Runnaway BAD BOY
PART 1: MY PROBLEM
It felt like the worse day in my life. I was grounded by my parents. It was not for a day or even two, it was an entire week. That felt like eternity. I was contemplating on running away but where should I go I thought. I would soon end up back with my parents after being hungry, dirty, furthermore the cops would eventually wonder what a sixteen year old was doing out in the late nights on the streets which could add more problems for me. I looked outside my bedroom window and it was not just a bad day for me, it was pouring rain and that depressed me even further; gloom was all around me. I began to think why did I swear at my mom, why did I tell her those hurtful things, what had became of me. Then the situation went higher up, to my dad. When he came in from work, my mom told him how I acted by a simple thing of not taking out the trash. My actions were not because of the issue regarding the trash, there were definitely other interferences within my mind. The trash was the object of an issue but the real problem was my act of uncooperativeness based on other symptoms. A deeper analysis would show that it was my attitude which was triggered from my best friend’s situation.
My best friend was Tony Atkinson. We grew up together and did so many things together. I felt that I could confide in him with anything. He had all the answers. Somehow he put some calmness within me in all the things I thought about. I couldn’t rely on my parents to tell me about the other parts of life, Tony was like my mentor. Well one day it changed. He was to be no longer with me to do all those things. One morning his mom found him stone cold in bed. He was to go to school that day. My friend Tony had overdosed on a serious drug. Tony and I would often get “high” after school. It was normal for us. Some of our friends would see us walking out the school together and knew what we were up to. However I felt Tony was getting too much into it. He started doing it from once then twice a week and then he increased his quota to four and five time a week, double it in the evenings and weekends. It surprised me one day that Tony had a small jobs at a retail store. It was a part time job but that only added to his means to buy more drugs. He was fired after a month and then I heard he was selling stuff from his home to buy more drugs. Tony then got into more trouble with the authorities and his parents him committed to a juvenile intuition. When he got out I was still friends with him. My mom had advised me to stop seeing Tony, but I protested. She and I would argue every time she heard Tony’s name. Situations like when I would be on the phone with him or when he would arrive some distance away from the house and sometimes she would sneak behind the house and see us talking and before you know it there were arguments and issues to deal with. Life was becoming a real pain with my family. My dad played a little part in advising me also against Tony, but my mom was much more insistent. When I heard the news of Tony’s death it devastated me. I couldn’t think straight. It then stressed me out and I felt mad at the world and God; no good God would take him away, we were just kids. As my attitude got worse the situations with my mom were amplified. I couldn’t do anything right. I threw things around the house when we argued. I became irrational and even swore to the teachers at school; this got me suspended only to come back and do the same thing over again. I heard my mom and dad discussing to send me to a boy’s school that handle unruly kids. Soon I began taking some of my dad’s alcohol he had in a cabinet. I secretly took it at nights before going to bed. My mom began to suspect the alcohol going down faster than they had occasions to celebrate with it. I was questioned and I denied it all. It was not long afterwards other things began to snowball with more problems to come. One girl at school whom I dated began to drift away slowly from me. I liked her a lot and she too had an advice for me about my problems. Eventually her need to be me with me got weaker as time went on. She then grew tired waiting for me to change; she found another guy. I was so out of it that all my friends, even the ones that smoked casual weed told me that I had a serious addition problem with drugs and will soon end up like Tony. I denied that my addictions were serious and I knew I couldn’t argue anymore with anybody so I crept into my solitude world; I created a defensive shell, my attitude against the enemy. I didn’t care anymore. I decided to take fewer narcotic drugs but found out that I added alcohol to my repertoire. In my moment of sanity I was thinking that it won’t be long before the grim ripper come and get me like it did Tony.
PART 2: RUNNING AWAY
Then one day it happened. I was planning on it. I couldn’t take it anymore with my family, school and people that I knew who looked at me in a disparaging way. My dad had a little Strong-Hold Safe in his bedroom where he stashed all his important stuff in it, like money. I was planning in knowing the code to it. It took some time to get it. I had to be sneaky.
I asked my dad, “Suppose you drop dead dad, who’s going to know the combination to the safe to get it opened if you have it all in your mind?” He smiled at me, “Your mom knows it Andy”. Then I said, “What about me, don’t you trust me with it?” My dad looked at me, “You want me to give you an honest answer, the truth may hurt!” I knew what he meant. Then he continued, “I have the combination code in my wallet, with other important numbers should something happen to me or your mom”. Then I went, “Hmm!!”
The plan was to get his wallet which was not hard. However it took some time and patience. My parents entertained once a month at the pool side of our house with all their business and big shot friends. This was my opportunity to check his wallet that was located in a particular area in their bedroom. The opportunity came, got his wallet and found different numbers in a laminated card. Then I guess a code that had 34_L , 65_R, 45_L means the safe code combination. I wrote it down and put back his wallet. I didn’t care to take the $33 from his wallet when I knew there were more in the safe.
Two weeks passed and I was thinking and building courage to the point of doing it. I was nervous. Prior to doing it, I would mostly be in my room, do my chores and my mom would hardly ever ague with me. I obeyed and ignored all negativities. However, my thoughts ran deep; I knew my time will come when I will be far gone, long before she realizes it. I looked at her in a disdain way..I almost hated her. She had time for her rich phony friends that would come over and chat for hours but never had time to even ask how my day was at school. She used to be more loving and concerned when I was much younger but it’s been a long time since. The time I became a teenager, all of that was over. My feeling and assessment of it all was just compounded with animosity and maybe it was a waste of time to have even the slightest conversation which would end up in an argument. My dad was indifferent, he just commented when he had to by saying, “I’m glad you doing better Andy..just stay out of the drug scene” I would respond back, “Yes dad” He was definitely too busy anyway to have any real concern about me. I felt he was all about making money and hanging out with those he can use to climb up the cooperate ladder at his company he worked for.
My chance finally came a few days later. My mom and dad had both went to the movies that night. I went into their room and smiled at the safe that was built into the wall of their large clothes closet. It took a couple attempts to get the combination right but the Safe finally opened. My heart was racing like a freshly caught rabbit. I opened the safe; there were rolls and piles of paper. I couldn’t see any money. I saw a bunch of papers that look like little diplomas, they were stock certificates. It had thousands of dollars printed on it. That wasn’t going to do me any good. Then there were more paper that had numbers and seems to be codes and a series of signatures with bank names on it that says “bonds” and there were the other stuff that I didn’t care to check. I looked for the money feverishly. Finally there was a bottom drawer I didn’t notice. It was dark in the closet so I barely saw that along with my growing frustration. I pulled out the drawer. I saw eight stack of money bounded together, all of which were $100 bills. I didn’t count them. I decided to take one stack of the $100 bills and leave the rest. I had a little conscience left. I thought, by taking only one maybe my dad would forget and think it was only seven he had and not eight stacks. I found out later that each stack was five thousand dollars. Getting what I needed I then locked the safe and make sure that everything was in place.
I lay in my bed, and I thought to myself, $5-grand! Minutes later I packed my backpack with only the essentials and called a taxi. I left a note on their bedroom door that I was leaving and not to bother call the cops because I will be long gone and out of the county by then. I made my move. I took a taxi and headed out, paid him a hundred dollars to take me forty miles out of town to the next Greyhound Bus Station. Being in California and in the city of San Francisco it was too north for everything. I didn’t care to go to Los Angles since I had a slew of relatives that would eventually find me but then again I wanted to go to a place that was more conducive to my personality. I thought, Nevada…Las Vegas…the night life..the casinos..the exotic women..the big spenders..all the happenings!! I could almost feel the excitement as I thought of it. I was told I was there with my family when I was four years old, I read about it, heard about it but now I felt the tingling in my nerves and could also feel stars in my eyes and for the first time in a long time I felt jubilant. I got on the bus after I was dropped off by the taxi and booked a one way passage headed straight to Las Vegas.
PART 3: MY TRIP
On the way to Las Vegas the bus stopped in to San Diego where I had to change buses. It only took fifteen minutes when I ran into a guy who would set me up with some real quality marijuana. I didn’t want to get too much but I needed to relax on the long trip. My contact was a black individual who persuaded me that he needed a tip to run and get the weed and then come back with it for the entire money. It so happens I wasn’t dealing with one guy but another one was looking at me in the terminal when I was discussing it with the contact. He had suspected that I had a lot of money carrying with me. The contact came back with the amount of marijuana I requested and we did the transaction behind a dark wall some distance away from the bus terminal. After getting the weed suddenly there was a rush attack on me. I was attacked by three of them. They were holding me down and searching my pockets, tearing my shirts to rob me of money and weed. In the process of it, I was fighting off these guys as fists and leg kicks were firing in all directions. I managed to run away, bruised and battered but still with the weed. These thugs tried running after me but as I entered the bus terminal, with bright lights on them I got to see their faces better. They slowed their walk as I was some distance away. There were a lot older than I, somewhere in their thirties and looked like at least one of them served some serious time in prison from the way he appeared. However they were not finished with me. I had their weed and all they got was the $20 tip for the runner. Finally my bus was up to be boarded. I made a small conversation with the security guard then I quickly got onto the bus. The bus drove off as I looked out of the window and saw them swearing among themselves. I had the weed but not without being banged up. Nevertheless most of my money was in my backpack located in the baggage compartment of the bus. I came away with a swollen eye, a shirt that was torn with some blood stains on it as some of the passengers in the bus gawked at me in awe.
Finally I could see the bright lights of Las Vegas from about ten miles as it glowed in the dark night sky with the big bus motoring down on the highway. I was happy to be in one piece as my destination was near. It dawned on me to call my mom and dad but I hadn’t the nerve. Acting bold and being like a bad guy in San Francisco was nothing compared to dealing with thugs on the street. I survived round one but I was afraid that there were more to come. I checked into a modest price motel. It was very cheap, so cheap that some of the guest looked like ex-cons making the motel look like a prison compound. Even with the amount of money I had, still I didn’t want to spend it on expensive things when I could get it for much cheaper like a motel. I looked around the room, and all it had was a slightly smelly bed and a shaky old TV. I thought of my room at home and a simple thing like that I began to miss. At least it was safe for me. I never felt as lonely as I sat on the bed and wonder. I thought I had the worst day of my life when Tony passed away. I told myself, things could only get better. But then I re-thought: what a stupid cliché, no one knows the future…we’ll how about things could get worse! I spent three days in the hotel and went into the casinos to enjoy what was fun but it took much more money. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and was able to meet brief acquaintances who mostly wanted to know what a young guy like me was doing alone in this big city. I enjoyed myself, it was fabulous. I was able to buy drinks where people didn’t even ask me my age. They believed me when I said I was 21, besides I made enough friends with the people who would buy me drinks. No one seems to care. However I didn’t have a plan yet for Vegas. All I wanted was to see the city and enjoy it and whatever came next. Well on day number three in the motel something happened is what came next. It was 3-AM when I heard a rustling among the large garbage containers some distance where my window was. I awoke from the disturbance, got up from bed, turned on the light and looked outside the window. I saw two guys lifting another person to throw him in the big garbage container. One of the men saw me. Apparently it was a dead guy whom I thought they killed and was trying to dispose of him. I quickly turned off the lights and got into bed. Moments later a loud banging sound was on the door. I decided not to respond. Then a large male voice sounded.
“Mother fucker you better open the door or we’ll break the fucker down!”
I responded, “Ok, ok, I’m coming!”
I opened the door. There were two very large white males. One had a pony tail and the other looked like a beat up rock star with long hair. As I opened the door the one with the pony tail walked forward, pushed me onto the bed. I sat there as they stood over me. The long hair guy then shouted in my ear.
“Tell me bitch, tell me, you didn’t see us do anything..if you know what I mean!?”
“No no, I didn’t see anything. I just heard some noise and I thought I would get up and check it out!” I told them with fear in my voice.
The other long hair guy then spoke again, “I think you saw everything, we’ll have to kill you like the stiff we did. We’ll do this one for free Frank!”
The one with the pony tail then said, “Stand up”
I got up from the bed and stood up.
“How old are you?” he curiously asked.
“Sixteen, you should still be suckling your mama, where you from?”
“San Francisco sir”
“San Francisco!!” he said with a short laugh, “isn’t that where all the fagots from? Answer me boy!”
“I suppose so sir. Please I didn’t mean any harm!” I said stammering a bit with fear in my eyes.
Then the other one with the long hair spoke.
“I bet he has a tight ass Frank. You go first!”
I don’t know what to do now __be totally hysterical and yell for help or take whatever they gave. I then felt that if they took advantage of me maybe at least I will live.
Then the phone rang on the one with the pony tail. He silently went a few feet away. Then some minutes later he walked back to me and looked at me inches away from my face.
“Look here young bitch. You get to live, but you better leave this room right now..I mean NOW!”
Then with a sudden relief in my heart, I felt almost fee and not captivated by fear.
“Yes sir, I have no problem with that!”
I packed my bags and left in a hurry.
I walked and walked for almost an hour along the Las Vegas strip. All the flashing light and attractions had no more of an effect on me. Being without my family, lonely and fearful made me feel lonely and discouraged as this feeling emerged. I sat on a bus stop bench. I began to shiver, not of the cold night but of the experiences that I was having. My lips began to quiver and I wished my mom was here to nag me to come back home. I wished my dad would be the one to tell me how illogical my actions were. Tears began to form as I continue to shiver. One old homeless woman stopped and noticed me. “You ok, boy!” I looked at her all disheveled but contented with her problems. I responded, “I’m ok ma’am, just a little cold” She looked at me in disbelief and moved on.
The next day I got a hotel, in fact from that point on I manage to stay at a few hotels that were better. I searched into my backpack and found out that I blew a thousand dollars in one week. Most of it was getting hotels that were better than the one I had that harrowing experience with; they were a little more expensive but a lot safer. I made a few friends along the way but it was all short lived as most were just visiting Las Vegas. After frequenting the casinos and attending shows and events it wasn’t long afterwards that I acquired a lady of the night, a professional prostitute in a actual brothel just outside of Las Vegas. The ladies there were very clean and friendly. I told them that I was 21, had to sign a guest list and there was a deal for first timers. The place they were in was very exotic, it looked very oriental and the setting was almost like a botanical garden on the inside and out. I admired it as I walked in, amazed at its architecture. The ladies there would not have intercourse with a man until he took a bath. I entered a large wooden tub that could house about twenty people which replicated a Jacuzzi with spraying water. One girl scrubbed and rubbed me down. Afterwards I chose a girl, the youngest there by my choice. With all the works, a dining and a friendly conversation, it was a mere $1500. Despite it taking its toll on my financial inventory, I felt I needed it. The reality soon hit me. I had to think of what should I do next. Six weeks later I had three hundred dollars and I still had no plan. I decided to look for jobs. I eventually found out that jobs for me were just about zero to none in this desert town. Even McDonald’s Restaurant hired locals and with only a California’s id, it depressed me further that I couldn’t even find the light at the end of the tunnel. Being young, having no work experience and now low on money I was soon to hit the bottom. In fact the bottom was opening up and I was soon to fall through it; the feeling that I will be totally living on the streets.
PART 4: HOMELESS
I decided to backtrack to California in an attempt to get a decent job but not to go back to my parents. I had enough for one week and I went as far as the middle of California in a town called Bakersfield. This area was purely agricultural. I had barely enough money to get on a bus half way, hitchhiked a little more and then was lucky to have had an old famer who was transporting chickens in his truck as I sat at the back on a long drive to Bakersfield. Stone broke, I had no place to stay. I would loiter outside liquor stores and supermarkets looking for handouts. That was not what I planned for. It felt depressingly ironical but I looked back to the times where I may give a beggar money. I felt ashamed to know that my mother and father who made a decent income would be shocked to know what I was doing. I pondered the thought, “Could my life be any worse!?” I felt that I should die and join Tony. I shouted towards the sky as people looked at me like I was crazy, “God, why don’t you kill me, take me away from this HELL like you did Tony, what are you waiting for!?” As I think more and more of my problems I was drifting more and more towards being crazy. At nights I lay alone behind the streets or on the side of buildings, I would start mumbling to myself. I realize that I was the problem to all my problems. I made bad decisions, I was selfish and I didn’t care. But worse of all, I hurt my family. I was going to the point of no return; no return to where I really needed to be. No return to my family or to even to let them know my state. I was so ashamed of myself it would take a miracle to make these changes, I thought.
I pan-handled enough money one day and tried calling home but when my mom answered the phone I hung up, I lost my nerve. Then a few days I called again. My twelve year old sister answered the phone. I wanted to say something, I paused. Then Melissa said, “Is that you Andy…Andy!?” Then I hung up. I believed somehow she knew it was me. This made me think again and again. I cherished her voice in my head as if she was talking right next to me. I wanted now to go home but I was too ashamed. I kept tripping over my pride; it was still strong enough to keep me away from my family. I began to give up. I cried alone. I looked a mess. I was dirty, stink and hungry. I would go into supermarkets and little stores and take stuff like fruits, sodas and small items to survive the day. I would be asked to leave before the police came. In the night I tried to sleep in the big Greyhound Bus station to stay warm but eventually the security guards would escort me out of it.
I really screwed up my life and hadn’t a clue on how to fix it. I should be still at school I thought, I wondered about that and my friends, I missed all of that terribly. I had lost time in school as well and was missing out being a teenager. Then one day I was so hungry that I stole a mango from a vendor who was selling them along an open market stand on a busy street. I loiter around this area frequently since I can pick up small things to eat easily. The man that I stole from saw me take the mango and he didn’t say a word or run after me. Then after eating it I went back to try to steal another one. He came out behind the shed he was selling his items and gave me a mango in one hand and a drink in the other.
“Amigo, I know how it is, you are hungry si!?”
“Yes I’m hungry and don’t have no money”, I said with a tired depressed tone.
“Si, but you are also dirty!” He said in his best English.
Then he went on to say..
“I tell you this, if you come every day, I will give you a meal. Is Mexican but I look at you and you are very skinny. I feel sorry for you. You will die. This is Mexican area, I see you are not used to it”
“You’re right, I wish I was home”
“You are runaway, si. You must go back or you die” he said as he looked up to me with some concern.
“I can’t sir. I have no money besides my family will not take me back. I did many bad things”
“Ah, you’re a bad boy!”
He paused and looked at me as he assessed my demeanor.
“I will do this for you because I believe you” He said, “I will take you to my home and you meet my familia. If my wife approves you can stay a few days. You need to clean up and get fatten”
“Oh, you will do this for me!?” I said with a surprise.
“Yes, I am Mexican, we do this for people we care about. They don’t have to be family. I am Christian also. It makes me feel, ah si..what the word.. good”
The man immediately closed up his shop and told me his name was Miguel. He didn’t have a car but before taking off on a four mile trek on foot to his home we packed a large straw basket, the size of a thirty gallon trash bin. We packed it with fruits and vegetables. He instructed me to lift it up from behind him as he strap the basket with two sets of chords around his waist and shoulders. He took the heavy basket on his back which looked at least fifty pounds as we set out for his home. He said he did that five or six days a week. When he was eight he was working in the fields with his father and did this type of work by carrying produce on his back with a handmade basket strapped to his body. Miguel came over the border illegally and that was twenty years ago and he is still illegal; he’s ignorant of the fact of all these years that he could be documented as legal. He has a wife whom he brought from Mexico. She was fourteen years old and he was eighteen when they met. He and his wife was caught and sent back several times back to Mexico but they had the patience to wait for a year or two more so they can save money to pay someone or a group to escort them back to America. He told me that he loved Mexico but other than extreme poverty, the people in charge made life for the poorer people unbearable as they are often corrupt and brutally dishonest. Miguel would go on to say that if one doesn’t have money and one has a young daughter then the poor people would often have their children sacrifice favors to pay debts and so on. Then there were other evils like the drugs lords who said that they will put money into the town and help with law and order. The drug lords came and used the poor people as pawns for their own deals. For example, they would let the poor people transport drugs across the border, sacrificing their lives. Then soon the drugs dealers were transformed to the police department. The police department whom the Mexican government didn’t pay sufficiently succumb the drug dealers huge promises and benefits as most individuals in the police force became part of the drug regime. Many little towns in Mexico had this problem. Eventually the honest and mostly the young people who had enough resources and “guts” took their chances to actually leave and go north of the border, America. He said he didn’t want to be caught up in the illegal business, so he worked hard, came to America and stared a family. Some of the Mexicans were not so lucky. Being poor and hungry myself, I told him I totally understood it all. He told me he could empathize about me stealing food to survive but he went on to tell me that I have no clue on what poverty was.
He wife accepted me. She was a plump woman and had two daughters, 6 and 14 as well as a 10 year old son. They lived in a very poor area, predominated with Spanish speaking individuals. The apartment building appeared as a rundown area in a shanty town on the outskirts of Bakersfield. Many of the tenants there work the fields and some had small fruit and vegetable stands like Miguel. Miguel seems to make enough for his family and rent; he seems to always be positive and had the most encouraging laugh. His wife cooked Spanish dishes and sold it to some of the tenants in the building as well as to the workers on the plantation fields. She had a cart with the food she pushed along the side streets and many times her children would come along to help and possibly act as English interpreters.
I told Miguel the details of my story. He was shocked but he was positive about my future.
“You should pray to God first, Andy”, he said as he would often hold my hand and look me in his eyes. Being about 5-foot 10-inches at sixteen to Miguel 5-foot 3-inches, his bigness was in his spirit and positive attitude that slowly changed my outlook. He didn’t care of getting rich and to want to always thrive to be so successful like the world of my parents. He said he was happy being like he was. He said spiritual happiness was priceless and it was something that was earned within the soul.
As I continued to live with them I found out how at peace they were with each other and contented they were with their meager living. They enjoyed life on an equitable level as any Americans but with less money. They went to house parties, had weekend bar-b-q’s, celebrated their kids’ birthdays and went to their Mexican restaurants on the earning they saved up for a month. Miguel would take his family and even friends to many happy occasions and events. I soon began to forget about my problems and enjoy life with a new meaning.
PART 5: THE HARDEST DECISION
It was however Miguel that reminded me that I still had something to solve. Three months living with them I was getting comfortable as I began to pick up on the Spanish. His son and daughters who spoke English also taught me about their language. I began to read books and educate myself about the Spanish culture. As I socialize within the Spanish community my once American attitude change also and though some of the other Mexicans were at odds about me, they soon learn that I was their friend. A couple of months went by and Miguel approached me. I was helping him at his little stall in the market where he and I would bring the produce home. I tried to repay his hospitality by helping him in his business, baby sitting his kids and believe it or not, cleaning their home. I did things that I never would do even if my mom paid me. I felt I was changing, maybe even being matured.
Then Miguel said one day, “It’s time Andy”
“It’s time for what Miguel?” I asked curiously.
“It’s time you go back to the ones that love you Andy!”
“What, but I want to stay here with you guys. I love it here. It’s stress free and…”
He cut me short in the middle of a sentence.
“..and you need to let your parents know that you are still alive. You need to let the bad things go, you’re no longer a bad boy. You went to church with me several times and you said you prayed for forgiveness, now you need to test it, you will go back to your parents and ask for forgiveness”
I was sort of shocked what he told me but I felt it would be impossible for me to stoop to the point and ask for forgiveness. Besides, I thought that my dad will never forgive me; after all I stole five thousand dollars out of his House Safe. How was he going to forgive for that, along with all the other things? And my mom, she would tell me how rotten I was, that I am an addict and a thief. I didn’t believe that I could ever take the rejection. I explained that to Miguel. But Miguel continued.
“What I believe in is faith. With faith, I also believe in Andy, my gringo son. You are not the same person you were six months ago. I saw you cry one night. You didn’t see me. It was dark. Everyone was asleep that night and I was going to the bathroom, then I looked at you in the living room as you prayed with your hands clasped, kneeling across the sofa you slept on. You prayed. You cried tears. I saw you for a minute and then I walked away. I didn’t tell my wife but in my heart I felt, you changed. You have my forgiveness and god’s”
“You saw that!” I said, “ I did that a couple of times actually. Ok Miguel, you win. I will go but if it doesn’t work out I will be back”
“I believe you will be surprised!” he said with a huge smile.
This was the hardest decision of my life. Miguel bought me some new jeans to wear, a shirt and shoes. It was his farewell gift. The day had come for me to leave them. He hugged me like I was his son and I hugged his wife and kids. It was a precious moment. There was some sadness to see me leave. We all went to the bus depot; I got on the Greyhound bus, sat down by the window to look at them for one more time. I waved goodbye to them, they waved back as I saw the sad yet happy faces of Miguel and his family. Suddenly I began to shiver; my lips began to shake nervously. This time it was not fear, it was sheer sadness to leave. Then I notice a tear drop that drip from my face onto my cheek. I saw a Mexican woman look at me across her seat. I told her in Spanish, that was my family. She looked at me in disbelief but smiled and somewhat she understood what I meant.
Finally I arrived in San Francisco and took a cab to my parent’s house. I was so nervous but was prepared for the worse. My hands were shaking at the sides. The time was nine twenty at night when I slowly approach the front door. I could hear our dog as he began barking. It was as if he sensed my presence. It was a different bark, like a happy bark and a howl. My sister scolded him to be quiet but old Rusty wined and pawed at the front door. He knew I was there. My sister then opened the door to see what it was. I was just about to knock on the door when she opened it.
“Andy!!! Oh my god, mom, dad it’s Andy!”
Melissa who usually always have something smart and sarcastic to say ran out and hugged me.
“Andy, oh Andy, thank god you’re ok!”
“Of course I am, actually I’m a lot better”
My mom came at the door next and paused and then called my dad to come and see. Melissa stood there still her arms around me.
“You can release me now Melissa” I said, “I miss and love you too!”
Now I was prepared to see what my mom and dad had to say.
My mom stood there as if she was in shock. My dad rushed out of the door to me. He hugged me.
“We all missed you son. You can’t believe how happy I am at this point”
I looked at my mom standing at the edge of the door, and tears pouring out. My mom then tried to talk with tears in her eyes as she sniffles.
“At first we hated what you did” she said, “then we realized that we were less helpful to you when you needed us. We were not supportive and we didn’t understand your addiction problem. Me and you dad went to a councilor and got a lot of valuable advice. Andy, we all want you back and back to stay. We’ll fix this together!”
Then my dad had his hand on my shoulder like a buddy hug as we walked into the house.
“About the money”, he said.
I got a little apprehensive on what he was going to say as I nervously stared in his eyes. Then he spoke again.
“Forget it. That was a learning experience for you. I know you had to go through hell and you needed it to help you along the way”
“Yes dad, thanks. And by the way, I don’t do drugs and am not any more of an alcoholic. I have a very good friend whom you may like to meet and could tell you all about it”
“What’s his name?” my dad asked.
“His name is Miguel”
“Miguel?! My dad said, “Miguel!”
“Yes dad and he’s Mexican and he is my new best friend”, I said with an affirm tone.
My dad smiled, “Of course! I’m just asking my prejudicial son!”
From that point on, I believed in my heart that there was a total rebirth of my character. The experience I had was not all in vain. Maybe I need that experience to shake me up about life and reality, maybe also God, karma, or call it what you like but all of that I went through somehow I wasn’t destined to have the same faith as Tony. It was amazing but apart from me changing, I found a definite change in my family’s attitude; I realize that my parents had always loved me. However they needed to have been more proactive in my dilemma when I needed them for support and help but now it’s different. It seems that the tender years of a teenager are like a nervous finger on a gun’s trigger..we could go off at anytime! We get upset easily, we think and revolve things over and over in our minds to find the logic in it all, we challenge authority because we hate being controlled as we begin the psychological transition from a child to an adult, we cannot handle certain rejections and are overly concerned about our appearances, but we have no idea how to handle it all; in consequence, our hormones are like atomic particles bouncing profusively with an inability to settle to a normal state. For now I’m contented with my life. If there was any miracle to be said, it was the presence of Miguel in my life. It took a stranger like Miguel to put the fire out in me and for me to see that there was still hope. I was given a second chance, one that I will make use to the fullest.