James was lying in his bed, staring up at the ceiling. The clock read 3:55, he had five minutes to remain in bed until his foster dad would expect him up in the kitchen for his daily chores. He quickly got out of bed and put on an old t-shirt, it was more like a piece of cloth with a bunch of holes in it. Walking upstairs he couldn’t find his foster dad, so he sat there and waited for him. All of a sudden he was smacked across the back of the head.
“What are doing here, sitting around boy?” He heard the voice of his foster dad behind him. James turned around to find an angry pair of hazy brown eyes stare at him. Instinctively James shrunk back, he knew that his foster dad had been hungover and he didn’t want to be the target of all of his rage.
“I’m sorry, sir. I came up stairs and waited where you wanted me to. You weren’t here so I thought I would just wait for you then.” His voice was shaking, just like it did every time he spoke to him.
“That’s no excuse there is always something for you to do. You could always start with the floor or the dishes or something. I don’t care just don’t let me catch you sitting around again.”
“Y-yes sir,” James responded. “I promise that this won’t happen again.” Before his foster dad could respond, James ran to the kitchen and grabbed the bucket. Immediately, he started scrubbing the floor. He had been at this foster home for two years now, he didn’t know how much longer he could last. James was never a troubled kid, he just liked defending others. His mother started drinking excessively when he was only five. He was much stronger than any of the boys at the foster home and all of the adults too. Every time someone picked on the younger kids, he defended them. Many times he had moved to a different foster homes, he was only thirteen. His last foster home he had been at the oldest son had been pinning his only friend on the ground, he was shoving him in the dirt. James instincts took over and immediately he started tackling him to the ground. Fist flew, and in the end, James had broken the boy’s jawbone, dislocated his collarbone, and smashed the kid’s nose completely to the left. That was when the agency decided to send him to Theodore Franklin. Mr. Franklin was famous for shaping up “troubled kids” like James. Immediately after James arrived, he knew why. Mr. Franklin made his kids work hard and learn respect, and by “his kids” he really only meant James. There were many times when James believed that Mr. Franklin was afraid of James’s size and strength. Every time James was working in front of the younger kids, Mr. Franklin would beat him or yell at him extremely harshly. James hated his foster “dad”, he hated him, there was no way he could last much longer here.
When he was finally done with all of his chores, he walked upstairs to get his breakfast. The younger kids were just getting done with their eggs and toast. James checked the cupboard for any more food, it was empty. Although James knew better than to get angry with the kids, he could feel his temper start to boil. He knew Mr. Franklin had hid the food so he couldn’t get any and feed the rest to the younger kids before he was done with his chores. Suddenly he heard someone cough behind his back.
“Boy, you’re not going to school today. I need you to help me outside with some chores I need to get done.” Mr. Franklin remarked. James was getting madder. This wasn’t the 1800s, he needed to go to school. School was the only place where he felt safe, even though he was constantly picked on for the way he dressed. The longer he was at the school, the more time he was away from Mr. Franklin, and that meant he was safer both physically and mentally.
“Did you hear me boy?” James turned around to see Mr. Franklin taking off his belt. “I said I want you to help me outside with some chores.”
When James saw Mr. Franklin take off his belt completely, he crouched down to defend himself from the blow. Glancing up he saw the metal part of the belt before it licked him on the side of the face. Stunned he lied on the ground, Mr. Franklin had never used the metal part before. Suddenly he got up off the ground, his vision was blurry and his head was throbbing. His mother had always taught him to respect his elders, that was before she started drinking. Now he was about to go against his mother’s wishes. He got up and charged at Mr. Franklin….
James was sitting down on the locker room bench, his leg was shaking. He couldn’t believe that he was living out his only dream, to be apart of a family.
Ever since the fight he had with Mr. Franklin things started to go uphill. One of the little kids told the teacher at school what he had witnessed. The agency found and immediately removed all kids from Mr. Franklin’s custody. James was moved to an entirely new town and state where he started his life all over. His new foster family was loving and treated him like he was their own son or brother. It was still very hard to get used to the new school. James was about four inches taller than all of the boys in his school and a lot stronger. His teacher at school encouraged him to join the football team where he played middle linebacker. He was very successful and lead his team to three championships. Many colleges offered him full ride scholarships, and after a lot of deduction he decided to attend college at Oregon. While playing at Oregon he meet someone by the name Stacy Fields. The two ended up getting married right before the NFL draft. Now James was sitting here on this bench, ready for the biggest game of any professional football player’s career, the Super Bowl.
James smiled as he recalled everything that had happened in his life. There had been so many troubles, yet it all ended to be more than anything James could imagine. Stacy was now pregnant with their first child, and here he was starting middle linebacker for the Houston Texans playing in the Super Bowl.
Later James was standing at the end of the tunnel. He heard his name called and charged out of the tunnel into the roaring of the crowd. They were cheering and calling his name. James was beaming, dreams did come true.