Dead End

December 12, 2008
By Madeleine Collet, Eugene, OR

My mother died today. It was a car accident. I don't know, not that I care. It's a good thing she's gone I guess. It saves me some pain. Sucks for her I guess, I mean, after all, she is dead.
This whole little affair had been expected for quite some time now, so there is no need to mourn. I got that over with a few months ago, back when the first DUI was issued. Apparently, she was high when her boyfriends truck flipped over on the I-90.

Every night when my mom would tuck me into bed, she would say something like, "Night love, see you in the morning." I had always believed her. But the morning she died, I woke up and she wasn't there. Little did I know, her corpse was lying on the side of the road, still undiscovered. She didn't keep her promise. Out of all the false promises my mother ever has made me, this is the only one I believed. I expected her to be there in the morning, as a reassurance that she alive. As the responsible one, couldn't I get that? Is that too much to ask? Yes. It was. There were multiple times when I would wake up and she would not be home yet from her nights on the town, but there would be a note, or a slight, generally hidden, reassurance that she was around. There were times where I would find her passed out on the front lawn. By the time I was ten, it got the the point where that was the first place I looked. But on the day she died, today, I woke up and she was not there. Not on the lawn, not in her room, not anywhere.

"We'll place you in home if you are more comfortable." said the social worker. Her glasses were the size of the pacific ocean, from the eighties. They looked like John Lennon's glasses when he became a hippie. I started humming Helter Skelter when the lady cleared her throat. I looked up, she was looking at me like I was insane.
"Dear," She said slowly, "Your mother is dead," Duh. "And you don't seem to care. "
The comment should have been a slap in the face. I should have broken down crying. John Lennon lady should have taken me in her arms and rocked me like a baby telling me "it's OK," and "you'll make it through this," but she didn't. I didn't. I contemplated what I should tell John Lennon Lady, how I should explain. Of course I cared, in a way, but she didn't understand. My mother was a walking, living death sentence. Would anyone understand that? Probably not. I couldn't explain it to anyone. So I decided to lie.
"I guess it just hasn't kicked in yet." I mumbled quietly. She nodded like she understood, she had probably been trained to do that. It kind of bugged me. For regular kids, who would be devastated by their parents death, would already be having a crappy day. Why should those kids be lied to? I didn't;t count however, obviously I didn't count.

It's been eighteen hours since my mothers body was found this morning. Six hours since I've been put in a children's home, and tomorrow I go to my first foster family. John Lennon Lady came with me to pack my bags. All I have is mom's old duffel bag from the nineties that hasn't seen daylight in at least twelve years, a toothbrush given to me by the state, and my few articles of clothing I managed to salvage from our apartment. The cot I'm sleeping on is lumpy, and smells like a mixture of foul body fluids and B.O. All the same, it's been a long day, and the pillow under my head can not help but feel blissful. There are two other girls in the dorm room right now. I don't know their names, but it looks like they've been here for a while. They both are very chatty and stay up till nearly midnight talking. I toss my pillow over my head and press it to my face, trying to muffle their nearby tittering. I don't sleep well. The dorm room creaks and squeaks. The other two tittering girls breath much too loudly, my pillow can't even block it out.


I’ve never even considered living in suburbia, but when John Lennon Lady pulls onto Spring Way. I only have one thought: What. The. Hell.
All of the houses are the same tanish-brown colour with white trim. There is not a weed in the garden, a picket fence a little dirty, or a hedge out of line. Everything is absolutely perfect. So pretty much that translates, completely unfamiliar to me.
When we pass a little family walking home from the corner neighbourhood school bus stop, I can’t help but notice how the three children are all colour cordinated. The boys are in jeans, one with a orange polo and one in a yellow polo. The girl is wearing black tights with mary-janes, a orange corduroy skirt and a yellow and orange striped sweater with a black bow on her high set pony tail. I know the combination black orange and yellow don’t sound appealing, but, somehow, it works.

We pull into a house with the same brown with white trim thing going on. I can tell whoever my new family is, is really into first impressions. I look down at my self and regret not taking John Lennon Lady up on washing my clothes the night before.
They’re watching me walk up through their window, or they must be because before I even make it to the porch, they skip out their front door with gigantic grins on their pimple-less faces.

It is impossible to notice how... pretty my new foster family is. They all have gorgeous dark curly hair, tan skin that looks surprisingly natural, dark brown eyes and Ralph Lauren sweaters that compliment their features in a stunning fashion. They intro duce themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Robbinson and their two children as Jessica and Ben. Jessica gives me a hug and Ben smiles warmly and shakes my hand with surprising force for some one that can’t be more that nine. John Lennon lady stays for a few minutes but leaves right when Mrs. Robbinson offers her some tea. It looks like John Lennon lady can’t handle fine home furnishings and hospitality as much as I can’t.

We sit around and “chat” for a bit. Mrs.Robbinson keeps nagging me to call her Debra, but I don’t know her well enough yet to be on a first name basis. They stuff me full of hour-dourvs i.e. crackers with fancy cheese, carrots with ranch, these little pigs in a blanket things that I can’t stuff into my mouth fast enough. After an hour or so of unfamiliar small talk, and my silence, Mrs. Robbinson gives me a tour of their house. There is a formal dining room, a kitchen with nothing less than stainless steel appliances, a living room, a guest room, a study room which has a computer designated for me, a TV room, a bonus/hang out room, a laundry room which was larger than my old bedroom, three bathrooms, one of which I have to share with Jessica, a veranda, a workout room and last but not least Mr. Robbinson’s office. We walk down the hall to the last door. On the outside there is a sign that says:

Welcome Home Lisette!
Jessica slowly cracks the door to my room, which is... beautiful. I step inside and only Jessica follows me. I assume the others are trying to give me privacy.

I feel myself gasp. The walls are a light purple and the bed spread has flowers the work up the blanket in a vine-ish pattern. The book case is glassed in and has literature from ever period in history sitting on it’s shelves. There is a desk that matches the bed and book case with a purple chair that matches the purple walls.
Jessica notices my mouth hanging to the floor and giggles. I immediately snap it shut and feel my cheeks go red. She senses my embarrassment and I feel her hand on my shoulder. “My mom and I went to the store and picked it all out yesterday. The walls were already purple so we just cordinated it all to...” I feel the salt hit my chapped lips and now know I’m crying. This girl, whom I barely know, is now hugging me, and I find my self hugging her back. When John Lennon lady told me my mother died and I didn’t seem to care, I honestly didn’t. But now, as this strange, extremely kind girl holds me as I sob, I realise I do feel sorrow. Not for my mother nessicarily, but for my life. What’s going to happen to me?


Weeks have passed. Seasons have came and went. Christmas already happened, and now it’s a new year. I keep wondering how long I will get to stay with the Robbinson’s. I’ve gotten to the point where I can call Mrs. Robbinson Debra, but I still cringe when I do. Christmas was possibly the best one I’ve ever had. Mrs. Robbinson- I mean Debra- and Mr. Robbinson- I mean Tim- got me a digital camera and a cell phone. When I ripped apart the red paper and saw the tiny silver phone and next to it a small blue digital camera, I felt my eyes water, and then I felt myself burst into tears as I ran from the room. Last year, when my mother was still alive, she forgot to get me anything, even though I had saved up for months to get her this beautiful black v-neck sweater. When I handed her the box she didn’t understand. “It’s Christmas,” I told her, confused.

“Oh s**t.” she mumbled and shut her bedroom door.

I never even said flat out thank you to them for the gifts, but I’m sure they could see it in my eyes how truly... wonderful it was. Jessica gave me a small charm bracelet that already had a few charms to start with. Ben gave me headphone’s I can plug into my phone because it has a little MP3 player in it. Jessica and Ben’s grandparents came too, and gave me a giftcard to the Gap for some new clothes, even though I was already plenty stocked up at this point. Jessica and Debra absolutely adore shopping so now, if you looked at me, you would never of guess I at one point had lived on the streets.

I go to a catholic private school, with uniforms and mass. I’ve never been religious, infact I’ve never even stepped into a church before this, but the Robbinsons are and Jessica and Ben both go there, so naturally, it made sense I would go there too. Generally, during prayer or the religous classes, I take a book from thr glass book case in my room, which the teachers allow because some of the kids that go there, go strictly because it is the highest academic school in the district, not because they like God or anything. Jessica is your typical Catholic School Girl. She’s perfect. She screws around with guys like it’s going out of style, but not in a dirty innapropriate way at all, she’s just got them wrapped around her finger expertly. Ben is on the elemantary football team, and I got accepted into the school newspaper.

I wrote an essay on how Skakespear has influenced the world, and what it would be like if he had never existed which I can’t even fathom. My teacher told me how strong of a writer and before I knew it, I was sitting at a desk in the journalism room where I was assigned the position of music reviewer, which suited me well seeing as I’ve always taken pride in my CD collection. From there, I was promoted to Vice Editor, or so to speak. I’m in charge when the editor is gone, and seeing as Jenna, the editor, recently was diagnosed with Mono after a little pow-wow under the bleachers last friday, I’ve been in control, for the first time in my life.


I walk into the front door of the Robbinson’s house. I set my school bag down on the bench in the mud room next to Jessica’s. I look at the comparison between the two backpacks and I don’t cringe. Mine is blue, her’s is pink. Mine doesn’t have holes and stains. Mine looks pretty damn good. For some reason this small little thing, such as the fact that my backpack isn’t a piece of crap, put’s a smile on my face, which is immediately wiped away when I walk into the dining room and see John Lennon lady sitting down with about a billion papers spread out in front of her.

“What’s going on?” I ask Debra.

“Sit down honey.” She said quietly. I hessitantly sit in the chair next to Jessica. She grabs my hand and I cling to it with such force I can see her fingers going purple.

“Well,” John Lennon Lady chirps, “Lisette, your contract it up for living here, it’s time to put you in a new home. So I’ll need you to go get your things and-”

“No.” I cut her off. “No. I’m not leaving. I don’t want to leave.” I look across the table at Tim helplessly. “Please.” I whisper.

“Mrs.Tinker,” Woah, that’s her name? “Are there any other options?” Tim asks all buisiness.

“I’m sorry, there aren’t.” Mrs. Tinker replys solemnly.

“Please,” Debra pipes in now, clutching my shoulders from behind. “We love Lisi, she’s part of the family now... We wont let her go.”

“Well, there is one other option.” Mrs. Tinker say, shuffeling her papers.

“Yes?” Tim prompts.

“The only other option is... permanant adoption.” She eye’s Tim and then Debra. Tim looks up at his wife, who at this point has gone over to stand next to Ben who is crying . I feel myself crying too. Both for joy and for sadness. I either leave forever or stay forever. Permanant! Family! Words I’ve never truly gotten to say. The thought scares me. I tighten my hold on Jessica’s hand.

“Oh Mom!” Jessica cries. “Please! I’ve always wanted a sister. You know that. We have the space, she’s already here... Don’t make her leave.” Debra and Tim look at eachother for another moment. Finally, after what seems like centurys, Tim sighs.

“Alright! Fine!” He throws his hands up in mock irritation. “Lisette. Would you like to be a part of our family?” I choke back another round of sobs and nod.


So all in all things are going OK. I don’t miss Mom. Not at all. I’m happy here. Happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m fourteen and I’m happy. How often does that happen? I think having Mom die was the best thing that ever happened to me. Before I was being drug around, trying to keep up with her messed up lifestyle. But now, here I am, actually living.

Sure the first weeks were hard. Sure I don’t really fit into my school perfectly. Sure I’m living with beautiful people who could make it on the cover of US Weekly . And sure, my family is dead. All those things could sum up as misery, but misery is the wrong word. What is the oppisite word of misery? Oh yeah, it’s this little word called happiness. Happiness which I have joyously found, and will grasp onto until the day I die. But unlike my mother, I wont die in a car flipped over on the side of the road, because my road still hasn’t ended. I still haven’t found that bright yellow sign with black writing on it that says “Dead End” I’m alive. I’m here. I’m living. My dead end, is no where in sight.

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This article has 1 comment.

tor10jax GOLD said...
on Jun. 25 2009 at 3:07 am
tor10jax GOLD, Livingston, New Jersey
10 articles 0 photos 144 comments
That was incredible. You have a great writing style. This is going in my teen ink favorites. Good job and keep writing!

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