I killed my mother.
That's what I think the next morning when I see her on the floor in the kitchen with a puddle of orange juice floating around her.
What I hope for the real life Darla is the same thing I hoped for my fictional Darla. That she'd get out of her own way. That she'd stop giving up on herself. Because inside both of them is something special, and I want to see them both succeed.
I began to hope Darla could succeed. I'd been writing a fictional version (originally entitled Sneakers for obvious reasons) inspired by my experience with Darla.
As things began to deteriorate, my husband always said, "We got her too late." Maybe he was right. By the time I met Darla, her path was already set.
Darla was 15. I honestly could not believe that her mother was going to leave her in a homeless shelter over Christmas!