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Bad For Me
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1711846643 (ISBN13: 9781711846644)
There’s a myth that floats around in my city.
The one thing this city doesn’t know about me is that I’m not your average woman. I’m a fighter, and when someone messes with my family, I will fight, and when my freedom is stolen, I will do whatever it takes to get it back.
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I exist because of a lot of bad choices—and no, not just choices I made. Choices my parents made, and even those of my great-grandparents.
My great-grandfather was a wealthy man. From what my grandmother told me, he owned a mansion on a nice estate, had maids, and butlers, and even owned two beautiful stallions on a gorgeous ranch. He would take those same stallions to derbies and make so much money off of them.
None of it lasted, though. He ended up gambling away all his money, losing it to the leader of some Italian gang during a drunk poker night. He was forced to pay everything upfront. No negotiations whatsoever.
They swiped him of his money and left him dry. They even took his stallions. He had to move his pregnant wife at the time—my great-grandmother, Liza—out of the safety of her home after two months because he couldn’t afford the mortgage or the bills. They rented a rundown two-bedroom apartment after the fiasco and our family has had bad luck ever since. Thanks, Great Papa Julio.
Great-Grandma Liza gave birth to her first and only child—my grandmother—three months later, and from what I was told, my great-grandma assumed her daughter would soar and become a nurse who helped people and saved lives like she did.
Well, I’m afraid she was wrong. My Nana Maria became a coke junkie, and then she got pregnant with my mother, Carmen, and tried to change her life, but after she had my mother, I assume the stress caught up with her because her sobriety didn’t last for long.
When I realized this, I was sure the Almaraz family was cursed because, just like Grandma Maria, Carmen turned into a junkie too—only her addiction wasn’t to drugs, it was alcohol.
Carmen got clean for a while and had two kids, both with different men. Carmen could never settle down, so she turned to alcohol again after having her kids, as well as drugs.
She overdosed when I was fifteen, leaving me and my brother, Silas, in the care of my Nana Maria. She wasn’t much fun to live with because she swore she had cleaned herself up and had now become ever-so-holy, acting as if she could walk on water. But we dealt with it. Having some place to stay for the time being was better than not having anywhere at all, or ending up in foster care. Plus, she loved cooking and I loved the free meals. So did Silas.
It was okay there…for a while.
I’ve tried to break the curse in my family by being the good egg—you know, the one who works a steady job, pays her bills and taxes on time, and takes care of her only family.
I refuse to be like my mother and grandparents who threw their lives away for drugs, alcohol, and gambling, but that doesn’t mean I’m perfect.
I have my moments. Trust me, I am not pure, but at least I’m not a junkie. I think what sets me apart is that I enjoy my freedom. I don’t let the worries of the world sink into my mind and body the way my family did.
Nana Maria couldn’t handle having a baby, so she reverted to cocaine. My mother couldn’t handle life with routine, so she went back to alcohol for a little fun.
Well, I get my fun from being free. I don’t like to settle—I just like to go. Of course, with Silas, I had to at least pick one place where he could go to school and get by, but he grew up fast.
My freedom, though? It always leads me down paths I shouldn’t take. Take this very moment for example. I can’t figure out why I keep coming back to the same man’s house. I lay in bed with him almost every night and scramble for my things early in the mornings, just so I can make it back home to shower, get dressed, and make it to a photoshoot on time.
I met this man, Ellis Butler, at a press conference for the place I work for, Mission Magazine—a magazine about diversity, culture, and the changes happening due to social media and technology. Ellis was the photographer for one of the shoots, and since we both have a passion for creating art behind the camera, we hit it off over lukewarm coffee and stale, overly-sweet donuts. It was a long night, but he made it entertaining.
He asked for my number, we hooked up one night, and we haven’t been able to stop since. The kicker is that he’s over twenty years older than me. He does things that I never thought I’d like and, surprisingly, he knows a woman’s body better than I can even begin to know mine. I guess I can say I like him. He’s a good distraction when shit gets tough.