The Godmother

The Godmother

A Story by Mandi Emme

This is an essay that I wrote for my English Class. The prompt being "Education and Identity"

    I wake up in the middle of the night. I’m in my house, everything exactly the same except something is off. Something isn’t right. I don’t hear anything, no one yelling, no fire engines screaming past the streets outside. I get out of bed, curiosity rushing through my veins. I walk with my bare feet out to the living room. As I turn the corner of the hallway, I smell something awful, something…dead. Three bodies lay on the dirty living room floor. Although I can’t make out the faces, I know who they are. Mom is sitting up against the computer desk, and my two brothers are laying side by side next to the leather sofa my Father bought last week. Terrified, I run outside. I don’t know where I’m going but I have to get out of here, I have to find help and safety. I’m all alone. My oldest brother is no longer with us, he moved away with his wife and my father, although he wouldn’t be of any use but to harm me anyways is at work. I keep running but the streets are empty, all the houses seem empty as well, no lights, no midnight chatter. Where are all the gangsters? Where are the bad people? Are there no parties on a Sunday night in the ghetto? Suddenly as I’m running, the ground starts to crack, volcanoes erupt and a dark shadowy figure appears behind me. Is it chasing me? Yes it is. I run faster, it seems like I’ve been running for miles on end. I trip, and fall off a cliff, I’m just about to hit the ground when I wake up sweating bullets and crying out to my mother for help. I have this dream almost every night.
    It’s three in the morning; soon my Father will be home form work. I’m terrified. He’s the dark shadowy figure from my dreams. He killed my mother and my two brothers, he made them obey his every command, they are not free, they are not alive, and now he’s after me.
    When I was eleven years old, my father began to sexually abuse me, this continued on till the time I was thirteen, it seemed as though he had simply grown bored of me, and I couldn’t have been happier. I wished for all men to think I was boring. I didn’t want to leave my house because I felt that men would stare at me the same way my father always did. Because of this experience, my attendance at school dropped significantly. I was afraid to leave my house. I was afraid that the men outside would look at me in that same perverse way my father would. I was afraid that someone might know that I was dirty. The more I missed school, the less I knew what was going on in my classes, and consequently the less intelligent I felt. I always returned to school after an absence completely confused. I hated that feeling. Aside from that, my friends began noticing the self inflicted wounds all over my arms and the weight I had gain so quickly. I slowly started to drift apart form them and then I had no one. What was the point in going to school? I had no friends, I wasn’t smart and I didn’t deserve the education that was being offered to me anyway. I was dirty, I let my father do those things to me. I was a horrible person. My self worth was so low that I didn’t care about my own life, much less my education.
    Soon after my fourteenth birthday, my Godmother who baptized me noticed that something was wrong. I wasn’t the same outgoing, happy girl that I used to be when she met me years ago. She started spending time with me. She became my best friend, we spend all day together on the weekends so long as it was inside her home. I didn’t want to be seen outside. After a few months of trying to get to the bottom of things she finally got it out of me. I told her the truth about my father and she took me away from my family. The adoption was finalized on February 18, 2003, a month before my fifteenth birthday.
    Living with her was a drastic change, going from the ghetto to a nice middle class gated neighborhood, going from an abusive and ignorant family to a nice, loving, and educated family. It was all overwhelming. Things began to change the moment I walked in their home. They set the ground rules right away. 1) “You have to go to school Mandi, no matter what. That is the number one rule of this house. Your Padrino (Spanish word for Godfather) and I are in school as well, we work full time jobs and we have you and our daughter Ixzel. If we can do it, there is no reason for you to say that you cant. I will not Allow you to live in this house if you don’t show an effort to graduate high school.” That was their only rule for me. I had to go to school. Well, I didn’t want them to kick me out so I went. Soon, the night terrors went away, I began to losing weight, and my wounds began to scare and become less apparent. I was regaining my self worth a little at a time.
    Now, the moment when I learned that I really loved school, was eleventh grade in Ms. Linkers English class. She was an amazing teacher, she had us writing essays all the time. I hated them at first because I never did well. My Godmother noticed my problem with essays and sat down with me one night, a red pen in one hand and the essay I had due the next day (I had already finished it so I though) in the other. She wrote all over it with corrections. It was distorted from its completed version. She handed it to me and said “rewrite it.” And so I did. I rewrote it again and again and again until she thought it was good enough to turn in. She did this with all my essays from then on. I hated it so much that I started to lie and say I didn’t have anything due, but she was always one step ahead of the game. She spoke with my English Instruction often and knew when I had a paper due.
    Eventually, I began to get it. I understood why all the corrections, why all the grammar errors. I understood English, I understood writing and I began to love it. I started writing for fun. I wrote short stories, I wrote in diaries, I wrote emails to old friends that I was always afraid to send out. The point was that I wrote them, and after I did, I felt free. I felt like I had a voice. Some people sing their feelings, some people run their frustrations out, some people solve their problems out with formulas. My Godmother taught me that my happiness was in writing. I have wanted to become the best writer I could be since then, and the only way is through education.

© 2011 Mandi Emme

Author's Note

Mandi Emme
I received an A on this essay but how can I make it better? How can I turn it into a great fiction piece?

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Added on March 18, 2011
Last Updated on March 21, 2011
Tags: Essay


Mandi Emme
Mandi Emme

Long Beach, CA

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