071717__rock collector__

Are there coincidences in life? A few days ago I was talking to my Uber driver about my fiancé. I told him how challenging being in a relationship was and he told me that marriage was worse. I laughed because I knew he was joking and he did too. I asked him about his family and he told me he had happily married his high school sweetheart at a young age and that he had six children (all girls!). I was amazed and told him “Wow, that’s crazy! How old are they?” His daughters ranged from ages 2-24 years old, which is incredible to me (I’m one of 7 and we range from 20-38).

He asked me about my parents and I told him that my mom had passed away when I was 11 and that I’d never met my dad. He looked me in the eyes and apologized. I could tell he truly felt for me. I told him it was okay. It was a long time ago. My mom had made her decisions, some not so good. But that I couldn’t judge her because at the time she thought that she was doing what was right. A lot of those decisions hurt our family. But it’s all in the past now.

Out of nowhere, my Uber driver began crying. This man, a big Puerto Rican who’s head almost touched the roof of his car , couldn’t control himself, and he apologized for being so emotional. I told him, “It’s okay, we’re all emotional… I cry all the time…”

He confessed to me that he had started selling cocaine when he was 11. That he had never stopped, even after being married and having kids. He also told me that he never told his wife. He felt ashamed. When he decided to stop selling drugs for fear of what could happen to his family, he found a job as a cook and left that life behind. When his wife questioned him about why their income and spending had to decrease so drastically, he made up an excuse about his work hours and pay. But he felt bad. Bad for his choice, maybe because he saw himself in my mom. 

My Uber driver was 43 years old. He retired as a sous chef and now drove for Uber for extra income. My mom died at 42. I don’t know what triggered his emotion. I’m not sure what people think at 42. But one day, I’ll find out. 

White rocks__pt 2__

I don’t know when my mom started selling drugs. Or why. She worked at a rock quarry getting paid around $800 a week. The rock quarry field was no joke. My mom would leave the house at 5 or 6am and drive 20-30 min from Cordes Lakes to Mayer, AZ (another little town where my elementary school was located). All the workers would meet up by the mountain or at the “office” (a single trailer located at the entrance of the property). 

Their job was to blow up the side of a mountain and collect the best chunks of flagstone to take down to the property. There, they would use 40lb sledgehammers to cut down those chunks of stone into smaller stones. My mom would stack these smaller stones on a pallet as if it was a puzzle. 

When the layers of stone were high enough she would wrap the entire cube, making sure to catch the edges of the pallet, in chicken wire. With a metal tube she’d twist each edge of the wire to tighten it around the whole thing. Another worker, or my mom, would use the forklift to move the pallet to another side of the property where all the completed pallets were picked up and shipped off.

That was her day job…. what happened at night was different. 

The most drug activity I can remember happened at the red, white and blue trailer. People started knocking on the door more and more. My mom had more “friends” that would visit. We’d also go visit a lot of mom’s “friends”. I don’t really remember good memories of that time. That was the time that on different occasions someone tried to kill my mom. That was the time the police raided our house and my sisters and I woke up to guns pointed at our faces. 

As we were escorted out of the trailer, I looked around for my mom and dad. I don’t remember if we said anything, if I looked my mom in the eyes. Or if my sisters or I cried. Both my parents were handcuffed, sitting on the floor with their hands behind their backs. My sisters and I were taken to foster homes. Karla and Rocio went to one home, while Lili and I went to another. I’m not sure how long I was there. But that year I was late to 5th grade every day because my foster family would have to drive an hour from the outskirts of Prescott, AZ to Mayer Elementary to drop me off at school (they had other foster kids to drop off before me).

Eventually, my mom was released from prison. And we were returned to her. But everything continued where it left off. I saw the white rocks once after that. Two little pebbles wrapped tightly in seran wrap. My mom used to hide those pebbles in some of our stuffed animals. She’d hide cash in the other ones. 

Countless times the police were called to the house, countless times people would push around my mom. 

That was a huge part of my childhood. I’m not sure if the drugs led to the rape. Or if it wouldn’t have mattered either way… I have a lot of questions about that time. About the details behind everything that happened. Why my mom chose to work at such a dangerous job. Why she chose to start selling (or maybe helping my dad sell) drugs. Why she would let people beat the shit out of her – both physically and emotionally. I guess I’ll never know what was going on in her head. All I can do is focus on the moments I’m creating and the effects it’ll have in my life.

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