The Door Between Us

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My brother and I had just gotten off BART. We were waiting for my mom to pick us up at 4:00 pm, just like every day after school. We were standing there just waiting for her green car to appear.

4:15 pm and no sign of that green car. My stomach was grumbling, and I was regretting not eating breakfast that morning.

4:30 pm and we were still waiting. I didn't have my phone, so I couldn't call anybody.

4:45 pm and still no sign of my mom. My eyes started tearing up, and it was getting harder to breathe as thoughts of my mom forgetting us, or her getting in an accident, flew around in my head. I was so close to letting my tears fall, but I didn't want to worry my brother. I couldn't scare him, so I pulled myself together, took a deep breath and waited.

It was 5:15 pm when my auntie finally came to pick us up. When we asked where my mom was all she said was, "No se preocupen. Su mama esta en su casa." Don't worry your mom's at your house. Yet three days passed and we still had no idea where my mom was.


I'm 16 years old and drugs have always been a part of my life. Not because I use them, but because my mom is an alcoholic. This is why she didn't pick us up from BART that day. She was in the hospital because she had consumed too much alcohol. My mom's not the only one who has let me down because of addictions. My cousin, who I looked up to and who I thought was going to be the first to go to college, dropped out of high school because of drugs. I'm tired, sad and angry. Drugs don't only affect the addict. They affect the children and family members and friends of the people using them.

When we found out where my mom was, we visited her. I sat with my mom while she ate chicken soup while my brother waited outside. When my grandma finished talking to her and left the room, my mom hugged me tight, reminding me to do well in school, and take care of my brother. She told me she didn't know when she was going to get out. I was crying thinking she'd never get out again. She was crying too. My cousin asked if my brother could just hug my mom in the hallway and the doctors said, "Yes." She gave my brother a quick hug and then they closed the door.

That day in the hospital it was the door separating us, but really our whole lives the alcohol has been separating us from being close to my mom.

With a Perspective I'm Andrea Sigala.

Andrea Sigala is 16 and attends the Life Academy for Health and Bioscience High School in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhod.