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Updated: Dec 13, 2022

My name is Missouria Jones. But Mama always called me Misery. It’s like she has a problem with me. From the moment I was born, all the way to… well as long as I can remember; Mama has always been on my case. What to wear. What not to wear. No red nail polish. Put that gloss away. And put those weaves away too. In fact, if it weren't for her needing me for something, she'd never pay me any attention. Half the time, when she does, she's too busy yelling at me for something that I hadn't do. “Misery, you left the juice out. Misery, turn that TV down. Misery, you are getting on my last nerve.” But what Mama doesn’t know is, she gets on my last nerve too.

Last time I can remember she said something nice to me, was probably when I was first born. She thought she was giving me a good name: Missouria. That's what she said. It's like I could hear her voice. I mean that was 16 years ago, but that's probably the sweetest sound I've ever heard. And then after that, it's like she hated my existence. She hated my guts. Probably because I looked just like my daddy.

My daddy was cold blooded too. Maybe that's where I get it from. My daddy made my Mama fall in love. He took her places and showed her things. He made her feel like a woman. But then Mama got pregnant. And my daddy left her. I'm not really sure why. Was it the hormones or her attitude. Could she have been wanting and needing too much. But it doesn't matter. My daddy said enough was enough and he left her. And it's just been me and Mama for the past 16 years. Mama and Misery. Misery and Mama.

I do love my Mama though. Even though she gets on my last nerves and I could probably do without her. But I guess that's what I get thinking I was grown anyway. Now here I am. Looking just like Mama. Five months pregnant with swollen feet. And no daddy for my baby. I'm sure this isn't the life Mama wanted for me anyway. Yet, here I am. And here I stay. All on my own.

It's gets tough. Being a sophomore in high school. When everybody is looking at you. Like you're an anomaly or some kind of magical creature. I mean, at my school kids aren't walking around 16 and pregnant. That’s just for TV. No. I am one-of-a-kind Misery Jones. And that's how I feel. Like I'm living in misery.

My baby's daddy, James, doesn't want to have anything to do with me or our baby. He's on football team. And he's gone places, says the coach. But he aint going places with me, other than to the bedroom. And after we did our thing, do you know he had the nerve to tell me that was the best he ever had. Then left me high and dry. If I was the best he ever had, he'd still be here. But he's not. No. He's out chasing tail on every other squad.

I love James though. He was my first. And at this rate, being pregnant and 16 with no baby daddy, it looks like it was also my last. I'm about to be on my own. No man gonna want to be lovin’ on me. Well… at least not til I’m in my 30s and my own child is grown. My whole life is gone. But that's okay. I couldn't do anything worse to make Mama more upset with me.

I was tired. I was tired from a long day at school. My feet were swollen. My belly was round. And my back was aching. I just wanted to walk in the house and lay down. But mom had other ideas. She was trying to pay the rent. So she had visitors over. And I wasn't allowed in the house when mom have visitors. Nope. I was supposed to be running errands or not be available. But I was tired so I didn't care. I sat on my bed and I all I could hear was the banging on my wall of Mama and her friend… as she would put it.

Mom must have thought I was really stupid to think that I didn't know who her friends were. Mama was knocking boots to pay the rent. I mean, I guess nobody could blame her, seeing as how daddy left us and never paid a drop of child support. And now James is leaving me. I guess I’ll be resorting to the only next best thing I can come up with, too.

I don't wanna be like Mama though. She just be giving it up to any ol’ body. If I'm gonna be able to pay my rent, it's gonna be with some high quality men. You know. The kind Kevin Samuel’s would talk about. I just got to figure out what Im gone do with my baby in the meantime. I mean because I’m not like my mom. And I refuse to be like her. I'm gonna be different. My men gonna be valuable. They gone have a job. I'm looking for six figures.

The walls banged and banged for what seemed like hours. Bang! Bang! And I just wanted to sleep. I needed some rest. I head throbbing. It started to feel like it was in a vice grip. As I'm laying on my bed, I wanna scream at the top of my lungs. Because this isn't the life I ask for myself.

As I lay there with my head bouncing back and forth, through the vibrations of Mama and her friend, I realized I had to make it end. I hated life anyway. What was the point of continuing this rollercoaster of nonsense while bringing a whole ‘nother kid into this mess. I mean we could talk about all the wonderful things that I really wanted in life and wanted to see or wanted to have, but who was I kidding. It wasn’t going to happen to me. Not with a whole baby on my side.

I mean seriously. I thought I was going to college. I thought I was gonna be somebody with a degree. Get up out of Mama's house so she could look up to me. So I could show her that I am not my environment and I'm not my daddy. Even more so, I could show her that I am better than her, 'cause I made something to myself.

But, I knew. I knew without James in my life, that was gonna be hard. 'Cause I'd never see him again and I'd never get another man. And I knew having a baby had 16 threw all those chances out the door. That was the hard part. Knowing that my baby, my little baby would have to go too. I couldn’t leave my baby stuck with Mama.

But it was because of my little baby that I couldn't make it. So I got up and I walked to the bathroom. There were all kinds of prescription meds in that cabinet. Pills all over the place. Mama had to do what she needed to if she was gonna pay the rent. But I decided I was going to take a shot of bleach right before throwing back five hydrocodones, a glass of codeine, and a handful of those tiny valium pills. I was ready for the long sleep.

It was a little quiet in the house. I guess mom was on a break from her new friend, when I came out of the bathroom. I went to my bed and sat down. But before I could fully place my bottom on the sheets, Mama bursted into my door.

“Girl, why are you here? I told you when I'm having company that you cannot be here. You need to find yourself somewhere to go. You throwing my vibes off. Besides, aint no man gonna want to pay me well if they see a kid like you around here. All pregnant and shit”

“My head hurts and my feet are swollen”

“And that's my fault? It aint my fault that you decided to go in and get pregnant”

“But…Mama, I just wanna lay down I promise I won't be no bother to you or your friends”

“Oh. Oh… is that an attitude. Like you know me. You think you better than me? You're not better than me, Misery.” And then she slammed the door.

I don't know what had gotten into Mama. It was like seeing me pregnant made her even more frustrated with the fact that I was even around. I needed to go to sleep. I hated being home.

After Mama closed my door, knocking down two photos off of my dresser, I put my feet in my bed and I grab my diary. I was gonna leave her a note.

Dear Mama,

Welp. You're welcome. I know you didn't want me here all these years anyway. I mean, you only named me Misery. I'm sorry for being a bother and I'm sorry for getting pregnant. I thought me and James was gonna be together forever, but I guess he's just gonna do me like daddy did you. I loved you Mama. I did. I don't know why you didn't like me. Why you would always yell at me. Why you would never tell me you loved me. I don't know what I did wrong, but I loved you Mama. I couldn't take it no more and I felt like if me and my baby was gonna be around it was just gonna make you more angry. So I decided to help you out. I hope you could understand, Mama. I love you.

I put my notepad on the dresser and I close my eyes. White lights and sirens. I think I’m in an ambulance. Shaking and rattling of the bed as the sirens blared above my head.

Shit! It didn't work. I was upset. Now Mama was really going to tear into my ass. She's gonna be mad that I had the nerve to try to do something about it. I'm sure she ain't understand my letter at all. Anyway, she's probably telling the police not to resuscitate me.

The nurse came in. It had been about four days. How did I know? Well because of the date on the wall next to the one telling me who my nurse was. I had been in a coma. I remember coming to, for a moment. Seeing all those lights and doctors leaning all over me. And the cool air in the hospital. It always smelled like a mixture of Payless and mothballs. Although, I did like the smell of Payless Shoe Source.

From the medical bed rolling down the hall, I searched for her. I didn't see Mama though. And then I saw black again. I woke up again. That’s when the nurse told me. I had been sleep for days.

“Days? but I gotta go to school… and… and my baby. I got… I got things to do.” I tried to gather my words, but I was just so confused what was going on.

“And where's my mother?” I asked the nurse.

“Your mama? Ohhh honey. Your mama was so distraught by your letter that… well, its a nice lady coming here to see you soon Misery.”

I corrected the nurse. If I was gonna have to deal with it, I was gonna put it straight.

“My name is Missouria Jones and I need to see my mama.”

“Missouria, uhh, Miss Jones. That's not possible.”

“What you mean? Im only 16. I need to have my Mama here. I can't be out here without an adult consent.”

“Yes, Missouria. I don't know who else is gonna be able to tell you… how to tell you, but your mama gone.”

“What you mean my mama is gone?”

“Ya’ll were more alike than you knew. She’s gone honey… well… your letter. She couldn't… she couldn't handle it. I mean… she couldn't take it.”

My mama killed herself? I was the one trying to kill myself. Nothing the nurse was saying was making sense to me. I couldn't believe.

“Uhh, I need to see someone else. Is there any other adult in the room.”

As I yelled towards the nurse, knowing that she couldn't do anything 'cause, one, I was a minor and two, I didn't know who she was. I touched my belly. Where was my belly?

“My baby”, as I yelled out to the nurse. The nurse came over touching my forehead, within seconds I had passed out. Beeping and movements once again swarm my mind.

The next time I woke up, it was a day later. That's when the nurse told me my adventures down Codeine Dream Land led to my demise. My whole life’s demise. My mama was gone. My baby was gone. James could care less about me. And now I'm sitting in the hospital with my hand cuffed to the bed waiting for a caseworker. A caseworker. I couldn't stand it. Hell, if it wasn't already bad enough that I had to live through my mistake, my mom, my baby. I was alone. And I had nobody. Now I truly was Misery Jones.

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