Life isn’t easy when you start out on the bad side. When you are born to an unwed mother in a deep south small town, life doesn’t always play fair. My mother got pregnant by a man ten years her senior, one who never saw the need to acknowledge the child he helped to create. But always felt that he should have say in things that might embarrass him at some point. Not exactly easy to live up to a man who never wanted you, yet never let you forget it was thanks to him that you were even there. Not all of life was bad. You see there was my mother, and my mother’s parents. All of which loved and adored me. Then there was my cousin, he had a hard life as well. Born to a drunk and a teenage girl, he learned early to head to our grandparents house to seek comfort when home was a little too loud. Jake loved me as no one else ever will. He was my best friend, my father, my brother, and my cousin all rolled into one. He was my saving grace, until the year I turned 16 and he turned 19. He left for the military and left me to face the world and all that might come alone. Oh I had my grandparents and my mother, but it’s hard to tell them what it’s like to be a bastard in a small town, where everyone knows just who your father is and the fact he doesn’t want you.
It turns out that life can get worse and often does when we least expect it. The year Jake left to fulfill his dream, is the same year we lost both of my grandparents. That is a day I’ll never forget. My mom left as usual for work, she always had to leave early since she was the one to open the gas station and start getting things ready for the early morning customers.
“Honey, I’m leaving, make sure you lock up when you leave for school”,my mom quickly kissed my head and left me to wake up and prepare for school. I always hated that, getting up alone. No one there to talk to. But I knew my mom was doing what she could to make life easier for me. It’s hard to angry with someone who could have killed you, or gave you away,but chose to keep you and work hard to provide for you.
At one time we’d lived with my grandparents, but when an opportunity for us move into our own home arose, my mom worked hard to make sure it happened. Now we live in a single wide trailer, it’s small, but it’s ours. For that there’s a sense of pride that is hard to explain to those who don’t struggle just to survive.