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Novel-making Drive  

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My name is Erika Hinaloc, a single parent. I prefer to think it that way.  I'm  a 33-year old mother of  two sons. Dale, my eldest, is 11 years old and is now in his fifth grade in the only elementary school in the outskirt. My youngest, Zed, is 9 years old, and is exactly the opposite of his older brother in most things. Zed had never seen his father, and Dale couldn't remember his father's face anymore. And that's what it should be, he should learn to forget his father. He should be able to heal the wounds caused by such horrid past, slowly but constantly.

My husband has been held behind bars for molesting our eldest son. I hated my husband for causing so much pain and for breaking the life of our son and our family. I hated him, and I still hate him now. Right now I still can't tell how much have healed inside my son, but lately I saw him slowly getting back to his old, happy self again.

For eight years now I keep struggling to raise my kids without letting them feel the hunger and the constant struggle to survive each day. They could not feel or see it anywhere around them but in my eyes how hard it is to balance everything all by myself. But they're still too young to see them, and I must blink them away before they ever see it. At some points in my life I was tempted to gave in, to relinquish everything and surrender, but I also knew that as long as they're there who keep inspiring me to make the best out of myself, I'm not gonna give up. I will never, never give up for them.

I have left behind me all those vices I used to learn from my husband, but I can't deny the reality that drugs and alcohol are the demanding trades in the neighborhood, and my children are prone to follow the wasteful road I had walked on. That is why, with my high hopes to give them the kind of upbringing that they will someday draw good reflections from, I have left my dark past behind for us to move on, and hopefully find a more decent place to live farther away from here.

I managed to find a full-time, permanent job in a shelter for physically and mentally challenged children three years ago, after I've decided there was not much to get from being a bartender and a waitress. It was named The Eden of Angels, a name that for me clearly defines those children living in it. We do not call those children there as mongoloids or retarded, for we believe those terms where cruel and inhuman.

It wasn't that easy to prove to them and to myself that I could recognize my family and my kind of work as two different worlds and should separate their own issues from one another. It's not just a job that requires mere service and plain performance of responsibilities. I've later realized that the more I understand how much it involves commitment and involvement, the more I began to separate myself away from my children, and the more I lose control of the fence that's been guarding them. But just a little more sacrifice, just one more month and we can finally move.

But fate is paving another road for us. A dark, stormy road that leads to nowhere but wilderness. The other day, I rushed hurriedly to this hospital after I'd got a call from school. My children, riding on their bike with Dale on the wheels, crashed to a ditch after they were hit by a truck. My son Dale is having only minor bruises and scratches, but Zed's head was badly injured and is still now under observation. And the doctor told me it would take time for him to recover.

What I don't understand is why our world starts collapsing again when we've already suffered so much and sacrificed so many things, and in time when we are about to escape this world into somewhere more vibrant and promising.

All this time I've always thought we could get over our past, that we could leave them all behind and start anew. But no matter how hard I've tried, the forces beyond my control are trying to push us back into the dark hours of our lives. And now, sitting beside my younger son's hospital bed and watching him sleep the pain away, I feel so helpless as the horrors of the bygones crawl back into me, haunting me again. And, as they flash silently in my mind, I realize that after everything, I still do remember those days so well...

Photograph by Christabelle. Please CLICK HERE to visit her website. Thanks!

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