With tears in her eyes wrapped up in a blanket. Hugging me she said, “Mom, I’m scared.” Rewind.
I showed the motel manager her picture, and he said he’d seen her earlier that day. After driving up and down Aurora, searching. With no where else to go, and no way of reaching her. I would park, watch, and wait.
After spending 3 hours staking out the motel from across the street, I started to get antsy needing to pee. It’s a beautiful day, I thought to myself. Followed by, was I crazy sitting here all afternoon? What if she doesn’t come back today? What if?
The last time she called me I’d hung up on her. Not once, but repeatedly.
My heart hurt afterwards, thinking – what if that was my last opportunity to speak to her? I don’t know why I hung up. I guess it was a combination of hurt, disappointment, and fear.
She was supposed to call me at noon that day. She said she was ready to surrender. I’d cancelled any plans I had and waited for her to call. Because that’s what I do.
When she did finally call, her voice sounded different. She was distracted, argumentative, and her words were slurred apologizing then defending detox versus treatment. I quickly knew she was back peddling.
So I hung up.
Quickly thereafter I felt regret, but in all honesty – there’s no negotiating with an addict high on drugs. Fast forward.
Thinking to myself. Should I stay or should I go. What if I leave, and it ends up being just a few minutes too soon? It’s going to be dark soon. It will be difficult to see. Just a few minutes more…
That was when I spotted her. My daughter. My beautiful girl.
It was a surreal moment. One I will never forget.
Just moments prior, I had started to question myself. What the hell was I doing here? And as the day started to transpose to night, I noticed more activity – they looked like zombies coming in and out of the rooms.
I can hear myself verbalizing these all too familiar words. God, please shine your light on me today. Shine your light on my daughter.
And I meant it.
Then it was her.
Long and lanky, clothes hanging off her slender frame. Eyes darting, hauling a heavy load on her back. Her pace was swift.
I quickly pulled the car into reverse and sped out on to Aurora. Stuck at the stop light – I watched her image grow smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror. “Damnit!” I shouted to myself.
After strongly considering running the red light, it turned green suddenly and I flipped a u-ey speeding after her.
I eventually caught up to her heading toward the casino, and laid on the horn.
I’ll never forget the look. It was a subtle look of curiosity, there was no surprise in her eyes. No concern. Nothing.
Fast forwarding over the last couple of days, brings me to today. Soon, I’ll be able to talk in more detail about some of the things I’ve seen and heard during the course of my daughter’s addiction and homelessness, but for now I choose to be still.
Still in knowing she is warm, and nourished. Surrounded by people who care about her.
Today she is safe. Without a needle in her arm and she has something I only prayed was possible.
She’s been given another chance.