Friday, May 04, 2007

The Year that changed my life

The year was 1993. I will never forget it because it changed the course of my life. Not to say there aren't other years that have had an impact but 1993 instantly made the world as I saw it, look differently.

It started in January when my innocence was taken from me. I no longer viewed my body as my own. The love and pride I had for it was gone.

My mom broke up with the only man that had been like a father figure to me. My dad was incarcerated and he had been there through it all. After 10 years of knowing him, loving him, laughing, and playing with him, he was gone.

I also lost one of my best friends. Growing up I hung out with 2 girls, Taka and Nilsa. We were tight, inseparable. We dressed alike, was always with each other and was only a year apart. Nilsa with the oldest, followed by me, and then Taka. I followed Nilsa to Julia Richman for high school and it went downhill from there. Long story short, Nilsa was no longer a part of our group of 3 anymore. Everyone was to blame and we were young, and dumb but it hurt like heck.

The relationship with my mom changed. She met a guy who eventually became my sister's father. I could not stand him from the day I met him. I don't know if it was female intuition but there was something about him I just did not like. Of course my mom dismissed my feelings and I saw her change. For the first time I did not see her as the strong woman I once thought she was. She seemed blinded by her "like" for this new guy. I was still coming to terms with the fact that Winston was gone. It had only been 5 months since they had broken up and here she was falling all over herself for this dude. Then she hit me with a brick upside my head, she was pregnant and the guy was now incarcerated for a few months. What? Who is this woman? Why would she stoop so low? She changed, we argued, we did not get along, all the respect I had was gone.

Then one day I woke up and it was quiet. Way too quiet for NY. The phone ring, it was my best friend Taka telling me that one of our friends was killed. He was sitting on a bench after playing basketball and someone came up behind him and shot him in the head. He was dead in a pool blood. From my window I could see the basketball court. I saw the police tape, and a cloth draped over a body and it was stained in blood. He was killed at the basketball court I played at, in broad daylight. That was the last straw for me. I realized how cold and heartless people could be. He was young, a little older than me and he was now dead. From then on I could not walk on that court. I was always looking over my shoulders afraid someone would shoot me in the head. I could not sleep with the back of my head facing the window anymore. I began to sleep with pillows surrounding my head hoping they would protect me. I was scared all the time. I would jump anytime I heard a firecracker or a car tire backfire. I was only 14 years old and having a nervous breakdown.

1993 was the year that I left New York for South Carolina and never looked back. I still love my city and visit every year but I could never live there again. Q

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