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A Letter To God

A Letter

To God

China Meyers

A Letter To God

© Copyright 2019 China Meyers Published by China Meyers

All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced, or otherwise transmitted or recorded, for any purpose, without prior written permission by China Meyers.

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Printed in the United States of America.

ISBN 978-1-7337839-0-3

A Letter To God

M‌y dreams took on a life of their own, sometimes warning me, sometimes protecting me. Other times, they came true.

This particular night was no dream, it was a nightmare about to happen. It was then my brother Snake said to me, “We’re gonna rob a after-hours club.”

It seemed like right after that, I was holding a gun in my hand. I know hours had passed since he said it, but it seemed like only minutes. I found myself in the back seat of his ’76 Lincoln. It was as though everything was going in slow motion, as if someone had pushed “slow” on a VCR.

My brother said, “Get out and cover the license plate.”

As he was talking, I put my hand in my pocket, keeping a tight grip on my mother’s rosary beads. I never knew what to do with them. I just knew I felt very close to God when I touched them.

Time seemed to stop as I thought to myself how crazy this was. But I had no one else and nowhere to go. No one wanted to take me in.

I got out and covered the license plate with cardboard and duct tape. I thought of my brother’s girlfriend Butter. She was a kind soul whose last words to me had been, “You’ll be okay. Don’t worry about nothing. You’ll be just fine.” Somehow I had believed her.

Back in the car, we drove a few blocks and then parked in front of the club. My brother’s friend sat in the car and kept it running.

Snake handed me a gun and said, “You know what to do.”

Before we left the house, Snake had given everyone their instructions. My job was to make the bartender open the safe. We were told she had the combination.

At the door, my brother’s friend Smokey gave the password, and it opened quickly.

Once inside, I went behind the bar. Immediately, the bartender said, “You can’t come back here.”

I took out my gun and told her this was a stick-up. Smokey repeated my words and told everybody to get down on the floor with their hands in the air. I instructed the bartender to open the safe, but she claimed not to know the combination.

“I know you do,” I told her, “and you’ve got three seconds to open it, or I’m going to blow your brains all over it. Now, bitch! Now!”

My brother knew there was a lot of money in that safe. A crackhead who had worked the door told him that by Friday there were thousands of dollars ready to be deposited. In return for this information, Snake got him high with free coke.

The bartender removed the money from the safe and placed it in my bag. Meanwhile, my brother made everyone else in the club turn over their money and jewelry.

As I look back and think about these times, I am deeply ashamed. How could I have done this? At the time, I did whatever the job entailed, whatever my brother asked me to do. But I was only 15 years old, still a little girl. I just wanted to play with dolls, have fun, and be loved.

I find solace in knowing

that someday you will forgive me, God.

I was 10 years old when my mother told me I was going to Egypt to live with my sister Michelle. Was she crazy? I didn’t even know this sister. My other sister, Shasha, became angry. She wanted to go in my place, but my mother would not allow it. She was afraid the African men might try to take advantage of her. Shasha was a little heavy and looked like a woman.

I couldn’t know it then, but my life was about to change. I would go from a very happy, little girl to a tough, young woman with a wall around me that no one could penetrate, except for the people I thought loved me. Yet most of the time, these were the very people who hurt me the most. This would continue until I was 18 years old.

That was the day I found you, God. It was then

I realized I wasn’t all alone in the world.

Someone did love me, and there were

people going through far worse than I

could ever imagine. That’s what happened

when I found you, God.

I stopped thinking of only myself.

I had a bad feeling as I boarded the plane, as if something was trying to hold me back.

I think your angels were trying to save me

my whole life. Even now, they watch

over me and keep me safe.

I always try to keep you in my heart.

My sister Michelle held my hand as we went to England, then Egypt, and finally Zambia. She won a scholarship to study abroad. I was enrolled in elementary school. It was hard because I was the only one in my class who spoke English.

I was worried, but things weren’t going too badly. We lived on campus and met a family in which the mother was African, and the father was white. I pretended I was part of their family. The empty feeling inside of me was starting to go away.

I learned the father was my sister’s professor. I played with the kids after school. We rode bikes and played tag. They were nice people. I enjoyed seeing the love and affection they had for one another. Every day, I could not wait to get home from school and play with the kids.

One day after school, my sister was missing when I got home. I became afraid. I had a fear of being left alone in a country about which I knew very little. I went from room to room on campus, looking for Michelle. Finally, a girl told me she had seen her going toward the guys’ dorms.

Along the way, I kept asking everyone I encountered about Michelle until one man said, “She’s in Zamuba’s room upstairs, on the left, Room 202.”

There was no reply to my knock, so I knocked again and again. Finally, someone asked, “Who is it?”

As I called out to Michelle, I heard her respond with my nickname., “Kitty, I’ll be out in a minute.”

I grew tired of waiting. Turning the knob, I saw her sitting on a bed with a man I had never seen before that day. I didn’t know a lot, but I did remember that before we left for Egypt, my sister was married. While the room was dimly lit, I was almost sure this wasn’t her husband.

Michelle was furious and marched me out of there to what seemed an even darker place. The more we walked, the madder she got. And the more alone I began to feel. Again.

When we got home, Michelle was cold and distant. I tried to talk to her, but she wouldn’t answer me. Each day that passed, her demeanor grew harsher.

I decided to write a letter to my mother. When I was finished, Michelle proceeded to read it and then rip it up into pieces.

“I’m not sending that letter,” she informed me. “You better write a nicer one. One that is happy.”

What she meant was that my letter was sad and lonely. It said: “Help! Please let me come home. I don’t want to stay here anymore. Come and get me.”

In my new letter to my mother, I wrote, “Dear Mom, I love you, and I am having a great time. I love and miss you all. Kiss my dog Go-Go. Love always, Kitty.”

When my letter arrived home, my other sister, Mesha, read it. Later, she would admit that it didn’t sound like me.

“It seems as if she has a gun to her back,” she said.

This was a phrase my mother always used when she thought someone was being forced to say things against their will. My sisters and I still use this expression today.

I can’t remember if it was days or weeks later that my sister Mesha convinced her boss to lend her the money to buy me a plane ticket home.

Michelle had gone from badgering me to beating me with a horse whip. I don’t know how much more I could have taken. Days before I was to finally leave this place, my sister took me to a strange woman’s house and left me there. I was left alone a lot.

Do you think that perhaps some people come into this world and have to endure a certain amount of torment?

I sat on the floor one night as I waited for my sister to take me home. I thought about my dog Go-Go. That quick, I fell asleep and began to dream about a White woman taking me by the hand. She told me that if I needed any help, to just call, and she would get me whatever I needed. It seemed as though we were on a plane.

I awoke to a knock on the door. Two men from the United Nations stood there, telling me that my family was looking for me. I grabbed what clothes I had, and they took me to the airport. Once we arrived, they told me I was going home to my family. I cried uncontrollably as we walked toward the plane. A heavy burden was being lifted from me.

On the plane, a White woman took my hand and said, “If you need any help, just call and we’ll get you whatever you need.” Just like in my dream!

My legs began to shake. I couldn’t believe I was going home. I had just endured the longest two years of my life.

I didn’t know it then, but I am sure

that you, God, got me through it.

My sister Mesha met me at the airport. I didn’t let her see me cry. Imagine, me, 12 years old, and I’m afraid to let my sister see me cry. With every step I took, I held my breath and held back my tears. I looked up at my sister and took her hand as we walked towards my bags.

I had such a sad feeling in my heart. I knew it was over and there was no reason to feel sad. Yet I did.

Even though I know you’re with me, God,

when I think about that time, it brings me to my knees.

I was so glad to be home. I laid down on my bed and cried myself to sleep.

I awoke with the sun warming my face. It made me feel happy inside. I vowed to put Africa behind me forever. Eventually, not wanting to dwell on the past, I forgave my sister.

I think it’s against you, God.

You don’t forget, but you do forgive.

I cried myself to sleep again that next night. I had a dream I was on a bus. It was yellow like a bumblebee. I never knew what my dreams meant until they came true. Sometimes, my dreams meant nothing at all. They were frightening, but I never told anyone about them.

I had been home a few months when my mother told me I was going away with my sister Michelle again.

“There will be a lot of kids to play with,” she assured me. “You’ll have fun.”

My worst nightmare was about to come true. Every part of me knew this was wrong. I thought perhaps Michelle would try to get back at me for busting in on her and her friend.

I turned and ran into my room.

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