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We All Desrve Second Chances
When I was 10 years old, I used to stay at this program called Red Shield. It was an after school program where kids did their homework and played sports. My big sister, Ruby, who was sixteen, would always pick me up every day at 5 o’clock. We never fought, but we weren’t really close either. She was always messing up and it bothered me to see her wasting her life. I always figured that something bad would happen to her eventually.
Ruby had started doing awfully in middle school. She would get bad grades, get into fights, and get suspended. When she was in elementary school, she used to be good, but when she got to middle school she started hanging around with bad influences. One day, around 4:40 p.m., I went to wait at the entrance as usual for my sister to pick me up. Time passed and passed, but I still waited. By 5:30, she still had not arrived. I was feeling angry and annoyed.
I said to myself, “She’s never been late to pick me up before! Where could she be!?! I want to go home and play outside already!”
The clock struck 6 and my sister still hadn’t shown up. I felt dumb waiting there doing nothing! Finally, at 6:30, I noticed my mom walking toward me.
I ran up to her and yelled, “Finally! Somebody shows up!”
My mom looked confused. She asked me, “Where’s Ruby?”
I looked at her with a weird face and replied, “How am I supposed to know if you don’t know?!?”
I know I should have gotten a smack in the mouth for responding to my mom like that, but she seemed more worried about my sister at the moment. We started walking towards home and my mom kept calling Ruby on her phone, but no one answered.
My mom declared in an angry voice, “This is the last call I’m going to give her! If there’s no answer, I am going to call your dad!”
I shrugged and said, “Go ahead.” My mom and dad were separated and I knew that if my mom called my dad, there was going to be trouble. She only calls him for emergencies or when we do something really bad.
My mom called Ruby one last time and someone picked up, but all you could hear was air blowing on the other side. Shhhhhhhh.....
When my mom heard that, she got very worried. Her face looked like a cat seeing a dog for the first time! In fact, her face stayed that way for days, because Ruby never came back.Eventually, we realized that my sister had run away from home. I guess for my mom the whole world seemed like it was falling apart. It was as though a piece of her heart was missing!
My mom started getting migraines from all the stress. She would ask me and my other sister, Darlene, who is one year older than me, “Where could Ruby be?!? Do you think she is okay?!?”
These were questions we couldn’t answer. I was never worried about my sister though, because I was so mad at her for doing this to my mom. I honestly didn’t care if she was alive or dead. All I cared about was my mom.
I thought to myself, “Sooner or later, she’ll come back when needs something!” It made me mad to think about my sister taking advantage of my mom. I’ve always been close to my mom because she is a good person. She is kind and caring and she does good things for other people.
Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, and we had no idea where my sister could be. I remembered back when my mom used to ask Ruby if she had a boyfriend. My mom knew that something was going on with her, but Ruby would just make a disgusted face and say, “Ewww, no!”
After Ruby left, my mom cried day after day. This upset me. In my mind, I would talk smack about my sister. I started thinking things like, “You f---ing b----! You are so ungrateful! I hope you burn in hell for this!”
Christmas was coming up and my mom felt bad because her daughter was missing. This was Ruby’s present to us -- she ruined our family. The only present that could’ve cheered up my mom would have been my sister coming home. Seeing my mom suffer made me feel sad too. It was as though somebody had shot an arrow through my heart. I wanted to cheer my mom up, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t fair that my mom, a hard-working lady who worked long hours in a clothing factory just to keep her family going, was now suffering all this pain.
Two whole years went by until one day, the phone suddenly rang. The caller ID said: “L.A. County jail.” We didn’t know who it was.
My mom went to pick it up and a guy asked, “Is Ruby there?”
Mom, all confused, replied, “No, excuse me, who are you?”
“Oh, I'm Jorge, Ruby’s boyfriend, and I'm calling because she said she was going to be at this number.”
“Wait... do you know where Ruby has been all this time?” my mom asked.
“She’s been living with me,” he replied.
My mom’s face got red with anger. She exclaimed in a surprised tone, “Mijo, why did you take her?!? You could have at least called me and told me she was okay!!! I’ve been going crazy worrying about her!”
Jorge just said, “I'm sorry, Señora, but she was the one who wanted to leave with me...”
My mom yelled, “Don’t tell me you’re sorry!!! Only God can forgive you! Say sorry to him!”
Then she asked him, “Why are you in jail?”
He responded, “The cops barely got me... I'm a gangster from 18th st. but don’t worry, Ruby was safe with me...”
He kept talking and I could see that my mom was getting really upset. I couldn’t stand to see her like that, so I took the phone away from her and hung it up. I didn’t want her t to hear anymore of what he was saying. She had already been through enough.
Later that day, we received a phone call from my sister. She said she was at the front door. My mom nearly died with happiness. She ran to the door to open it, and that’s when we saw Ruby. . . with a baby in her arms.
Ruby looked so different. She was way skinnier and she had dyed her hair light red. I almost couldn’t recognize her.
I was so mad. I said to myself, “Wow, she has the guts to come back here like this!!! I can’t believe it!” I was right. She only came back because she needed a place to stay now that her boyfriend was in jail.
My mom shouted at her, “Why did you leave without telling me anything?!?”
Ruby didn’t respond; she just shook her head.This made me even more mad. I thought to myself, “Say something! Explain why you did this to my mom!”
On the inside I was furious, but on the outside I stayed calm. I didn’t want to do anything I would regret. I was happy that she came home, but still mad at her too. I didn’t know whether to hug her or hit her. My mom and Ruby ended up talking for the whole rest of the day, all the way until night. Ruby stayed with us for a few months, until she did it all over again. One day, for no reason, she left again. She didn’t tell anyone that she was leaving, but we figured she had gone with her boyfriend again.
“He must be out of jail finally,” I thought to myself.
The next time Ruby returned home, she was pregnant again. Her boyfriend had been sent to jail once again, but this time it was for ten years. He was an accomplice in a murder.
Finally, Ruby decided to change. It took my dad, who is usually a big, tough guy, breaking down into tears, begging Ruby to stop doing bad stuff, for her to finally listen. My parents told her that they would support her in life and help her reach her dreams, if she would only try.
Ruby agreed with them and changed her life. She told them that she wanted to go to college and become a doctor’s assistant. She went to college at UEI and graduated from there. She worked for a while as a doctor’s assistant, but she realized she could make more money if she went back for more college, so now she goes to Trade Tech.
Now, Ruby is doing much better. She helps the family and takes good care of her kids. Whenever I need a ride somewhere, she takes me. Sometimes she talks to me when I get bad grades and tells me not to make the same mistakes she did. Ruby has taught me that people can change, no matter how bad they are. People deserve a second chance in life and it helps if they have parents there to support them. It’s just like they say, “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”