I’m From Fresno, CA.

by Chris Y.

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

There’s a swelling in my chest: Hate, shame, loneliness, pain. The man I met on the Internet snores and elbow me in his sleep. The alarm clock light dims the room, I can see his face, his eyes were closed but his right eyelid was slightly ajar as if he was still watching me. I shifted around and slid out from under the covers as quietly as I can with his breathing down my neck. I navigate through his littered room, made my way to the cabinet, his jeans wrapped around the edges in a perfect circle. My hand reached for his wallet; as the wallet exited the pocket a round metal object accompanied it. I took the piece of metal and the remaining $300 he had. I escaped through the bathroom window and jumped into my car and sped away as fast as I could.

When I got home I took a shower. A baby’s cry from the next apartment over is muffled out by the hot water running down my back. The water is cleansing, although it is not purifying. I got out of the shower and stepped into my jeans. I felt the foreign round object again and took it out to investigate. It wasn’t metal at all, in fact it was gold. I fingered the gold band. Steam rising off my body. Tried the ring on. Took it off. Steam engulfed the room, the ring. Letters began to form on the inside of the wedding ring. I lifted the ring toward the light to see what was inscribed on the inside: “With all my heart — Jen.”

The swelling in my chest began to ache. What have I done? Tears burned the back of my eyes. A bruise formed on my chest where I got elbowed as I cried alongside the baby in the next apartment wishing someone would cradle me and tell me what I had done was okay.

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