Sometimes Good People Do Bad Things

I’m a good person.  I tell myself this all the time, but right now, I have a hard time believing that.  I admit that I have guilty addictions and I’m still working on trying to cure myself, but I struggle sometimes.  I haven’t had the most steady of income, and being a single mother is a huge responsibility, one that often drains me and makes me exhausted by the time my day’s done.  I try to stay strong for my daughter, Cara, but I’ve slipped sometimes.  I would sometimes come home late and I would find myself reaching for the spoon and a lighter.  I try to make sure Cara doesn’t see me, but the last time I slipped, she caught me.

“Mommy, what are you doing?  What’s that in your hand?”

I couldn’t let my daughter see me smoke the rock that rested at the end of the spoon.  I felt more guilty for telling my daughter to turn away, but there was no hiding what I was about to do.  I hated letting my daughter see me like this, but she already saw the rock in my hand.  “Turn away sweetie!  Turn around and close your eyes.  Count to ten and everything will be alright?”
Cara turned away from me and did as I told.  I lit the rock up immediately and took in a quick puff of the smoke.  By the time she had nearly finished counting, I put out the fire and put the spoon down.

I signaled to her that I was done and that she could open her eyes.  “It’s ok now, Cara.  You can open your eyes.”  My daughter tried to hide her sadness, but she didn’t know how to express it other than to frown.

“Why did you do that, Mommy?”  My daughter was six, turning on seven, but she was too smart for me to lie to her about my use of drugs.  

“Sometimes good people do bad things, Cara.  This was one of the bad things your Mommy used to do.  Your Mommy is getting better, but she messed up.”  It hurt me more than anything to have to tell this all to my daughter, but it was all I could manage.  I fought back the tears in my eyes and sent her to bed.  I made sure to kiss her and tuck her in before shutting out the lights.  I never wanted my daughter to see me struggle with my addiction, but there was little that could help me at the time.  

I just started my current job recently and would have to send Cara to daycare most days after school, just because I had to work from the early morning into the late evening at my new job.  I served as one of the employees at the most popular radio station in my city, 97.1, but even though the pay was good and allowed me to pay off most of my bills, it separated me from Cara for most of the day.  Nothing in my life matters more than my daughter, and I was going to do everything I could to provide for her.  

Unfortunately, this job was the best I could find with only a high school diploma and no further education.  It made good pay, but I had to work most of the day away from my daughter, and it filled me with so much stress and grief.  The majority of my daughter’s childhood would be spent waiting at a daycare for her mother to arrive and pick her up.  The stress that amounted during my everyday life was what made me fall back into my addiction and often associated me with bad people.  I sometimes would be short on how much money I had for crack, and my dealer would beat me for being short and ask for more money later.  I would come home from getting my fix and tell my daughter the same thing. “Sometimes good people do bad things, Cara.”  As bad as my life was, I couldn’t imagine my life getting any worse.  That was until yesterday.  

I got into work early yesterday and found an envelope on my desk.  It had a single line of tape across it that said “Watch”.   I opened it up and there was a disk inside.  There is a television set in the break room with a DVD player, so I put the disk in the player and pressed play.  The screen roared to life with loud static then showed two people sitting in chairs, bound to the sides by rope restraints and had their heads covered with bags.  A masked man walked in between them and removed the bags covering their head.  In one chair sat my daughter Cara, her face streaked with tears, and in the other was a woman I didn’t recognize.  “You have a choice to make here Nisha.  You can choose to have your daughter spared, or spare the life of someone you don’t know.”  I began to sob as I saw my baby girl, my daughter Cara beg the man not to kill her.

“Please don’t kill me, mister.”  The other woman sitting next to Cara said the same thing and mentioned how she needed to see her boyfriend named John.  The masked man smacked her across the face.  Cara froze with fear and went silent.  

The masked man pulled out a handgun from his back pocket and pulled back the barrel and let it snap back into place.  “Dial this number I’m about to say and make your choice.  Press 1 if you want to spare your daughter, or press 2 if you want to spare this other woman.”  The man began to tell me the number and I scrambled to grab my phone to type in the number.  “260-330-9702.  Choose wisely, Nisha.”  I scrambled to finish typing the number before he finished speaking and jumped back as the static returned and the video faded to black.  I slipped and fell to the floor as the number picked up and I heard the masked man’s voice again.  “Pick your number and pick wisely, Nisha.  There are no negotiations.”

This was another moment of my life where I felt more guilt than I could manage.  I wanted something, anything to relieve the pain as a mother that I felt in that moment.  I allowed my daughter to not only fall out of my safety, but out of my care as a mother, and into the hands of this sick bastard.  There was nothing left for me to do, nothing left I could do, but pick one of the numbers.  But before I could press a button, I heard Cara’s voice over the phone and froze with fear.  “Don’t let him hurt me, Mommy!”

I spoke with a crack in my voice, trying my best to hide my fear and pain.  “Just close your eyes, sweetie!”  I closed my eyes as my thumb landed on the number 1 button.  I whispered to her “Sometimes good people do bad things, Cara.” and prayed that my daughter would return home to me safely.  


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