Of course I changed their names a little bit, cuz you never know when a gang banger is gonna need a little WordPress reading time:
“Mike (michael) berelli, barelli? Gang name Tick Tock. If anything happens to me. Also G.G and Spook (gang names) will know. This is not funny or meant as a joke what-so-ever. Be careful who you befriend.”
So how does a girl who grew up in the suburbs come to know–and feel her life threatened by–people like these?
My sister had everything. A comfortable home in a quiet neighborhood. Hair the color of black cherries that intoxicated every male she met. A curvaceous build that kept them intoxicated. A mind that allowed her to graduate both high school and an RN program with a 4.0 without even trying.
But it wasn’t enough for her. It never was. She always needed more fun more men more booze more drugs. More more more more more.
And in her quest for more, she lost everything.
She’s gone from having an amazing six-figure job to no job at all, from owning a beautiful house to rooming with someone she met at rehab in a shady duplex next to the river park where dealers meet their patrons and men on the dl meet up with the guys who answered their Craigslist ads. She’s exhausted the money she cashed out of her life insurance, her retirement, and her son’s college fund (without telling him, of course–he went to take money out for textbooks and found all the money was gone). She’s lost her health and spends more time in hospitals than anywhere else because of all the damage decades of extreme drinking and drug abuse have done to her body.
And she’s lost her soul, too. She has no conscience; like a sociopath she hurts others and feels nothing, but does pretend to feel it when apologizing is advantageous to her. Like when my dad went to rescue her and she turned on him, for instance. She was at a seedy casino one night and called my dad to pick her up. (She needs to be picked up from casinos a lot; I’m pretty sure she’s turning tricks.) She was saying goodbye to a man when my father arrived, and she had nothing but a towel, not even shoes. He put her into the car and screamed at her the entire way home. Indignant because he screamed at her, she refused to get out of the car when they got home, and in revenge she called 911. To report that her father had raped her. Cops arrived. Of course no charges were pressed, of course the police knew she was lying because they’ve responded to calls related to her many, many, many times before. In fact, they always send a supervisor out whenever there’s a call with her name or an address she’s associated with because she’s been flagged in their system as trouble. They’d even responded to a rape call related to her before (that one was when she had to stay at a women’s shelter one night and got so mad at my parents for not letting her stay at their house instead that she claimed two men raped her there. At a women’s shelter. Where there are no men). They took her to the rape crisis center . . . and she didn’t like it there. So she called my dad, sobbed falsely apologetic tears, and asked him to come pick her up.
This is my sister.
I saw her in July, and I knew then that I would never see her again. The most surreal part was that I didn’t feel any sadness about that at all.
Last night I got a text that some gang banger is responsible if she goes missing. A few years ago I would have been fearful. A few years ago I would have called the police to report what she said.
Today, though, I respond differently. Today I know that she had everything–and more. She had a family who supported her through her most horrific deeds. And it’s been horrific. My niece and nephew have lived through the most vile of things, the worst of which was seeing one of their mother’s drug-crazed boyfriends threaten to kill their mother but then turn the gun on himself, pulling the trigger and destroying their innocence as the gunshot rang through the house. It’s been horrific . . . and through it all she had support from her family. Even when she made up that awful story about my dad, he went to the crisis center to pick her up when she called “apologetically” in the middle of the night.
Today I realize that she is the captain of her own fate. She is the one who had everything and traded it in. She is the one who chose not to take the second, fifth, fifteenth chances she had in this life. She is the captain of her own fate, even if that fate is the wrath of a gang banger she pissed off.