As I was walking down the aisle I was super thrilled and excited, but yet also scared. My sister was getting married today. I, Emily was ten years old and my sister was the only one keeping me safe for two years. I was an abused child until Jade came and saved me. It might come as a surprise but not many people in New York will adopt a scarred African American child.
Jade was exchanging her vows with Jack and then they kissed. Jade searched for me and I acted like I was vomiting and then smiled at the newly wed couple. They seemed so happy, so I was happy for them. I had seen so many horrible things in my life that I learned how to appreciate the good. I turned and saw my best friend.
“Hi, Rose!” I greeted.
“I can’t believe Jade is getting married to brother!” Oh ya, did I mention that Rose is Jack’s younger sister.
Jade came over to me and smiled. Jack was right behind her. We started a group conversation, just the four of us.
That was when my entire world turned upside down.
Two people, one female one male came barging in. They looked familiar but I refused to go there. If I went there I would only remember bad memories. I see all humour and laughter fade from Jade’s face as she comes and blocks me from their view. The two people started asking around and everyone quickly looked at Jade and shook their heads.
Jack went to the people and asked them, no ordered them, to leave. He didn’t even bother asking them who they were. That was unlike Jack, he was a very nice person but he was also possessive.
“Jade, who are those people?” I ask scared.
“Stay behind me, honey.”
“Who are they?”
“No one,” she says getting slightly mad, “They shouldn’t be here, they promised never to come looking for you.” She whispers under her breath.
“They are my parents are they,” I say tears threatening to escape my eyes.
“They were never actual parents to you Emily, they didn’t even take care of you at all,” Jade says as she stares at them.
My mom had honey brown hair and my dad had black hair. I had chestnut brown hair. We all had brown eyes only theirs had lost their life when they started drinking.
My mom looks around and spots me and starts walking towards me. My dad in pursuit. I look at my mom and see her smile.
“Etenia, honey is that you.” Etenia used to be my name, but me and Jade decided to change it.
“Go away, you were not invited here,” Jade says.
“She is my daughter, I can claim her back if I want to.” My mom says with a lot of sass.
I move from behind Jade and face my mom. I look at her for a minute. She doesn’t look like she still drinks that poison.
“Etenia, baby, how are you.” She asks treading the water, not daring to say anything more.
I take a deep breath, “I was good, until I saw you walk in.” I look at Jade and she nods her head and smiles.
“Is that any way to treat your mother.”
“I don’t know, you tell me, is it right to hit your daughter so much that I still have cuts and bruises,” I say and get a flashback.
I was seven, I walk home from my first day of school. I was so happy because now I had an excuse to get out of our “Home”. I heard glass breaking and walking in saw my dad breaking our last few glasses on the floor and filling the cupboard with alcohol bottles. I run upstairs and hear my dad call me.
“Girl, get your useless self over here this second.” I run down the stairs and see him drinking some alcohol.
“Where is that woman you call a mother?” He slurs.
“I’ll go find her.”
“No, let her be lost. Now go out and do whatever you want, I don’t want to see you at home until tomorrow.” I was used to this. My dad might be an alcoholic but he still loved me. Whenever he was about to throw a party he told me to leave. One bad thing though, I had no where to stay. I leave the house and head for the library.
It was closing time so I had to leave. I sat down on a bench and laid down. It was very cold night, I started shivering. That's when a woman approached me.
“Where are your parents?” The woman asks approaching me
“At home,” I reply.
“Why aren’t you there?” The woman asks with curiosity.
“They are throwing their grown-up parties and I don’t like them,” I say as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“How often does this happen?” I look at my fingers and count.
I hold out four fingers, “4 times a week.”
“Come with me.” She takes my hand and takes my to her house she gives me a shower and sees all of my scars. She doesn’t say anything. She calls someone…
I look at Jade with determination. My mother will not take me away. I won’t let her. My dad comes over and snatches my hand from Jade’s, he was the one who hit me more, “Foolish girl, you are coming with me.” He says and I flinch.
“Don’t you dare touch her, you are not taking her anywhere!” Jade says and taking her hand into my own.
Two weeks later
I stand right outside the court. Yes we brought this to the court. It turns out my parents stopped drinking last year, and now they live in a nice home. That doesn’t change anything, and the marks on my hand prove it. When my dad grabbed my hand two weeks back he dug his nails into my skin so hard that I now have five nail marks on my hand.
“Emily you ready,” Jade is wearing a business suit and I am wearing a dress that shows the scars on the top of my back. I am wearing a jacket to cover them.
“Let’s do this!” I saw this with a small smile. I need to act brave, I need to be brave for me and Jade. I heard Jade crying last night and since her wedding. I feel so horrible. Her wedding was supposed to be the happiest day of her life but instead, she is spending her nights crying.
We walk into the court and I see both of my parents inside.
“Etenia, how are you.” My mother asks with a smile on her face.
“Mom, just let me be, you never cared about me, why start now?” I want to scream, cry and hit something. I wanted my voice to come out as strong and powerful, but instead, it sounded like I was crying.
“Is that what this woman…” I interrupt her.
“Her name is Jade, and my name is not Etenia!” I say in a louder voice than I meant to.
“Well whatever you call her I’ll always hate her.” my mom says with sass.
Jade calls for me and I spin around and walk towards Jade and Jack.
“Emily, are you feeling okay, you look like you need a hug.” As Jade says this I feel tears coming from my eyes.
Wasn’t your mom supposed to be the one offering you a hug. Wasn’t your mom supposed to help you with school work. Wasn’t your mom supposed to be there for you. Wasn’t your mom supposed to be the one who loves you.
Jade quickly comes and gives me a hug, both of us are crying and Jack let a single tear fall. Not one more, not one less. Somehow this hug feels like it might be the last, and that is what scared me the most.
Once both of us stopped crying Jade kissed my forehead and gave me a weak smile. I returned it. All three of us sat down and started listening to the judge speak.
After the ruling, I feel both happiness and hurt. I found out the reason I had to wear this dress was to show the judge my scars. The look in my parent's eyes when they saw that made me want to break down in tears. It looked like they had never realized what they had done. They looked hurt and very ashamed of what they had done.
I look over to my parents who are standing to my right. They are looking at me and I see something in their eyes. Not only is the life back in them but they looked like actual parents. They looked at me and gave a small smile my way. The way my mom looked at me, made me realize something important. My parents loved me and they actually wanted me back.
My mom broke down into tears and started hugging herself, my dad was hugging her and was saying things to her. I broke Jade’s grip from my hands and ran to my parents, my actual parents. Who I was never going to get a chance to love them. The parents who would never get a chance to love me. The parents who actually loved me. I hugged both my parents and all three of us started to cry.
Jade walks over to us. She doesn’t look sad, “we raised an angel,” She says to my parents and looks and them and then to me.
“Hey, I have an idea, I own a house next to our own, why don’t you guys shift in there. Then Emily can come over whenever she wants. But only on one condition.” As Jade says this I find a newly formed hope in my heart. What is I can have both my parents as well as Jade and Jack. Was it too good to be true.
Both my parents break from the hug and look at each other. They smile and shake their heads.
“We can’t do that, not after what we did to your little angel.” My mom says.
“It is the least you guys can do, get to know her,” Jade says persuasively.
“What is the condition?” My dad questions finally speaking.
“Now I have two, 1) No alcohol or drugs allowed in the house, 2) Never take our angel away from me,” Jade says with a smile.
“Deal!” Me and my parents say in unison.
6 years, and two months later
I exit Jade’s house and go to my parents house .Jade and Jack had a daughter and called her Etenia. I enter the house and see nothing but pitch darkness. I switch on the light and suddenly everyone pops out singing happy birthday. I was definitely surprised. My birthday was supposed to be in two months, the day Jade found me. Jade set that as my birthday since it was the day she found me, it was the day I was born into her life.
“Happy Birthday sweetie!” My mom sings in her beautiful singing voice. I smile as she hands me a package, it looks like a paper so I open it carefully. Inside is my birth certificate and a few photos. I smile, July 27 was my actual birthday. I looked up to my mom and smiled and said thank you. I take out the certificate and look at the pictures, in between the photos was a card.
July 27 was the best day of my life, it was the day you were brought into my life. I was not prepared to be a mom so I turned to alcohol. I know you want to say that I regret it but I do not. I do not regret anything. Though there is one thing I regret and that is that I didn’t spend enough time to know you. Now you are 16, you are a perfect young woman, most moms want their daughters to be like them But that is one thing that I know will never happen. And I am happy with that. Since you, Emily, Etenia, angel are perfect.
I look to my right and see one family and to the left see another, on the right is Jade and her little family, on the left, are my parents. I stand here in the middle being part of both.