“This life we’ve had, it hasn’t been a good one has it? We’ve always just wanted to have fun, but look at this, look what it’s come down to. Do we not care about our lives? Are we willing to do worse shit, to die for a cause that really has no meaning? You girls have a chance to find a meaning to this shit and I demand you do it.”
At that very moment Beba lifted her head with all the strength she had left. Looking up at both her best friends, she smiled, gasped her last breath, and tilted her head on Milagros’s hands.
“NOOOO! BEBA! HABLAME! TALK TO ME! NOOOO!” –Milagros screamed.
Soon after the ambulance arrived Beba had been pronounced dead and Kathy was hurried to the hospital. Fortunately, Kathy had survived, but for the rest of her life she was to live transporting herself on a wheelchair. How could she live with herself as a handicapped? She thought. She would never accept living like a vegetable. Perhaps the worst blow for both girls was Beba’s death. They cried for days and would not separate from one another. Milagros slept in the hospital and made sure that she was there for Kathy. Each couldn’t accept the fact that Beba was not with them anymore. A profound shock had stricken them that doctors provided psychological support to both girls.
“Let your emotions be crucified
Renounce all your thoughts
Repent and let your mind be re-taught
You'll find what you sought...was based on the deception you bought
A perception of naught
Where the majority remains caught…”-Lauryn Hill
Two years had passed. The shootout had changed all three of the girls’ lives drastically. Beba was no longer with them. It was as if a piece of each hearts was missing. They mourned Beba and constantly spoke to her wherever she was. However, it was precisely Beba’s death, which led to many internal changes within the girls. Although Kathy was to remain paralyzed for the rest of her life, she attended weekly sessions where she learned how to live like a regular person. Weekly meetings with a therapist and with a Dominican sister who was dealing with the teachings of the Nation of God and Earth had helped her deal with an anger problem that had accumulated through years of abuse. For the first time in all her live Milagros saw Kathy smile. In one of their many conversations Kathy confessed to Milagros that in many ways she was blessed with what had happened. Her condition had allowed her to stop and finally think about who she was. This led her to map about who she wanted to be.
“ Kathy, what are you planning on doing?” Milagros asked.
“I was thinking I move down to Florida you know? My Earth Enlightener was telling me they have amazing facilities for people with my condition and the change in geographical location will help me study myself deeper at peace . She said I can get a scholarship. I don’t ever want to go back to our neighborhood. I don’t want to be like those kids that get shot and spend their whole lives doing nothing but sitting in front of the building. I want to make myself a better person. I want to honor myself and Beba. I’ve been thinking about what she said right before she died. Doesn’t it make sense to you Mily? It really does to me. All my life I thought Beba had nothing smart to say, but what she said right before she passed, struck me like a pin. I woke up really. Now I’m ready to start a life without any resentment or anger. I’ve put behind all that bullshit about my father. I’ve realized that all those experiences have made me stronger.” -She looked at Milagros with a glow in her face.
“I entirely understand everything you’re telling me beautiful. I have made the decision to do the same. I was thinking of going back to school. You know we were pretty smart in the few classes we passed at G Dubs. Remember? Also, I want to contribute positively to my relationship with Fernando. I want us to build a foundation.” –Milagros positively stated.
Milagros had found love. She met him at her local YMCA. A true love that did not judge her for the things she did, but rather taught her that whatever she had done in the past were lessons to be learned. This most supreme feeling of living brought her to a place that felt right. A place of focus and tranquility that would allow her to explore what next move she would take in life. Through her experiences she learned that she had been deaf, dumb, and blind to the reality of the world. Being so young and vulnerable to what she had dealt with, her senses automatically became numb. She lived, but feeling as if every moment was just one more picture in a dream she would soon wake from. When she woke, she realized why she had been placed on this Earth. It wasn’t so she could party, drink and smoke her life away, or feel bad because her father was never been there for her and because her mother had become a whore. It was so she could became a strong woman, that she learned no matter how she grew up, what she went through, it was up to her to make her own destiny. One filled with peace, love and happiness. Beba and Kathy were right.
She got her GED and enrolled in Community College. While in school her interests were History and Cosmetology. History taught her that she could trace back where she had come from and that by learning this, in turn, she would learn more about herself. Awareness of her past was necessary to make sense out of her present and future. She graduated with Honors and decided that in a few years she would go back to school to get higher degrees. For the meantime, she focused on receiving her Cosmetology license. She was currently in the process of setting up her own salon. Using her knowledge of history, she was going to apply hairstyles from the past, but adapt them to modern times. This technique no one had and it was a hit. They were setting a trend all over NYC to the point where famous people from the entertainment industry were coming to Milagros for consultations.
Some years later, Milagros in an interview was asked, “What’s the advice you want to share with girls and young women of this society and the world?” In her mind, she remembered years earlier being in the car and listening to the girl whose name she couldn’t remember, talk about not eating meat or white rice. This combined with her own experience brought her to a place of understanding. With a look of passion she answered, “I want all women out there to know that they are the only ones responsible for their own peace and happiness. Sometimes we find ourselves and make our own situations appear harder than they really are. We have to remove these self-inflicted chains and free ourselves. Knowing that, in itself, has given me back my freedom today.”
Kathy proudly watched her friend share her wisdom to the entire nation. It was times like those where she knew that what they had been through were not mistakes, but rather lessons from which they learned from. She turned off the TV and went to bed. She had an early start tomorrow, Milagros was coming into town…