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Not All Roses Are Red

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We were traveling again, I guess we do that a lot don’t we? Unhappy with one place, go to another and so on. God was watching over us, I believe that now, back then I thought God had hated us. I have told this story a lot. My parents were arguing with each other that day. With the argument going on no one saw the semi at that four-way stop. Pastor Williams looked at me with understanding eyes, the eyes that lie and try to tell you that it’s alright, you will get over this. Pastor Williams has that perfect life, the only loss that he has had that he remembers is his grandmother had cancer and died when he was three. He said I can tell him anything so about two to three times a week I talk to him. Pastor Williams was a friend of Mom and Dads’ so he likes to make sure that I’m okay, being treated right by the foster home and so forth. In a way he’s my second father. To be honest he’s more of a dad than my Dad ever was. ‘Dad’ was there for the first four years then left. Ten years later he came back to Mom, drunk, and begging for her forgiveness. Mom had a good heart and let him stay, “Can’t kick him out on the street like this” she said to me and Hayley. That night Hayley ran away. She left a note saying, I can’t stay in the same house with that man, and I’ll call when I get somewhere safe. Hayley never called. They found her body five days later a thousand miles away in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Sir, I don’t know what to do about Rose, we can’t get someone to take her and she’s been here for two years now.” I know I shouldn’t listen to conversations that I’m not supposed to hear, but, I couldn’t help it. The man grunted, “Kick her out then, she’s seventeen for God’s sake! Surely she can fend for herself!” Please say no Ms. Howard, please say no! I thought. “No! I can’t do that; she has no family left-“Ms. Howard started, “I don’t care! Have her out by Monday or you’re fired!” “Yes sir.” Ms. Howard has a good heart and loves her job because she loves children. Why am I so much trouble! I thought with my eyes closed. No one is allowed up past ten, this could be a reason to keep me from my meetings with Pastor Williams if they ever found out. “I’m so sorry, I really tried.” Ms. Howard patted my shoulder, “I tried so hard” she sobbed. I wanted to pop up and comfort her, say it’s my fault not hers, but I couldn’t. It’d give me away.
“Rose!” is what I awoke to the next morning. This was Sunday, and I really needed to visit Pastor Williams after his sermon. This new information could bring him to allow me to live with him, his wife Eliza and their child Becky! Finally I would be loved by a family! “Rose quit daydreaming, you have chores to do!” the old man yelled at me. “You got to wash them dishes and feed them pigs out front,” he was practically screaming in my ear. Just go away, I mentally screamed, please go away! “I’ll get to work, sir.” I replied instead. “Good, you ain’t gonna want me to get that whip out! Do you hear me Rose?” “Yes, sir.” ”Good”
“Rose, I’m sorry, but I can’t take you in.” Pastor Williams gave me that lying look again. “Why not?” I questioned. “We live in a single-wide trailer and are on the verge of bankruptcy.” Enough excuses, I thought as I stormed out the office doors.
“Why does my life suck!?” I murmured to myself. “It doesn’t. Don’t you ever say that.” A voice called out behind me. As I turned to see who it was and tell them off, I realized he was H-O-T hot! Something pinged in my gut telling me to stay away from him. I ignored the little ping and continued advancing toward him. “Don’t you dare tell me what I can and cannot think of myself! I would thank you kindly if you just were to leave me alone!” I practically screamed at him. “I’m sorry; it’s just a kind girl like you don’t need to put herself down.” I stared at him, baffled that he called me pretty. I’m average; always wear jeans, plain old tee-shirt. My heart shaped face fits well with my razored jet black hair, and my eyes were the only thing that fit my personality, beginning at dark forest green at the pupil and faded from a deep emerald to light sea foam green. “Were you talking ‘bout me?” “Yes, I was. I know you from the church.” He replied. I’ve never seen him before, I thought. “Then how come I never see you?” I am going to get as many answers as possible out of him. “I usually sit in the balcony. I’ve tried talking to you at the luncheon.” He’s lying. I’d talk to a hot guy like that! “You want to go to dinner with me tonight?” his question surprised me because I was so deep in thought. “Sure.” I replied reluctantly. “I’ll pick you up at six, okay?” “Yea.”
I DON’T HAVE A GOOD DRESS! Was the first thing I thought of when I got home. I can’t ask him for money. Maybe Ms. Howard will lend me about twenty dollars. I slowly approached Ms. Howard after he left. “Yes Rose?” she smiled a fairly strained smile I knew why. “May I have about…twenty dollars; I’ll pay you back next week. I really need to buy a new dress.” A long pause, “Why?” “A boy asked me to dinner. Please?” Ms. Howard looked shocked. “Oh, dear! Let me come with you! If you want a good dress you’ll need about forty, at least!”
Now, I hate shopping at malls, but Ms. Howard insisted on a good dress from JC Penny or T.J. Maxx. Forcing a smile I said “Fine.” Though I’d prefer Wal-Mart, Kmart, or even Target. “Oh! Look at this one!” Ms. Howard squealed. For a seventy year old woman she had more energy than I ever expected. “I like this one.” I said gesturing toward a dress on clearance. It was floor length, a corset styled bodice that was dark green on the sides and strings, the stripe through the center was solid black and so was the silk skirt. “That’s beautiful!” Ms. Howard exclaimed, “Go try it on!”
The size three dress fit perfectly. It pinched and flowed in all the right places. “Now for you need shoes.” Ms. Howard said after we paid a whole fifteen dollars for the dress. “Great sale, huh?” I said to her. “Yeah, I thought at least thirty.” How about the four inch strappy heels, no, the three inch shiny black wedges! Shoes are my weakness. I don’t like anywhere in the mall except Foot Locker and Payless. I settled on the nice strappy heels that were the same shade of green as my dress. This made me feel almost normal, that my mom and dad never died in the accident. Almost, not entirely, though.
Jack actually showed up at the foster home dressed in a white polo shirt with a black blazer and dress pants. “So, where to?” I ask. “I was thinking kind of thinking of the I Panamá.” He replied. “Kind of pricy, thought isn’t it?” “No. There is no price on our first date.” My stomach did that ping again. I followed him out the door to his silver Mustang GTO with black leather interior and convertible down. “Wow.” Was all I could get out of my mouth. “Yeah, she’s kind of my baby. Payed for her myself.” He stated proudly. “I wouldn’t be able to pay that off in five years!” I exclaimed. I wanted to add, “Because I work at good old McDonalds’” but didn’t, too embarrassing.
“I’ve never been to such a beautiful place.” I whispered scared to break the silence of the restaurant. The low lighting created an ominous glow from each table. The tables had white table cloths; the silverware wasn’t wrapped in a crappy napkin either! It was set out on the table, pristine and glossy. On top of each porcelain dish were deep red cloth napkins. “How much did the reservations cost you?” I asked Jack. “That’s for me to know and you to never find out!” he laughed his gorgeous, contagious laugh. “Here, are the menus.” A woman in a red and black vest handed us two very fancy menus. Holy crap! Do they even know about the economy? I thought. “Thank you.” Jack and I said in unison, then laughed at each other.



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