I own a boutique in Phoenix. Many times I find people in my boutique who have made choices that defined them. Sometimes people tell me it was their circumstances that made them who they are. Sometimes people tell me it is the lack of circumstance that forced them to make choices. Some good choices and some bad choices. Whenever a bad choice was made it boiled down to lack of options.
Breanna Salton had lived her whole life on the edge. She wasn’t born with a silver spoon or even a slight edge on life. No, she was born a little behind the eight ball. Literally. Her mother worked as a bartender at a pool hall on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. The place was called the hole in the wall and it lived up to its name. It was known for its pool tables beer, country and western music, and strippers. Although the options were often limited there were always a few choices.
As the eight ball hit the pocket in the corner Breanna’s mother was delivering her behind the bar. By the time Breanna was sixteen she had a fake ID and a bar routine of her own. Soon after she started her bar routine, she left the school routine along and soon after that she discovered her body would soon be adjusting her routine. She was pregnant. After a long look in the mirror and several rubs on her stomach, she decided to keep her baby. She just couldn’t see ending his life and she just felt she had no choice.
The choice to be a mother does not come with a blueprint on how to be a mother. Breanna told me, as I spoke to her twenty years later when she stopped in my shop to get an outfit for court. Her life had been made of few choices defined by even fewer options.there was many times in life she felt as though she had no choice.
The death of her mother had been one of those situations. Her mother had always been a strong alcoholic. She smoked almost heavier than she drank. she smoked at least three cigarettes with her morning coffee. After that, it was said by Breanna that all she needed was one match to start the day. Then she would be off like a train, smoking all day. Most of the time she fell asleep in the living room with a cigarette dangling off the edge of her fingers with a long ash hanging in the ashtray. Breanna hated that because she had children in the house. Her son had gone off to the army a few years prior and vowed to never marry anyone with an addiction other than being addicted to him. The malice in his heart for his mother and grandmother was strong. He had been raised in an addictive environment. But not being an addict was his choice.
Breanna hated that because she had children in the house. Over the past twenty years, she had given birth three additional times. One thing that had changed has she had a better blueprint. A blueprint she had created for herself. Her options had broadened. A few years ago she quit working as a career addict and started a career as a paralegal. There were not many options available for an X alcoholic/heroin addict. So she went back to school at the advice of her latest baby daddy. Changing her life had been her choice.
Her son Brian had gone to the army a few years prior and vowed to never marry anyone with an addiction other than being addicted to him. The malice in his heart for his mother and grandmother was strong. He had been raised in an addictive environment. But not being an addict was his choice.
Her mother made some choices too. She chooses to drink herself into oblivion every day and smoke her lungs clean out her chest every night. The second-hand smoke was taking away the option to breath in Breanna’s home. Breanna had long ago decided she would never let anyone, especially her mother, remove her options and limit her choices.
The last cigarette her mother lit inside the home was laced with cyanide. The ashtray where the long lit ash fell into had some alcohol spilled in it. And when her mother took the last drag Breanna and her children were out eating dinner. Too bad she wasn’t there to carefully put out that last cigarette. But Breanna had made a choice.
The case was being heard in a week. The detective that investigated the case insisted that Breanna was involved in the crime because it mimicked one she had worked on at her office. Not to mention the five hundred thousand dollar insurance policy she cashed in on. Brian had flown in for the hearing as well. As I watched them interact in my boutique I watched the powerful bond between a mother and her son. The choice to survive by any means necessary. The choice to change the destiny of the next generation by any means necessary. The options had always been limited. So they used the only choice they had.
The Prosecutor in the case had no doubt Breanna had set her mother up to die. He also believed Brian was aware of that.
That was his choice, Breanna told me as she smiled. Good luck trying to prove it Breanna said. because in her heart she felt she had the right to kill.