to my room and unlocked the door and told me I was going to the hospital, I didn’t have to stay anymore. As we were driving to the hospital I was asking why, but nobody would look me in the eyes.
The doctor came in and asked questions about you. I told him I hadn’t seen or heard from you for one and a half almost two. He told me had some very bad news. I heard his words but I didn’t believe they were true. They asked me to go inside the room and identify the body. He just kept saying how he was so sorry. When I walked in the room I thought it was a joke. He told me this was the long-term effect of heroin, meth, and coke. You didn’t look anything like you used to. They told me you only weighed 102. At 5”11 that’s as small as a stick, you looked like a starving African kid.
At that point I fell to my knees, screaming and crying how I was sorry. I was sorry for everything I said to you, Mom. I was sorry for all the things I did wrong, maybe if I just behaved you wouldn’t have left. You might have stayed. I wanted to tell you, Mom, I forgive you. But forgiving myself is something I could never do.
-Markayla, 17, Los Angeles
Thank you to The Beat Within for sharing this piece.