Scars of LoveBelle

The Scars of Love

In loving memory of Belle Robertson….

Editor’s Note

 Every word you’re about to read is directly taken from the sweet letter my biological mother, Belle Robertson wrote to me. I was only an infant when she bid farewell to this world that had been very cruel to her. But on my 16th birthday, my adoptive parents presented me with the letter that held all my mother’s struggles. I wish I knew her longer, but to keep her spirit alive, I recorded her struggles, her journey here.
  Andria Peters (also known as, Andria Robertson), November 2020.


Editor’s Note

Chapter 1: Where it all began
Chapter 2: Strangers in the Dark
Chapter 3: Goodbye Solitude
Chapter 4: A Short-lived Happiness
Chapter 5: A Tiny Ray of Hope
Chapter 6: Closure

Chapter 1: Where it all began

  Every story has a beginning.

  Mine starts in a small town in Florida in 1970. I didn’t have much growing up. You’d think I sound modest but, I truly didn’t. I was born to Andria Robertson. She named me Belle. I guess she thought I was beautiful at the time. I never knew my father, not a name, nor a picture. Right from the beginning, my life was just a series of unfortunate events. I lost my mother right after I was born and therefore, had to live with my grandmother. I assure you that the mental image of a sweet, loving grandmother in your head wasn’t mine.

 My grandmother, Susan Robertson, was the most horrible guardian any child could ever have. She hated everything about me. Her anger and resentment began from the day she found out my mother was pregnant with me. She considered me as impure; she thought that since my mother was knocked up by a stranger, I was, in her words, filthy. She treated me awfully, I was basically her slave. She would hit me relentlessly for the slightest mistakes.

  When I was 15, as I was taking her evening tea upstairs to her and I accidentally spilt it on her. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t give me a little bit of satisfaction. I remember she jumped off her chair and her eyes filled with rage. She began to hit me but I was sick and tired of being mistreated for all those years, and I fought back. She almost immediately threw me out of the house. All I had with me was a picture of my mother and her scarf. It was tough losing a roof over my head but I was just relived the abuse stopped, or so I thought

Chapter 2: Strangers in the Dark

  I spent the night in a nearby bus stand, from there I walked on foot so far that I lost track of my whereabouts. Looking back at my experience, I’d say I was pretty smart to have survived on my own on the streets all by myself. I remember one night it was pouring constantly and only thing I had for shelter was a cardboard box. I curdled up under it, wrapped myself in my mother’s scarf and fell fast asleep. I was scared, I didn’t know where to go or how to survive.

  It is during my time here that I met Sandra. She was a few years older than I was and she was a sex worker. Even though her lifestyle wasn’t the best (she was heavily indulged in drugs and alcohol), she was the only one out in the streets who was sympathetic enough to share with me the limited resources she had. She offered me shelter, food and clothes. We grew quite close to each other. Like a lost puppy, I’d follow her everywhere she went. Well, that is when  
 she wasn’t working. When I turned 18, Sandra decided to introduce me to her field of work. She was an excellent teacher. She taught me everything I needed to know while working as a sex worker. She taught me how to dress, how to behave, and most importantly how to approach clients. It wasn’t long after that I began to “follow in her footsteps” including her heavy use of alcohol and drugs There was a time when Sandra and I would constantly use drugs and alcohol over and over again, multiple times. I guess you could say I gave into peer pressure. But in my defense, how was I to know any better?

  I wish I could draw my story to an end here and say I carried on my life until I died due to an overdose. Alas, life had other plans of torture for me. The worst years of my life were yet to come and I was completely oblivious of it.

Chapter 3: Goodbye Solitude

  On December 15th 1995, at the age of 25, I found out that was I pregnant. As any ordinary unmarried 25 year old, a wave of panic hits me. With absolutely no support system, once again I was left all alone to fend for myself. You’d think almost 10 years on the streets would teach me a thing or two about surviving on my own, but I always had Sandra by my side. We did everything together. But when I needed Sandra the most, she was long gone. About a month before, Sandra never showed up home. Her body was discovered later that week and her cause of death was reported as an overdose. Ever since then, I took matters into my own hands and I had to look out for myself constantly.

  Falling pregnant at such a young age had me petrified. I didn’t know the first thing about raising a child. Clearly I was unaware of who the father was. Even if I did, tracking him down would be almost impossible, because we rarely get any personal information from a client.
The more I thought about how much of a stressful and desperate situation an ignorant man has put me in, the more rage that built in me. Being raped in my field of work was quite normal. Most sex workers would act in self-defense and either shoot or hurt the client. But in my defense, there wasn’t much I could do while heavily drugged and lying unconscious. With a childhood like mine you’d think I was used to people letting me down, disappointment was no stranger to me.

  But raising a child was never in my plans. I knew I couldn’t afford a good lifestyle for myself, let alone another human being. I tried numerous ways to abort this child that was growing in me. I hated the fact that I had to go through another struggle all by myself. With every failed attempt to perform an abortion, I grew more and more resentment for this child. I began to feel everything my grandmother felt towards me. I always hated her for the way she treated me, but the moment I found out about my pregnancy my hypocrisy got the better of me.

  With each passing day, my body began to change. The first time I spotted the bump on me, for a very brief moment, the hate in me had seem to disappear. It fascinated me how I had the potential in me to grow another human inside me. I stared at my bump for what felt like hours. It didn’t take long to embrace the changes in my body. With every passing day my range seem to keep fading. I found it hard to believe at first too, but I, Belle Robertson, for the first time in my life, had begun to feel what true love felt like.
 I began to change a lot about myself. I gave up alcohol and drugs, I changed my eating patterns to a much healthier option. I wanted to change for the little human growing inside me. With every tiny milestone of the baby, with every sweet kick, I grew more and more attached. Who would have thought that Belle Robertson would ever have a heart to love?

Chapter 4: A Short-lived Happiness

  On September 22nd 1996, I gave birth to the sweetest baby girl. I held her in my arms for the very first time, mesmerized at her beauty. She had dark brown hair and blue eyes, just like my mother in the picture I had of her. I looked into her beautiful eyes and all the struggles I had in life didn’t matter to me anymore.
 I finally had someone to love unconditionally and all my loneliness disappeared instantly. I stared at her for what seemed like hours and kept saying while tears streamed down my cheeks. Finally, I had felt what true happiness was like. As she resembled my mother so much, I named her Andria. Not all the words in the world could describe the joy in my heart. Andria seem to have sparked a flame inside me that I didn’t know I had.
 She changed me for the better. I never pictured myself as a mother, but motherhood gave me a thirst for life. I wanted to live, I wanted to be good, I wanted to be her role model and most importantly I wanted her to have everything I didn’t and have.

  Alas, my happiness was very short lived. I had the worst childhood and that’s why I wanted to go above and beyond to get her everything that would make her happy. With the lifestyle I had and a place that couldn’t even be considered a home, I knew accomplishing the big dreams I had for her was challenging. Regardless of how much I’d work to afford a good lifestyle for Andria, she would still be the daughter of a sex worker and grow up in a very corrupt neighborhood. I wanted her to flourish, to live comfortably and most of all happy and surrounded by love and I was beginning to doubt if I could possibly give these to her.

  By now, I guess it’s pretty clear that I was always the person to take harsh decisions in the heat of the moment. But this was a decision I thought over and over again for weeks. I kept delaying it but eventually I realize I was running out of time. I decided to give Andria up because I wanted her to have the picture perfect life that I didn’t.
 I wanted her to be happy, have a family and an education and I knew no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t be able to give her these. Even though I always regretted not knowing my mother, I decided it was best that I wipe out my existence from her life; she deserved better than a struggling drug addicted mother.

  On December 25th 1996, I left my beautiful baby girl on the doorstep of an orphanage. I wrapped her in my mother’s scarf and placed her safely in a beautiful woven basket. I left a little note on the side of the basket with “Andria” written on it. I picked her up from the basket and kissed her forehead one last time. Tears filled my eyes as I held on to her. I didn’t want to let her go. I placed her safely in her basket and looked down at her fast asleep and sobbed uncontrollably.

  My life was struggle after struggle, but giving her up was by far the hardest thing I did. I sat down on the doorstep beside her while I sobbed. I couldn’t pick myself up to leave her; my legs felt weak and my heart felt like it was about to explode. Suddenly I felt a soft, gentle hand on my shoulder from behind me. “Can I help you?” the voice said gently. I turned back and looked up to see a young lady, neatly dressed smiling at me. “I heard someone crying downstairs so I thought I’d have a look” she said. I couldn’t speak and constantly kept shifting my gaze from her to Andria, back and forth. She stood there looking at Adria. “She looks beautiful” she said. “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me” I said, my voice trembling. “But she deserves so much more than I can give her”. “Are you sure this is what you want to do?” she asked. “No” I replied as I broke down into tears again. She stood there silently without uttering a word.
 I finally stopped crying. “Please take care of her” I said. “She’s all I ever had. She will be happier not knowing me in her life.” I stood up, wiped the tears off my face, took a deep breath and headed off. Walking away from that doorstep, I thought the lady would call me, tell me I was making a mistake. But she didn’t. She took my Andria in and shut the door behind her.

  I went home and sobbed uncontrollably. I wanted to stop the heartache; the pain that laid heavy on my chest that I couldn’t bear. I cried so loud I thought the entire world could hear me. The next few days that followed were awful. I drowned my sorrow in my addiction hoping it would kill me one day.
 I filled the void in my heart my throwing myself into work. I constantly kept busy, anything to make me forget. I re-lived the moment I left her on the doorstep of that orphanage over and over again; it tormented me. They said hell was where souls were tortured, by living each day without her made hell seem easy.

Chapter 5: A Tiny Ray of Hope

  During the next three years my addiction had turned me into an emotionless monster. Every cent I earned as a sex worker, I’d spent it on drugs and alcohol and eventually I lost a place to stay. Once again I was out on the streets with my belongings and a blanket to keep me warm. At this stage, I wasn’t even interested to find a place to live in. I slept on a park bench and ate food from dumpsters and cried every night to sleep thinking about Andria. One night I seem to pass a very familiar building. I soon realized this was the orphanage I left Andria at.

  Memories of that fateful night rushed back. I tried my best to walk past it, I didn’t want Andria to see me in this state, drunk and homeless. But eventually, I gave into my curiosity. I didn’t want Andria to see me in this state, drunk and homeless.
Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me and I went in. To my surprise, the lady that talked to me that night seem to recognize me. She was as kind and gentle as I remembered her to be. I didn’t want to stay for too long, I only asked to see Andria just once, and I needed the closure.
  She informed me that Andria had been adopted just two days after I left her by a very kind and wealthy couple just a few blocks down the street. Apparently they had tried to have children of their own for years but failed and hence tried adopting. I begged her relentlessly for any sort of information. Initially she refused but after a lot of convincing, she finally gave me an address of the family.
 I grabbed it and ran out of the building. I asked around countless people and finally arrived at the home. It was a beautiful house, it seemed like a castle to me. It made me incredibly happy knowing Andria gets to have the comfort and luxury I didn’t. A wave of happiness suddenly hit me after years. I turned around and walked away in satisfaction. I knew she’d be happy and no matter how much it tore me apart, I was glad I made the right decision.

Chapter 6: Closure

  I walked back to the bench in the park and sat there looking at the other kids play in the park. I wondered if Andria had friends to play with too. As I looked around I noticed an advertisement on a newspaper for a Nanny at a familiar address. The advertisement was published by the family that adopted Andria. Call it what you may, but I interpreted this as destiny. This was probably my one chance to see Andria and I was beyond excited. I had a simple plan, disguise myself as a Nanny and attend the interview. I’d just see her once and leave soon.

  I wasn’t proud of what I did next but, I stole some decent clothes from a store, dressed up at a public washroom and headed to the house. I showed the guard at the gate the advertisement and they let me in. I walked in and I had a hard time taking everything in. The house was magnificent! A beautiful, slim lady walked up to me and shook my hand and invited me in to a room what seemed to be like an office. She was very polite and kind. “Hi. I’m Geraldine Peters.” she said. I’m so glad you decided to come to our interview today”.
 I smiled at her, still mesmerized by the house. “This is my daughter Andria” she said. And that’s when I saw her for the very first time in 3 years. Andria sat on her mat, playing with her toys. She smiled and giggled at Geraldine spoke to her. Time stood still as she looked up at me. I couldn’t move, I just stood there staring at her while my eyes were clouding with tears.

  I got down on my knees and held her in my arms. I hugged her so tight, I wondered if she knew who I was. I didn’t know it was possible to miss someone as much as I missed her. From them on, I didn’t know what was happening around me. I held her until Geraldine asked me question after question, Honestly, I don’t even remember anything she asked. When she was done, I had to put Andria down. I kissed her one last time and walked out of the house I wish I could describe how I felt after I first met her in years, but the experience was filled with so much emotions that I could probably fill hundreds of books about it. . Of course Geraldine hired an experienced Nanny to care for Andria but I was thankful I got one last chance with her.

  The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability. A few months later, I was diagnosed with cancer. Obviously, I couldn’t afford treatments so I utilized the little time I had left to write my story with the hopes that Andria gets to read this someday. And I know for a fact, as I bid farewell to this world, all I’d picture is my daughter’s beautiful smile.