Guarded Hearts

By: L.A. Corvill

As I sit here and read the gravestone, I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that he is not here beside me anymore. When I woke up at the hospital, my mother told me Sky had died. I didn’t even shed a tear, because I didn’t accept it then and I sure don’t accept it now. Why God? Why him and not me? I was the one that was supposed to be driving that night. I was the one that brought the alcohol and drugs. I’m the bad guy, the reckless one. No matter how many times I screamed up at God, I never got an answer. It seems unreal to me that after all the fucked up shit I pulled, I’m the one walking away. I’m sorry, Sky, for not being the friend and brother you deserved. I’m sorry for not being the one that let you off the hook. Instead I persuaded you into doing all the dumb stunts I could come up with. You used to say I was born a leader. I wish I hadn’t led you into this. The guilt of this consumes every thought, every emotion that courses through my body. People say that it was an unavoidable accident, because when it’s your time it’s your time, but I know the truth.

Sky’s death will always be the only mistake I cannot correct with my parent’s money.

Why is it that when you are about to go through a major life change, you start thinking about specific moments in your past? Like right now that my life is about to make a 360, I am thinking about my mother. I am thinking about how love and hate became her only purpose in life; the love for herself and her hate towards me, a hate that shaped my life in the best and worst possible ways. I learned that you don’t need love to live your life, but you need love to see the light in life.

Mi mama came to the United States illegally when she was around fifteen years old to chase the American Dream; to work and make enough money to help out her family of ten back in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Through life-changing circumstances she came to live in one of the largest cities in Texas, Houston, where she found the only job that would hire an illegal immigrant; a maid to a wealthy family. She loved where she worked. She had never seen so much grandeur and luxury. It was a place where her dreams and aspirations became a reality until they were shattered by the couple’s son, my father.

In her young naïve mind, she gave her heart to a privileged young man who showed her in those few stolen moments what dreams were built on. But he also had dreams and aspirations of his own, which didn’t included marrying the help, and especially becoming a father at an age when he was still sowing his wild oats. The rich didn’t marry the help. The help didn’t get a 1.5 carat ring or a castle, they got a brass ring full of keys and, if lucky, Sunday’s off.

So to say that my mother became bitter due to my father knocking her up at eighteen and not giving a shit was an understatement. She cried and threatened my father until his parents threatened her with deportation. She stopped her raging then only because she couldn’t go back home in disgrace since her parents were very religious and set in their old ways. She knew they would never accept her back while pregnant, and she had already tasted the American life.

Homeless, pregnant, and alone, she ended up in a poor trailer park where other illegal immigrants were housed. She rented a small two bedroom trailer that had seen better days, where she thought she was only going to be there until she gave birth, but she became acquainted with all the vices America had to offer. And her pit stop became her cage.

Once I was born I became her punching bag, her outlet to all the grief, hurt and anger towards my father and his family. She hated looking at me, hated that I reminded her of him, of his contempt. She believed getting pregnant would trap him into becoming hers, and that she would get her Cinderella-like happily ever after. It did the opposite; it pushed him away from her, so she regretted not having an abortion when the chance presented itself. She had assumed that once my father held me in his arms he would want us to become a family, but something that her naïve mind didn’t get was that she was one of many.

During my infancy, her physical and verbal abuse became a norm in our house. She never missed an opportunity to hit me or curse at me, never once considering that I was her child, that I needed a mother’s love to nurture, and the warmth of a home. I was a child afraid of the one person that was supposed to guide me in life, the one to protect me from monsters in the dark, not become one of them. There were no rainbows or unicorns in my house, no cookie baking nights like the ones I saw at Mandy’s house, because I was nothing but an unwanted bastarda. She never cared if I was cold, hungry or scared. All she cared about was her next fix. As I got older, her drunken rages became worse, and the only thing that I had was Mandy, my best friend in the whole world, to help me through the darkest days. She gave me hope on the days where there was no food or light. When the parade of men passing through my mother’s thighs started wandering towards me, she gave me a place to stay. My mother blamed me for that too.

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