The huge cedar door opened with a wide swing and the many warm smiles from the Badger family greeted an unhappy, lanky, thirteen-year-old girl who hesitantly entered the large house. Two attractive adults, her foster parents-to-be, stood there holding hands.
A pleasant couple, a perfect couple, Margaret thought.
Her cool eyes switched to the identical twins with azure eyes that stared right back at her curiously.
What cute little six-year-olds with their blonde pigtails! They seem so happy,not like me, Margaret jealously thought.
"Hello, Margaret," Mr. Badger said politely. "Would you like me to take your bag upstairs to your room?"
"No. I can handle my own luggage. Where is my room? I would like to put my things away," responded Margaret in a tone that bordered on rudeness.
Mr. Badger gave her directions to her room. Excusing herself, she stomped up the spiral stairs to her assigned room.
While unpacking her few shabby clothes, she held her prized and only portrait of her mother.
How beautiful she was, thought Margaret.
Two years ago their family had been perfect like the Badger family. If the drunk driver had not collided with her mother, she would not be dead and her father would not have begun drinking heavily and beating her. Margaret could only ask, "Why? Why did she die?" Angrily, she shoved the portrait under her pillow and put everything away.
Trusting no one, Margaret kept to herself and stayed silent most of the day. The family tried to include her in their conversations; but even the twins could not put a smile on her cemented lips.
At the supper table she sullenly sat down determined to make them angry. She looked at Mr. Badger and said, "I am not eating."
Mr. Bagder replied, "Do you dislike what is served?"
She repeated, "I am not eating."
Mrs. Badger smiled sympathetically and suggested, "Well, I can make you a sandwich if you like."
"I don't want anything, Mrs. Badger."
"Okay," Mrs. Badger said calmly.
Margaret was puzzled at this remark. She had been certain they would force her to eat or threaten her. Quietly, she removed herself from the table and went upstairs.
During the week Margaret became closer to the twins, Becky and Mindy. She found it amusing to listen to them bicker about frivolous things. Becky and Mindy reminded her of the way she used to be.
Some time later, on a pleasant day, Margaret unexpectedly asked if she could take Mindy and Becky to the local zoo.
"Sure!" exclaimed Mrs. Badger, happy to see Margaret becoming involved with the family.
It had been a long time since Margaret had felt any enthusiasm about anything. She dressed in the new outfit that Mrs. Badger had bought her and took the excited twins to the zoo.
As the three of them entered Margaret eagerly showed Mindy and Becky the odd-looking animals and asked, "How would you girls like bright huge balloons?"
The twins squealed with delight, jumping up and down saying, "Please! Please!"
Margaret walked up to the balloon stand and pulled out a small change purse. She had been saving money for a special occasion for a long time and had decided to spend it on the twins. Proud of her decision, she turned around to give them the balloons and they were nowhere to be seen.
"Mindy! Becky!" shouted Margaret over and over.
Her face revealed her anxiety and she searched around the balloon stand. An hour later she had frantically combed the whole park without locating them.
Margaret started to cry. She bawled because everybody she loved seemed to abandon her and leave her broken-hearted.
"Margaret, what's wrong?" inquired Mindy, who was standing behind her. Becky was there, too.
Margaret whirled around and, overwhelmed with joy, wrapped her arms around them exclaiming, "Where were you two? I thought you had left me forever!"
The twins looked at her in astonishment and Becky said, "Sorry, we got lost. We tried to find you. We would never leave you because you're our big sister."
Suddenly, Margaret felt emotions she had not felt for a long time. She laughed and said, "Yes, I guess you're right. I am your big sister." n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.