Teary eyed, vision blurred; I looked back and forth between Peace and Omar as they stared at me in complete shock.
What am I doing?
Before that one night that changed my life, I was living a life many wished they could. A young adult, free to make my own choices without facing judgment of family and friends. A highly respected and top student in her senior year of college. Loving and supportive parents, money at my disposal and I wanted for nothing.
Popular, pretty, talented, caring, ambitious, proud…
All I am now is a shell of a woman; the end result of living in a hell I helped create, hiding from a problem I let spin out of control when I could have simply walked away the very first time I was warned. Afraid of my own damn shadow.
I turned slowly, looking at myself in the broken mirror. And as I caught a glimpse of myself; bruised, bloody, barely recognizable … my life flashed before my eyes.
The youngest daughter of hardworking parents, never afraid to go for what I wanted. I was a studious child, an obedient child. Taught to share and follow any and every dream I had, and I did.
Elementary and high school sports star. Part-time model. Spokesperson for youth who struggle with their racial identity. Singer. Dancer. Actress. Musician. Writer. Student of life.
Love surrounded me in all forms; never was a girl who lacked paternal or maternal love. Very self aware, I grew to be confident. Loved myself.
Somehow, I lost myself.
I looked over my shoulder, hearing the concern in Peace’s voice as she called my name. “What?”
She moved towards me, slowly. “Give me the knife, please.”
By now Omar was crying, as was she. Me; I’m all cried out. “I just want it to end.”
“It’s over Tai, okay, it’s over.”
“No… not yet.”
“Girl, I promise you that it is not worth ending your life. Okay, nothing bad is going to happen to you anymore. Please…”
I noticed that I’d backed up to the wall, and she’d followed me. “I don’t want to be afraid anymore.” Omar grabbed my wrist and I loosed my grip on the knife, watching it fall as I slid down the wall, shaking uncontrollably as my best friend wrapped her arms around me.
“You don’t have to be. It’s all over.”
“Is she Tai Lee Harris?”
“Sir, can we just have a few moments to console her.” Omar spoke so softly, a huge difference from his naturally cheerful and sarcastically funny tone. “Just a few.”
“I’m sorry Young Man, but we have to take her in.”
The officer pulled me up, apologizing as I winced when he touched the open wounds on my arms and wrists while he handcuffed me.
“Tai Lee Harris, you are under arrest. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult with an attorney and/or have an attorney present. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you at no cost by the courts. You have been given the appropriate Miranda Warning, do you understand your rights as they have been told to you?”
My voice cracked as I spoke. “Yes.”
I should have stayed quiet. I should have kept to myself. I should have walked right past him as he called out to me that night. I should have kept control over my life.