Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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English and Journalism
Western Voices, English 100, First Place
Hope for Tomorrow
Kyaira Foster (Professor, Dr. Jacqueline Wilson-Jordan)
Live to another Day
“MOM, HELP ME, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST HELP ME!” I screamed over and over again.
I was laying at my mother’s feet with tears running down my face shouting for mercy, but she just sat there with her head down.
My mom was the type of woman who didn’t wait for anything, especially when it came to men. It seems like every time she would meet a man, she would give them her all without truly developing real feeling for him. My mom met this tall, dark-skinned man with a perfect smile; his name was Steve. She thought and believed that he was the one. She married him with no care in the world what anyone else thought about him, not even me.
“MOM, HELP ME, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST HELP ME!” I cried.
“Bring your ass here, Kyaira,” Steve said.
“What did I do? What did I do?” I cried and screamed. When it came to Steve, it didn’t matter what I had done or what I didn’t do; it was the fact that I was there and that I wasn’t his child.
He grabbed my hair and pulled me to the ground. Twisting and turning, screaming and shouting, I began to fight for my life, kicking and screaming repeatedly. Regardless of what I did to protect myself, it wasn’t good enough and only made him more violent. He grabbed my arms and pinned me to the ground. He began to hit me with his thick, long, leather belt with its medium-sized holes that sucked into my skin. No matter how many times he hit me, it never got old; it seemed like every time his arm came down, just the sight would drain my energy and slowly break me down. When there was nothing else I could do, I just lay there balled up while he was on top of me, punching me on the side of my stomach. Nothing else mattered at that point; I was just hoping and wishing that I would live to see another day.
Pain throughout the Night
When my mom divorced Steve and moved to Ohio, I finally thought that I would be safe, but I was so wrong. It seems like at every stage of my life it only got worse.
When I first met James, my mom’s new boyfriend, there was something about him that wasn’t right. I mean, he seemed to be a cool guy, but the way he looked at me made me think otherwise. He would stare at me and would constantly call me beautiful. As time went on, I just got used to it and overlooked it.
One night, my mom and James had just drunk a couple of beers, which was unusual because my mom didn’t drink, but at an early age I learned that a man could convince my mom to do anything. We laid blankets down in the middle of the living room so that we could watch some scary movies in front of the TV. As the movie got toward the end, I noticed that everyone was asleep, so I lay there thinking that I would fall asleep eventually. Right before I was about to fall into a deep sleep, I could feel something enter my clothes, trying to touch me in the places that Grandma had once told me were “precious.” My body began to stiffen up in the approach, trying to protect itself. It would have been so easy to yell, scream and wake up my mom. But I was so young and scared that I said nothing; I just lay there powerless, allowing him to touch me.
Once I thought James was asleep, I whispered in my mom’s ear to come to the bathroom. I was so scared and shaken up that I couldn’t understand what had happened. I gently got up off the floor in a stiff and slow movement because I didn’t want James to see or hear me get up. As I walked into the bathroom, I just collapsed. I sat in front of the closed door, holding my mouth so that no one would hear me cry. When my mom finally came to the bathroom and saw my facial expression, she just began to question me.
“What’s wrong with you, Kyaira? What happened? Just talk to me Girl!” she said.
But every time I opened my mouth to tell her what happened, I just began to stumble over my words.
“Momma, Ja-James touched me,” I said.
“What do you mean Kyaira; did he hit you? Just open your mouth and tell me what happened!” she said.
“No mom, he didn’t hit me! He touched me,” I said. Right then and there, I knew that she was going to make me tell her every detail, what exactly had happened.
If that’s what she wanted, I was going to give it to her.
As I told her, she shook her head, as if she didn’t believe me. No matter how many tears fell from my face, she didn’t want to hear it. She told me that I was lying about him and that I just wanted them to break up.
After everything that happened between James and me, my mom continued to see him, and so did I. I had to suck it up and do the best that I could to survive that pain through the nights.
Day after day, I looked over my shoulder waiting for his next move. He would look me in my eyes and give an evil smile, as if he owned me. James knew that there was nothing I could do or say that would make my mom leave him. So, in fact, he did own me, mentally and physically.
In most homes a bedroom is a place that you feel most comfortable and feel at ease in, but for me it was a place of protection. So I thought!
One night, I was lying in my bed asleep, and I could just feel a presence in my room. As I lay there trying to wake myself up, I noticed James lying right beside me. My heart began to pound, and my body started to tighten up. I wanted to start crying because I didn’t know what he was about to do to me. Regardless of the fear that I as feeling, I knew that this time I was not about to lay there and let this man take advantage of me.
I jumped out of the bed so fast, careless of his reaction. I began to run to my mom’s room thinking that maybe if she saw for herself then perhaps she would finally believe me, but I was wrong. As I entered my mom’s room, there she sat wide awake.
“MOMMA! CAN YOU GET JAMES; HE’S IN MY ROOM!” I said.
“Girl he’s drunk” she said.
My heart fell to the ground because I realized that my mom knew that James was in my room and she did NOTHING!
Just before the Sun Rose
What is my purpose in life? I asked that question to myself every day.
I hated myself; I saw myself as a piece of trash that nobody loved or cared about…hopeless.
I sat in my room every night crying for hours for no particular reason.
One night, I couldn’t take it any longer; I was so fed up and frustrated about the past that my future didn’t mean much to me anymore. I sat there writing to my family.
“I Love you guys so much. I’m sorry that I can’t be there to tell you guys in person, but I just can’t take it any longer. I am angry at the world and can’t help but hate myself for letting the world destroy me. I have no hope or strength to carry on in this cold cruel world.”
Right before I put the blade in my wrist, I asked myself, “what is really holding you back?”
Why let your mother’s mistakes and sick and disrupting men take over your life? I asked myself.
Why would you let them have so much control over your life?
I realized that I wasn’t in the wrong; it was those sick bastards that were at fault, and I shouldn’t feel bad or be held down based on their mistakes. I was somebody, and no matter if no one loved me, I loved myself and that’s the only thing that mattered.
With a new perception on myself and life, I put down that blade and never looked backed.