pearls around the neck • 161
“ There are two meanings to the word Metamorphosis. One is the process of transformation from
an immature form to an adult form in different stages. The second one is a change of the form or
nature of a thing or a person into a complete different one, by natural or supernatural means.”
We are sitting, Sarea and I, on the front porch of a simple country bungalow in a middle class
neighborhood on a crisp early morning spring day. She is relaxing in a rocking chair, sipping a coffee
and puffing on her cigarette; it is only 8:30 but the ashtray is almost full. She stares at the flowers in the
garden: camellias, dogwoods, marigolds… we start our interview. Actually, Sarea initiates a monologue.
Sarea: “The only way to start this story is by saying: Hey, my name is Sarea and I am a grateful
recovering addict. *1
Alcoholism and addiction were prominent in both sides of my family. You know what they say: “You
are a byproduct of your environment.” As a child, I did not receive the love or the nurturing I needed
and longed for.
I was born in 1971 in Helfin, Alabama. My mother left me when I was 4. She walked out of the house
the day she stabbed my father: the blade slashed his flesh an inch under his heart. She knew she had to
leave “cause she knew she was gonna kill him”. He was abusive when he was drunk; she was “not gonna
take it no more”.
So I lived with my father. He did his very best to take care of me. But he was an alcoholic.
I was the only one there. Now I was taking care of him most of the time: stubbing out the lit cigarettes
he would leave around, switching off the stove after he had cooked something, answering the phone…
When is was too much, I would cross over and alert my grand parents who lived near by.
On the weekends, I would stay with my great grand mother Mandy who was also raising my half
brother. As we were a bunch in there, I had to sleep with him in the same bed. Soon he molested me. *2
I often felt neglected and extremely lonely. When I became a blossoming teenager, I felt more ashamed
of my body than excited. At 17, I became pregnant. Both my parents pressed me into having an
abortion. It was my father who brought me to the abortion clinic: that was awkward for me.
Somehow, I managed to finish my high school by the skin of my teeth. I got a job in a medical
institution and found myself an apartment, moving out on my own when I was 19.
At 20, I met the man of my dreams… he actually turned to be my absolute worst nightmare. He moved
in with me. He had no stable job. But I had this fantasy: if I were to give all the love I had in me, all that
big love I wanted to share for so long, wouldn’t he love me back, a little?
His nickname was Puff. He had been to a “Strayer University”*3 but he never found a steady job. He
was an alcoholic and smoked pot all day. I began to smoke marijuana. WOW, I really loved the way it
made me feel. All of a sudden, I didn’t have a care in the world even if it was only for a little while. My
mother got to know him and said: “Sarea, this man is just like your father!” But my father had now
been sober for years.
My days looked like this: waking up around 6:30 am and starting work at 9 am, as morning commutes
were hard. Got off at 5:30 pm and home at 7 pm. When I arrived home, Puff was already high and