At 14 life just began to stink. I was tired of doing drugs and being called a loser, but the enemy had me in a firm grasp. I wanted to change my life and do better for myself, but the enemy would not give me up easily. As a matter of fact, things continued to get worse in life. I had not heard from my mother in about two years and I got word from a cousin of mine that she showed up at my grandparent’s house asking about me. He said that my little brother was with her and that he was much bigger now. I went to speak with my grandfather to inquire of what had happened. He told me that my mother had come by to pick me up, because she and her “partner” had bought a new house and it had a room for me. There was no way I was going to live in a home with two women who consider themselves to be married. My grandfather asked me to please stay with him and not to with my mom or go back out to the streets, but I did anyway.
I became more addicted as time went by. I was now using a variety of different drugs including crack. At 16 I was stealing cars and robbing people for money to buy drugs. All this and still doing well in school - it was crazy - I don’t know how I did it. I always made sure I went to school because it was the one place that had everything: there were parties, drugs, friends ... so I attended. On April 16, 1997, I was 16, and my grandfather got word that I was out robbing and stealing, getting high and not valuing my life. He and my grandmother went out in their car to search for me. I guess they thought that they would execute some kind of intervention or something.
14살의 저에게 삶은 가혹했습니다. 저는 이제 약물에 손대는 것도 싫증나고 인생의 실패자라고 듣는 것도 싫었지만 사탄은 저를 그냥 내버려두지 않았습니다. 제 인생을 바꿔보고 제대로 좀 더 나은 나를 만들고 싶었으나 현실은 점점 나쁜 쪽으로 내려가고 있었습니다. 2년 넘게 소식이 없던 어머니가 조부모님댁에 홀연히 나타났다고 사촌이 제게 소식을 전해주었습니다. 그는 어머니와 함께 온 제 남동생도 보았다고 말했습니다. 동생은 못본 사이 많이 자랐다고 하더군요. 저는 자초지종을 알고 싶어 할아버지께 여쭤보았고, 할아버지는 엄마와 그녀의 파트너가 새 집을 사 저를 데리러 왔다고 말씀하셨습니다. 제가 레즈비언 커플과 함께 사는 것은 말도 안되는 것이었고, 할아버지는 제게 어머니와 함께 가지 말고, 길에서의 생활도 하지 않길 원하셨지만 결국 그렇게 되지 않았죠.
시간이 흐르면서 저는 더더욱 심한 약물중독자가 되어버렸습니다. 16살에는 약을 사기 위해 차를 훔치고 강도짓을 하기 시작했습니다. 이런 상황에서도 저는 학교를 착실히 다니고 있었습니다. 납득하기 어렵겠지만 학교는 제가 원하는 모든 것들: 파티, 약물, 친구들… 이 있었기에 제가 빠지지 않고 잘 다녔던 것 같습니다. 제가 16살이던 1997년 4월, 제가 약에 손을 대고 강도와 도둑질을 일삼는다는 이야기가 저의 조부모님 귀에 들어가게 되었습니다. 할아버지는 할머니와 함께 차를 타고 저를 찾으러 다니셨습니다. 아마도 저를 앞에 두고 직접적인 이야기를 나누고 싶으셨겠지요. <계속>
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