Life After Death...Confessions of a Murderer
by Ayisha Hunt
2004 was a big year for me. My freshman year of high school was almost over. A few classmates of mine joined the Army JROTC at school, and for some odd reason, i thought the uniforms were very cute, and i wanted to join. To my disappointment,when i arrived a discovered a reality far from my fantasies of wearing those shiny black shoes every Thursday to school. The Master Sargent expected the students to be in class by 7 am! Now, I lived in South Philadelphia and my High school was in Roxborough. During rush hour the commute on public transportation was only about an hour, but this meant rising at 5am, leaving my home by 6am, and arriving at the JROTC wing( which was really the basement of the school) by 7am! 7am? really.7am. This all seemed a bit much for a 14 year old but i will admit, it felt refreshing to be among kids who were as weird and nerdy as I was.
See, growing up in a city like Philly, in order to survive the school system both physically and socially, one couldn't afford to show even the slightest bit of weakness as compared to their peers. Being a smart, book-loving student wasn't "cool" per pe, until the class bully was failing math or something.
Needless to say I learned at a very young age i couldn't let my guard down and I couldn't be my old weirdo, history loving self while at school, or in any public place for that matter. So I toughened up, beat few kids up, and kept my head up, but that's another story for another series. I felt I could be myself at JROTC. I loved being apart of the drill team, participating in the Knockout competitions, oh, and I loved the parties! Yes, Parties! LOL! But there was a specific reason above all the aforementioned reasons that I sacrificed my sleep, trudged through all sorts of weather, and dodged vagabonds on the dark streets of South Philly at 5:00 in the morning- The main reason any teenager does anything- any guesses? A BOY OF COURSE!
There was a kid in my platoon who I absolutely adored. He was tall, smart and witty, with a killer smile and a goofy laugh. The kind of laugh that makes you laugh just from hearing him laugh! A sweet guy clawing through the hardships of life, trying to find his place in the world, as was I. Through this commonality a friendship blossomed. We would hang in the stairwell between classes and talk. We would hang out after school and talk. When we finally left school, we would talk on the phone all night long. I know I know, typical Teenage Love story, au contraire. "Friends" was the title we bore and proudly! Unbeknownst to him, "Best Friend" is the title he wore in my heart.
I often shared classified information, deepest fears,darkest secrets and the occasional school rumor with him. Being with him made me feel safe. He was my non-judgmental, unbiased, sarcastic and witty confidant. I loved him. The conversations, the laughs, the moments we awkwardly stared into each others eyes causing a sheepish, teenage-boy smile to adorn his face. I loved the very idea of him. When we finally started officially "dating", the conversation felt more like an agreement with unspoken terms and conditions that we both automatically knew, which governed our gradual cruise from out of the "friend zone". One of us, (I can't remember exactly who) said something to the effect of; "we already tell each other we love each other, why don't we just go together?" Little did we know, it was at the very moment that we shifted into high gear, moved onto the expressway and proceeded to the fast lane. My life was changed forever.
" A gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." Proverbs 11:22
All of my life, up until this point,I've had low self-esteem. Somehow my dark skin and gap teeth became the butt of every joke. I dare not forget my big nose and coarse hair also being the topic of teasing on any given day. Top it of with being overweight, and here's an award-winning recipe for ZERO self confidence. Often, I found ways to hide my smile from any suspecting bully and wore baggy clothes to disguise my pot belly. Through some sort of miracle, over the summer between middle and high school, I slimmed down and grew into my gap teeth and big nose. Boys started to notice me, which scared me terribly, but at the same time it was nice to receive compliments from my male counterparts.
At home affirmation wasn't the norm. More often than not there were, Black jokes, Teeth jokes, Nose jokes, or Weight jokes. Honestly, I didn't think they were funny at all, but I used "joke" for lack of a better term. Maybe insult fits better? (Don't mind me, just a little digression here.)
To have a friend, a boyfriend, who thought the world of me was like breathing fresh air for the very first time. He made me feel special. I felt loved. It was almost like a high when I was with him, intoxicated with love, and like a hangover when I wasn't. Valentines days, birthdays, he showered me with gifts. Teddy bears, perfumes, and candies. He was very thoughtful and never did I experience being treated that way. I thoroughly enjoyed it, what girl wouldn't?
Eventually, during winter break actually, we decided to have sex. Yes...sex..(sorry mom, dad,etc.). By decide I mean we just did, not like we planned it or read diagrams or anything like that. So it was winter break 2004, school breaks meant kids home alone. Unless your parents worked for the School District of Philadelphia, students were unsupervised at least 8 hours a day, doing only God knows what.
When my mom went to work, I went to Germantown and was home most days before she was. And baby, let me tell you, I had those bus schedules down to a science! I'm almost certain every day of my winter break was spent at his house, except the weekends when our parents were off work. I was pleased by every moment I was able to have him all to myself. His company was warm and his words were inviting. There wasn't any resistance on my part when encouraged to give myself to him.
In the near future, I would learn the true meaning of regret, in every sense of the word. I sold myself at such a low price, you could call it cheap and had little to show for it. A few hours of pleasure didn't turn out to be worth the lifetime of shame, guilt and pain that would come of it.
"The wages of Sin is Death..." Romans 6:23
January 2005 had come and gone, but my menstrual cycle was MIA. Having had my symbol of womanhood when I was only 10, after 5 years of monthly visits, I knew myself. Even though I did think it odd that She didn't visit me this month, being only 15, I put it to the back of my mind not realizing the gravity of the situation. There was a clinic I used to frequent near my house, I will call it P.P. so I wont get sued. At P.P., sexually active teens were able to get sex ED, condoms, birth control, exams, the whole nine yards without having a parent's consent. This was great news for teens who were secretly sexually active (by secret I mean their parents didn't know) and wanted to be "safe." This was horrible news for parents whose teen was secretly sexually active and wanted to be "safe."
This is where I would go for birth control every three months. It just so happened my supply ran out during winter break and I was so busy at my boyfriend's house that I didn't get to P.P and get a refill. Add that to having unprotected sex, and well, you can pretty much guess the rest. Per protocol, after an exam, women are required to have a pregnancy test before they are given birth control. The doctor returned to my room after I'd taken the test, with the most somber look on her face. My heart sank. It had to have sunk pretty far into the depths of my very being because I felt as if I couldn't feel it beating in my chest.
Looking over her glasses, she said to me, "Ayisha" I cannot give you any contraceptives because you are pregnant."
I felt sick. There was a golf ball sized knot in my throat, and I didn't utter a word. The doctor then asked,
"Do you know what you're going to do?"
"I don't know".
"Do you think you will be able to tell your mom or dad?"
"I don't know"
"What about the father? Do you know who he is?"
"What do you think his reaction will be?"
"I don't know."
"Well," she said, "If you get to a point and you don't know what to do, please come back and we have some options for you. We can help. I just don't want to see you on the news because you threw your baby in a trash can."
Those words, "baby in a trash can" snapped me out of the trance I was in. " Oh no!, you don't have to worry about that"! With these words- I left. I walked home that day, it was about an hour and a half walk, but it seemed to take days. The thought of there being a person growing inside of me was unbearable.
For the next week, I could not eat and sleep escaped me like a thief in the night. The courage to tell someone was far from me. It petrified my soul to even think of bringing my mouth to speak such words. What was I to tell my mom? How would I let the love of my life know I was keeping a secret from him? I finally mustered up the strength to tell him. I really sort of blurted it out one day randomly. "OK so, I'm pregnant."
"I'm dead serious."
"For real yo?"
"Yes." I then ask, "What are we gonna do?"
"I don't know." seems he and I had the same philosophy. We were just two kids! we didn't have a clue! about anything! This would be one of the few conversations we had about my pregnancy. Rarely did he and I talk about it. Rarely did I even think about it, besides when I had morning sickness everyday before school. It seemed as though, one day out of the blue, I couldn't fit any of my school uniform shirts anymore. I knew I was getting far along because I felt the baby move. We were laying side by side one day and I felt a little flutter.
I said "Oh my God! I can feel it moving!" "Really?" I said,"here, feel it", reaching out for his hand. He reluctantly placed his hand on my stomach, and pulled it back swiftly. "What's the matter?" I asked. "You should tell your mom, We should tell someone, we need to figure out what to do." This was probably the first and only argument we'd ever have. At the end of it all, I agreed to let my mom know and he let his mother know. Our moms ended up talking to each other and exchanging numbers. After a few days it was decided what we were to do. Actually we were told what we were going to do. 16.There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17.Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, Proverbs 6:16-17
April 2005. A short three months before my 16th birthday. I believe it was a Wednesday. In fact, it was the Wednesday before the Friday before spring break. Riding shotgun in my mom's Grand Prix is the most vivid memory i have from that day. From South Philly to Northeast Philly, we ventured taking Broad street the entire way.( F.Y.I if you're ever in Philly and you are lost- on foot or otherwise- remember, Broad street connects to just about every neighborhood and type of public transit. Your welcome!)
I didn't eat that morning. Staring out the window, I wished I had eaten, to mask the taste of morning sickness on my tongue. The taste was thought provoking, forcing me to wonder how I had hid my daily bouts of nausea and retching from everyone. It was almost a daily routine for me. Wake up, shower, dress, vomit, leave, and walk to the bus stop. While riding, staring out of the window, I watched every person I saw walking on the streets. The windows were rolled up, the only sounds coming from Power 99 on the car radio. I didn't think. I didn't know what to think.
When we arrived at our destination, the location was foreign to me. Near Broad and Olney, there was an unmarked high-rise office building of sorts. I'd come to the conclusion that this place was "the place" when my mom parked and took a cigarette out of her purse. Blowing smoke from her wide nostrils she asked "are you alright?"
I nodded and answered "Mmm Hmm." I do not recall if I was in shock, denial, disbelief, or despair. There wasn't a feeling of being in danger, nor was I afraid. Uneasy! Yes! Uneasy is the term that best describes how I felt. The inter-workings behind the doors to this medical suite was a mystery to me. I knew why I was here. I knew what would happen, well, sort of. But at the same time I was oblivious to the process and procedures that were about to take place.
"Ayisha Lee"? The voice from the receptionist window called from the waiting area. Although, this waiting area was unlike any other waiting area I or anyone for that matter has ever seen. It was a 6-ft X 6-ft space with a receptionist window, and that's it.
The woman asks, without looking at us, "How will you be paying for the procedure?"
Mom said," It's $525, right?"
I don't remember whether she paid with cash or whatever. I stood there, hands in pockets, and stared at the maroon and white Chuck Taylor's on my feet.
We were immediately led to a door, walked through and into a patient room. While waiting for the "Physician" I noticed an ultrasound machine. I said, ever so innocently, " Oooh Mom! I hope they let us see the baby! I wonder if it's a boy or girl!"
"Easha!", she exclaimed, "Why would you want to see? What's wrong with you?"
"What?" I said. "I want to know. What's wrong with that?"
In walks the "doctor". We will call him "Doctor Snow."
Dr. Snow begins the examination. His hands were as cold as his personality and bedside manners. In his defense- how can anyone in this "profession" maintain a sunny disposition, day after day? The final part of the exam was the sonogram/ultrasound- to verify pregnancy. Hearing that little baby's heartbeat, filled my spirit with a whirlwind of happiness, sadness and dread. There was a human being inside my belly-with a heart! The thought amazed and terrified me all the same. I ask Dr. Snow if I could see the screen,
Can you tell me if it's a boy or girl?
"No." He then presented the anesthesia menu from which we were to choose "Local or General". General was the choice made. Next, the "operating" room. My mom was allowed to walk me to the room before being whisked away to God knows where to wait. The anesthesiologist was ready and waiting as I lay on my back on the gurney. An I.V. was started as three nurses ran around frantically putting instruments in their proper place. The nurse that held my hand told me to prepare to feel a cold sensation through my body. No sooner than said, I felt it. The sensation so cold, it burned my veins. I began to say, "It's burning, it's burning, it's burning, it's- My legs shook violently. And before I knew what happened, everything was over.
I awoke in a daze. The room was spinning, my head felt heavy and my vision was blurry. With each passing second I gained consciousness and awareness. "Ayisha", I could hear my mother's voice-very faint- as if she was far off. My mouth couldn't form any of the words I spoke in my mind, but I reached out my hand to her. The anesthesia wore off and I took stock of my surroundings. The sight was short of horrifying and completely sobering. I was seated in a large leather recliner. How I made it to the chair is still a mystery. Dressed in a hospital gown, I was confused and bleeding profusely. The presence of blood, let alone the amount thereof, alarmed me, I remember thinking "Is this normal?"
My eyes left my chair and began to roam the room.There had to be at least 50 chairs in the room ( this is quite the conservative figure) and every chair as far as my eyes could see was filled. Picture a huge nail salon with those big comfy spa chairs, remove the foot pools, nail polish and massage chairs. Now, replace them with an I.V caddy, a blood pressure cuff, and bloodied, drunken teenage girls. As I noted, most of the girls here were my age and slightly older. I was 15 at the time.
I hadn't the smallest idea of what to expect, but I didn't expect to see so many young girls. The stench of blood mixed with antiseptic was very strong and nauseating. Once I became completely coherent, I was escorted to a room where I was told to get dressed.My mother helped me out the clothes on, but didn't speak much. Her eyes were swollen as if she had been crying and her brow was furrowed. A nurse presented us with discharged instructions, informing us of what to expect. "Heavy bleeding, nausea and maybe night sweats for a week or two." Don't do this, Do this...Blah blah blah. My mind drifted away after the mention of night sweats. I stared out of the window as she talked. It was then I realized this window, in this room, is the only window I saw the entire time I was in this building.
Outside of the window, the sun shone through the trees. The wind caused the leaves to dance wildly on the branches. A beautiful sight to see, especially when viewing from a dank room, while bleeding to death (or so I thought anyway). Remember the montage from "Malcolm X" where Denzel Washington seems to float through time and space? When he floated down the street while life continued normally for everyone around him? That was me.
That's how I felt on the way home. Words may or may not have been spoken, food most likely wasn't eaten. I recall the feeling of relief that came as I lay in my bed that afternoon. I slept all the way until the next morning. Thursday morning it was, and everyone prepared to leave for work and school.
Before leaving, my mom asked, "Are you OK?"
"I think so."
"Everything you need is here. Here's some money if you want some food from the store. Call me if you need anything. I will call to check on you though. I love you. OK?"
"Love you too mom." I went to the bathroom, showered and went back to bed. As I laid there the only thought on my mind was this poor little baby. Rubbing my stomach, I began to cry. My soul felt vacuous and hollow. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I felt the way I did. At times I felt claustrophobic in that room and started breathing heavily. A panic attack? Maybe. I cried until my eyes were dry and my voice became hoarse. Even then, I cried some more. Sliding down the slippery slope to depression with each passing hour, accompanied by the overwhelming sense of guilt- suicide was a real option for me.
Friday. Today is the day before Spring Break '05. thoughts of school and what my classmates were doing occupied my mind most of the day. I tried to call my boyfriend during lunch period, no answer. I cried for the next four hours and then took a break to call again at dismissal, again,no answer. I wasn't able to talk to the one person I could talk to about how I felt. No one else knew this deep dark secret, except him, so I had no one to confide in. In hind-sight, I didn't speak to him or see him until we returned to school. I was left alone with my thoughts the entire spring break. Eating wasn't a thought, and leaving wasn't an option. Lying in bed and staring into the perpetual darkness were the options I preferred, while I mourned the death of my unborn child, whom I myself murdered. Loneliness ached my heart, so much so, I felt sick all of the time. The same feeling that rests on your being after suffering a broken heart. Oh, how my stomach churned as I thought about the life literally being sucked out of my body.
Spring Break was over. Two Sundays had passed and today is Monday. Returning to school 15lbs. lighter was challenging given the weight that was pulling on my heart. The last time I walked these halls, I was a pregnant teenager. Today I would make my debut as a depressed, suicidal, anorexic murderer.
5 Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God. Psalm 43:5
Monday. This day of the week gets a bad rap for many reasons. The weekend is over, morning traffic, and for some it's laundry day. Well, added to this list of "reasons I dreaded Monday", was the fact that this Monday, I was to return to school. My peers didn't want to give up the sleeping in promised by Spring Break, but I'd rather have some reason to leave my room. I came to grips with the fact that I became a murderer a week before (well, sort of) and with cabin fever setting in,I was ready to go back to school. It was strange, the feeling I felt, walking through the halls. I felt as if everyone was staring at me, and everyone had somehow found out, and everyone knew how horrible I was! In actuality, I believe, everyone stared and wondered what happened to me the week before spring break and why I had looked so skinny. It was assumed that people began to notice the weight I gained during the school year, but not eating for two weeks will sure cut some fat. The dreadful thoughts of questions flooded my mind, followed by the lies I would tell to anyone who asked where I was. The most believable one was I had a stomach ulcer and had to miss school. Yup! that'll do. That's the story and I'm sticking to it.
"Was up Eash? where you been?"
"You good Eash? You disappeared on us"
"What happened Eash? Where was you at?"
Same answer every time. "Oh I'm good!" followed by a smile, a few chuckles, "Yeah I just had a stomach ulcer, that's all". It began to become easier to say as the day progressed.
I looked forward to the moment that I would see my guy. My locker was strategically placed next to his earlier that year so we'd meet up by chance once in a while. Although I desperately looked forward to a "chance encounter" with him, I felt sick thinking about what could happen during said "chance encounter." Would he speak to me? Was he avoiding my calls last week? What if he wants to break up? These were very pressing questions to a teen without any real responsibilities to worry about and nothing to fill my mind except the poor little baby I killed. Eventually, at the end of the school day, we met at our lockers, by "chance."
While im placing textbooks in my locker and taking homework out to place in my totebag (book bags were not cute back then), I looked to my left down the hall and then to my right. As I looked to the right, I saw him a little ways down the hall. He was very easy to pick out of a crowd, a 6'-4" person usually is. At that moment my heart dropped to the floor. The sight of him scared me to near death, and I felt like I would vomit. Right there in my locker, all over the hallway, I was a nervous wreck. Walking the opposite direction was a considerable plan of action, but considering that I couldn't move it wouldn't be executed after all. I kept my face in my locker for what seemed an eternity. Then, a light shove on my shoulder, I look up and its him! Oh my! what do I say? what do I do? I probably looked really strange and pale in the face now that I think of it. We stared at each other for a bit, and he grabs me, pulling me in to his chest for a hug. (I was and still am 5'5")
"Ummm hey..." were the muffled words I said, from his chest.
"Was up stranger?"
"Where you been at?" he said. I stepped back, looked at him and smiled. He said, "you coming with me?" We both knew the answer to that question. I locked my locker, and off we went.
Neither of us spoke much,if any, about the abortion of our child. The need to talk about it was there on both sides but the desire wasn't. An elephant would forever remain in the room of our relationship which changed forever. It was tainted. No longer were we two kids, in love, having fun. No. Now we were trying to cope with this decision that was made for our lives with little input from us. Holding on to a once blossoming friendship by threads and barely having any real in depth conversations anymore. I missed the way things were, not only between us, but within myself. I wasn't happy and wouldn't be again for a long long time.
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
I graduated High school June 2007 with plans to attend college in Atlanta. It was a last minute decision to be honest. Penn State, NYU, Ithaca and Drexel were my first choices...not in that order. In 2006 I saw the movie ATL and I decided I wanted to move to Atlanta and go to Spelman college. I'm dead serious! I now know it's not such a good idea to make life decisions based on movies, but I was 17 at the time. To make sure there was a trip to Atlanta, I also applied to Clark Atlanta University as a back up. I was actually accepted into Penn State, Drexel and Lincoln University. Spelman College, unfortunately didn't accept me, but CAU did.
August of 2007 I was on a bus to Atlanta, alone. I said goodbye to a few of my life long friends but that was it. I was running away from my family, my problems, my mistakes, my guilt. I wanted to start over in a place where nobody knew me and I could do whatever I wanted. I had a hole in my soul as big as Texas and I tried to fill it with anything I thought would fit. I smoked until I passed out, drank until I blacked out, and was so numb I barely knew what day it was most of the time. The clubs were my second home. I was at somebody's club every night of the week, but I found that no amount of music, liquor or drugs would fix my broken heart.
Years of pain and sorrow filled my empty apartment when I was home alone, and I couldn't bear the silence. I moved out of Atlanta and into Decatur, a nearby city east of Atlanta, and ended up living right next to a church. I would pass by this church everyday going to the mall and catching the bus to various places, but I never went in. While walking by one day, I noticed people leaving and getting in their cars. They were all young like me and what struck me the most was that they looked so happy. What were they doing at a church that could possibly be so much fun? I was looking so intently and not paying attention to the ground, and WHAM! I tripped over a fallen sign.
As days passed and my foot began to heal, the scar was a constant reminder of that church and how happy those kids were. I wanted that. I wanted to be happy again. I wanted to be genuinely happy to just be alive. (To this day I have a scar on my foot by the way).
I finally went to the church for service one day, and it changed my life forever. I gave my life to Christ October 2008, the best decision I have ever made. God has blessed my life in more ways than I can explain. I have peace and self-confidence. That empty, God-sized, void in my soul is filled and running over! Love had found me and it feels so good to know I always have a friend in Jesus. My Counselor, my Confidant, my Best Friend, my Brother. I Love Him. I Love the very idea of Him. Thinking of the love God has for me gives me butterflies. His words are inviting and His company is always welcomed in my heart.I was deceived to feel like
I had to find these qualities in another person, to be showered with tangible gifts to be considered special, and my total existence hinged on the words of my peers. Now I look back on those dark days and wonder how I made it through life without Jesus. It was God's plan to bring me to Him, I thought I was running from my problems, and I did when I ran into His arms. I was able to forgive myself for the abortion when I understood God already forgave me when Jesus died on the cross over 2000 years ago. And He forgave you too, my dear friends! There is nothing you've done that is too bad for God to forgive you of. He is waiting with open arms for you to come to Him. Give Jesus a chance! Submit to the will God has for your life and you'll be glad you did.
*****please consider this before considering abortion...about 52 million reported "legal" abortions have occurred in the U.S between 1973 and 2011. God does not bless us with life for it to be taken away. There are other alternatives to consider, but first consider abstinence. Wait for God to bring you the person he wants you to marry. Stay pure and holy, giving God glory, waiting to have sex until marriage. One MAN and One WOMAN. This is God's will for your life.********