Hi, my name is Michelle. I don’t know what to do about my daughter, Gabby. She’s my only child and when she was born, I was so happy. She was a tiny, cute bundle of joy. I’d never loved anyone as much as I loved her. She was my pride and joy, but recently... She’s been acting crazy!
It started when she turned sixteen. She started caring a lot more about her hair and her make-up and she wanted to go out with her friends more. I didn’t say anything because every teen goes through that, right? I thought it was okay until she started to bring guys home…
The first one seemed nice and friendly at first. He and Gabby spent a lot of time together until, after a month of dating, Gabby found out he’d cheated on her with another girl! She was heartbroken. She cried in my arms for hours after they broke up. I hoped that it might put her off boys for a long time—but I was wrong.
She brought home another boy just two weeks later. He was the opposite. He didn’t seem nice at all. He was rude and kept cussing in front of me. He even told me that my food was gross after being invited into my home as a guest! Needless to say, I kicked him out and Gabby never saw him again.
After that, everything was quiet with Abby for a long time and I was happy. She hadn’t brought any guys home for almost three months when one of my friends told me they’d spotted her outside the local Walmart on Friday night. She had been lurking in the parking lot with a bunch of older guys! My friend had watched her kiss an older man with tattoos and piercings. Apparently, they were smoking too!
As soon as I heard that, I wanted to scream. I couldn’t believe my daughter would be putting herself in such a dangerous situation hanging around outside after dark. I thought I raised her better than that! So, when she got home from school, I sat her down and told her what I’d heard. Gabby said they were friends of her boyfriend and they were only a few years older. I couldn’t believe she had another boyfriend! Especially an older one, I didn’t like it one bit.
I grounded her for a month. She was upset and she said a few things that I’m sure she didn’t mean, but I knew I had to keep her safe. During that month, everything went smoothly. Gabby was happy again. She went back to coming straight home from school and not going out late. She was my good, quiet girl again and I was so relieved.
At the end of the month, I thought she’d learned her lesson. She hadn’t spoken about her latest boyfriend again since and I assumed she knew it was wrong. So, when she asked to stay at her friend Fiona’s house for a sleepover on Saturday, I was happy for her to go. At first, I wanted to drop her off in the car, but Gabby said she’d take the bus and I didn’t think much of it, but... Now I regret it!
That night, I got a call way past midnight from a cop. They’d picked up Gabby from the park where a bunch of kids had been spotted setting a trash can on fire. Gabby had been there with them! So, I had to go pick her up and take her home. She was so relaxed about the whole thing. Her eyes were wide and unfocused. When I yelled at her, it was like she didn’t care!
I asked her if she’d been with her boyfriend again, but Gabby shook her head. They’d broken up and Gabby was now dating someone else! She told me he’d invited her out with his buddies and she hadn’t expected them to be setting stuff on fire.
I didn’t know what to think, but I believed her. After all, she was my daughter. So, I took her home and put her to bed to cool off. I was planning to ground her again, but the next day... She never got out of bed. I went to check on her and she wasn’t there.
OH MY GOD. Gabby was missing!
I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. I ended up calling the cops to report her missing before I drove all around the neighborhood looking for her. But there was no sign!!! I called my mom, my dad, and all my friends. Soon, we had a search party out looking for her.
We checked her friends’ houses, the mall, and the school, but she was nowhere to be seen! Just as I was giving up hope, I decided to check the park she had been to the night before and what I found would haunt me forever…
Music: Akram Artoul