A Mother’s Love, A Son’s Regret (Excerpt)

 "A Mother's Love, A Son's Regret" (Excerpt)
By. Corey Porter

As a child, I've told her she made me sick. I've reminded her often that she was annoying. I've told her to shut up in front of my friends one day. That made me feel tough, cool, grown, which is everything a teen wants to feel like. I've often forgotten her birthday as a child. She never reminded me, so I treated it like it was just another day. I don't know what made her so annoying to me. Oh, wait, I remember. My Mother would always try to correct or change me. She would say, "Don't hang around him! He's trouble!" Or "Stay away from that guy because he's up to no good!" 
The lectures would never stop. My Mother would say, "Don't smoke this and don't drink that." She would ask, "Did you do your homework? Did you fill out more job applications today?" It was a dream of mine that one day I wouldn't have to hear her voice every morning, nagging and complaining. 
 My Mother would always leave me notes on the refrigerator, reminding me of everything I thought I already knew. She would write, "Do the dishes, clean your room, take out the garbage, LOOK FOR A JOB, I left you $10 on the kitchen table." She would also sign "Mom Loves You" and encourage me to read Exodus 20:12.
I knew it was a Bible scripture, but I never opened the Bible to see what Exodus 20:12 read. The Bible was for old people, I thought. I never told my Mother that I loved her too. I'm sure she knew I loved her. I mean, I am her son, right? She had to know I loved her.

Now, what I'm about to tell you changed my life forever. 
I was 19 years old at the time driving with some friends I've known since high school. 
One of my friends in the car was telling us about someone who owed him money for weed he sold them. He was saying, "When I see him, it's OVER!" 
We laughed it off and never thought anything else about it. We were just some immature teens with our whole lives ahead of us. 
We arrived at a stop sign next to a gas station when I noticed a young man talking to a lady in front of the store. "Is that the kid who owes you money? He's standing right there", I said to my friend. "Yeah, that's him! Let me out of the car," he said. 

We all sat in the car with excitement, thinking we were about to see a fight.
My friend walks towards the young man, never saying a word. He reaches into his jacket, pulls out a gun, and shoots the man once in the head. He falls to the ground. Blood began flowing out of his head, mouth, and nose. 
My friend runs back to the car, yelling, "Drive! Drive! Drive!" It was pure chaos as we raced throughout the city. Everyone was yelling and screaming, but 
I was speechless. No words would come out of my mouth as I sat frozen in shock. The driver of the car is now driving 80 mph, running red lights, and stop signs. I told them, "Let me out of the car!"
I walked for 3 hours crying profusely. Police were driving through the city frantically searching for leads. The sound of sirens was the only sound you could hear. 
"He murdered that man," I kept repeating to myself. When I finally got home, my Mother was laying on the sofa watching the news. My eyes were now dry, but still red from crying. My Mother says, "I'm so glad you're home. A young man was just murdered by the gas station." She covered her mouth while shaking her head as she watched the news reporter at the crime scene. "I feel for that young man's mother," my Mother softly said to herself.
I began to walk up the stairs towards my room, when my Mother says, "I see your eyes. Don't bring that garbage into my house!" She assumed my eyes were red from smoking weed, not knowing I've been crying for hours. I stayed in my room the entire night. I knew the police were coming soon. I thought about how devastated my mom will be once she knew the truth.
It was 3:06am when I heard the bang on the door. Bang! Bang!! BANG!! "Open up! It's the Police!" 
My Mother grabbed her house robe as she ran to the door. "How can I help you, officer?” my Mother nervously asked. One of the 6 police officers asked, "Ma'am is your son home?"
"Yes, what is this about?” my Mother asked. "Ma'am, your son was involved in a homicide," the police officer replied. The scream that my Mother let out was like a sound I've never heard. It sounded like agonizing pain. The officers handcuffed me and led me to the police car. I was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. I was held in the county jail for 6 months before my trial started. Those were long anxious months. I remember seeing my friend, who actually committed the murder while I in the country jail. He was charged with second-degree murder as well. He said to me, "Don't snitch. If we all keep quiet, we'll all go home."
I agreed, and I never saw him again until our trial.
After 6 long months of waiting, I finally had a trial date. The trial took 4 weeks, and my Mother was there every day. She spent all of her savings to get me a lawyer. The woman I treated so badly most of my life was the only one in this courtroom here to support me.
I felt ashamed. I didn't deserve her love. 
I've told her I wished she were dead. I've disrespected her in so many ways and yet she sits in this courtroom just for me. She told me time after time, "Don't hang around this person or don't hang around that person." "Don't smoke this, or don't drink that."
I now sit here with my life in the judge's hands.
The verdict was in. 
"GUILTY!"
 My so-called friend who actually committed the murder implicated the rest of us for a lesser sentence. I was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a crime my friend committed. My Mother's heart was in pieces. I was selfish. I never knew my actions would cause her so much pain. Weeks would turn into months, months into years, and my Mother would visit me every weekend. She brought me money, food, and clothes. We wrote to each other every day. We played spades and UNO every time she would visit. We took pictures, laughed, and ate chips and microwavable sandwiches. I watched my Mother's hair turn from black to white year after year.
One day when she came to visit me, I said, "Ma, I love you more than life. I'm sorry for being an ungrateful, horrible son. I've put you through so much pain and sorrow because I was too stupid to listen. 
I don't deserve the love you have shown me my entire life. Forgive me, Ma. Please forgive and forget all of the horrible things I've said to you. I love you, Ma."
She replied, "I forgave you a long time ago. You see son, I only wanted what was best for you. I only wanted you to become the best person you can possibly be. 
I never wanted to annoy you or make you angry, but I will never stop being your Mother. I will never stop telling you what is right and what is wrong. I love you son and if it took 10 years in prison for you to recognize what true love looks like, then it was all worth it."

May 23, 2003, I was released from prison after serving 13 years. I was 32 years old. My Mother was standing there as I walked out of that prison with her arms open wide. That small old lady with glasses and white hair never gave up on me. Now I know what Exodus 20:12 said in the Bible.

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."- Exodus 20:12
I eventually went on to graduate from college in 2008 with a creative writing degree. The day I walked across that stage was the proudest day of not only my life but my Mother's as well.

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