"You Can Call Me...."

February 16, 2010
By katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain


I’ve never felt more scared of anything than I do right now.

Mrs. Smith waves goodbye to me as Mr. Brown loads my plastic bag of belongings in the trunk of he and his wife’s car. I get in the backseat and buckle my seatbelt. Mrs. Brown turns around in her seat and smiles at me. She seems so nice, like the mother I’ve never had. She’s very beautiful. Her eyes are a sparkling blue against premature silvery curls.

Mr. Brown seems much more reluctant to have me. He doesn’t talk to me as much as his wife, but maybe that’s just his style. I can only hope.

“How often do you see your brother, Zach?” Mrs. Brown asks me.

“He used to come and visit me every Sunday, Ma’am.”

She smiles her kind smile. “We’ll look forward to meeting him; and please, call me Karen.”

“Karen.” I quickly correct myself. The name felt foreign on my tongue, but I guess I couldn’t go around calling them “sir” and “ma’am” for the rest of my life.

“How old are you again, Zach?” Mr. Brown asks, keeping his eyes on the road.

“Fourteen, Sir.” Sir! There I go again.

I watch in the rear view mirror, as his eyes crinkle at the corners during a smile. “My father is called “sir”, Zach. No one has ever called me “sir” and I don’t intend to let them. Call me Ryan.”

“Okay.”

“Do you like school, Zach?” Karen asks me, trying to keep with the conversation. I’d never talked so much about myself in my whole life.

“Yes, Ma—Karen.”

“You make good grades?” Ryan asks next. I can see Karen give him a look as if to say, ‘Don’t ask him such personal questions!” I don’t mind really. No one has ever taken such a genuine interest in me.

“Straight As.” I answer, admittedly bragging a bit. I could tell by the look on his face that he and his wife had done some research. If you Google, “Symptoms of child abuse”, a decrease in grades almost always comes up. I wonder what else they are expecting of me.

I am wearing a short sleeve T-shirt on purpose. I don’t want any secrets to be between my new parents and me. I remember what my fourth grade teacher told me once during yet another unfair detention:


“Zach, do you like to read?” She’d asked me.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Have you ever heard of Victor Hugo?”

“Sorry, Ma’am.” I said, feeling ashamed.

She smiled kindly. “Most nine-year olds haven’t.”

Well, I was not like most nine-year olds. That’s probably why she even bothered asking.
“He’s a poet and a novelist.” She explained. “He once said, “No one keeps a secret so well as a child.”

I swallowed and remained silent. No one knew that better than I did.


I’d kept a secret that had nearly killed me. I wasn’t about to start keeping them again so easily. So, why not reveal everything from the start?

Even as I tried, it was more difficult then I thought to restrain from covering up the thick scar that ran down from the crease in my arm to my wrist.

I turn my head and take a look out the window. We were driving in the middle of nowhere. Trees surround everything and everyone, only allowing a certain amount of light to peek through.

Soon Ryan pulls the car to a stop in front of a large white house. I can’t help but stare in awe. I’ve lived in so many different places, and none of them have been so big and open. I wonder if I’ll be granted the luck of having my own room.

I open the car door and shut it behind me. I lift my light bag from the trunk and follow Karen and Ryan up the stairs into what is now my new, and hopefully permanent, home.

I, slightly timid, step over the threshold and close the door behind me. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful. I’m embarrassed for myself as I feel my throat constrict in emotion.

“Welcome home.” Karen whispers, placing a hand tentatively on my shoulder. I try not to flinch so much.

As I look around I see a flutter of life dart down the staircase. She stops when she sees us. Claire, I understand. My new sister. Her hair is so blonde it’s almost white, and it nearly surpasses her waist in length. She has her mother’s smile and her father’s steely gray eyes.

“Claire, this is Zach, your big brother.” Ryan says.

I privately like the sound of that. Before, it had always been:


“Who’s that?”

“That’s Rob’s little brother….his name’s Jack or something.”

“Rob’s brother? You mean the one who gets beaten?”

“Yeah…him.”


Claire smiles at me with all of the innocence of a normal eleven-year old girl. Then I watch, my heart sinking slightly, as her eyes settle on my scars. The one on my arm and the one along my jaw are the most visible, and unfortunately most grotesque, ones. I feel a twinge of regret for not wearing long sleeves. She looks almost frightened.

But she puts on a brave face and glides toward me.

“It’s nice to finally meet you.” She says, sticking out her hand.

I slowly raise my hand to shake hers. As she takes my hand the tip of her thumb brushes against the end of my scar. Her hand freezes and she pulls back slowly, as to be polite.

“Claire, show Zach his room.” Ryan says.

“Okay.”

Claire leads me up the stair case. I can’t help feel self conscious about my plastic bag, so I try to hide it behind my back.

Claire makes a sharp left and stops at the second, and last, door. She turns the knob and opens it for me soundlessly. She holds out her hand, gesturing for me to go in first. I could cry out of happiness. I’ve never had a room to myself before. There’s a big bed set up against the far wall, where a large window streams sunlight across the blue comforter. There’s a closet and a rocking chair.

I wander over to the bed and lay my bag down.

“Do you like it?” Claire asks from the hallway. She doesn’t step in.

“It’s perfect.” I whisper, half to myself.

She smiles a tiny smile. “The bathroom’s across the hall, first door, and the other room is my….our parents’. The one next to this one is mine.”

“Thank you.” I say, truly grateful.

There is silence between us for a couple minutes. Finally she whispers, so softly that I must strain to hear, “Do they hurt?”

I know immediately that she’s referring to the scars. “No, not any more.” I answer.

She nods.

“What happened?” She asks tentatively.

Well, this isn’t particularly what I’d prefer to talk about upon meeting my sister for the first time, but, I would tell her whatever she wanted to know.

“I guess my mother was never taught that she shouldn’t play with knives.”

I hear her catch her breath in horror. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” She says quickly.

I try to shrug as if I don’t care; as if the pains from those memories don’t boil in my stomach like hot acid, making me queasy.

“Your parents didn’t tell you?” I ask curiously. Why would they keep something like this from their daughter?

“All they said was that you didn’t have a good home life, and they told me not to ask you any questions about your family.” A light shade of red makes its way across her cheek bones. “But they would never elaborate. I guess curiosity got the better of me.” She smiles sheepishly.

“I don’t mind. You can ask me anything.”

“Can I?” She asks uncertainly.

“Of course. I’ve never kept secrets from my brother. Why should I keep them from my sister?”

She smiles. “That’s nice to hear. My brother is eight years older than me, so we never really got to talk and be the regular “brother and sister”. He was always off with his “high school” friends. I didn’t even get to annoy him like little sisters are supposed to.”

I let out a short laugh. She could annoy me all she wanted. I understood. I’d been was the younger sibling once.

“Besides, it’s really boring here all alone now that he’s in college.” She added.

“My brother is seven years older than me.” I offer eager to share a similarity between us.

Claire ventures a step inside the room. “Really?”

I nod.

“Did he….?” She left the question open, but I knew what she was getting at. Did he get beaten, too?

“No.” I say, simply.

“That’s not fair.” She walks all the way into the room until she’s sitting on the edge of my bed.

Instead of staying, ‘life isn’t fair,’ or ‘I’d rather it be me than him’, even though those are both true, I say, “It wasn’t.”

I was beginning to really like this girl. She didn’t have that wary expression on her face when she was around me. She didn’t speak slow as if I was stupid, or watch her every movement so she wouldn’t startle me like I was a skittish cat.

She treated me like I was a normal human being. For once in my life I felt like I belonged. After six years of abuse, I didn’t feel like I was living in a prison any longer. I had a home. I had a real mother and a father. I had a brother, and a sister, and a friend.



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This article has 33 comments.


katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jul. 23 2010 at 5:49 pm
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

Thanks so much, that's my favorite line as well :) when I wrote it I was like.....omigosh this is good stuff! lol

on Jul. 11 2010 at 6:12 pm
C0olBeans BRONZE, Willingboro, New Jersey
3 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
‘If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.’

Veryvery very well written. I have to say my favorite line is "I guess my mother was never taught that she shouldnt play with knives" it was very dark humor...good stuff 

on Jul. 11 2010 at 11:23 am
OfficialApprover PLATINUM, Orefield, Pennsylvania
48 articles 0 photos 1754 comments

Favorite Quote:
Grab life by the balls. -Slobberknocker
We cannot change the cards we're dealt just how we play the hand
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted
It's pretty easy to be smart when you're parroting smart people
-Randy Pausch

Wow...amazing. The character is so life-like, and it makes you so sad and happy at the same time.  Love Claire:)Awesome job.

katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 17 2010 at 11:54 am
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

No, I don't think it won anythin, but I'm glad you like it so much! :)

on Jun. 16 2010 at 10:59 pm
jaredwriter19 GOLD, Masontown, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 49 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you live to be a hundred, I hope to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you."
-Winnie the Pooh

I love the story! I think I read something about Zach before, but not this particular story. Is this the one that won an award? Cause it deserves it! :)

katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 14 2010 at 5:11 pm
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

Thank you, no problem!! :)

Brie316 said...
on Jun. 13 2010 at 9:20 pm
Brie316, Martin, Tennessee
0 articles 0 photos 10 comments
I honest to God love this.this was truly i guess a look in his life.i really liked it.this makes mine look like bitty kid stories,i have an abuse story that i have written,maybe if i put it up you should comment. this is wonderful and thiank you for commenting on my first story,i really appreciate it!

katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 10 2010 at 11:57 am
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

Thanks, Bri :)

banna42 BRONZE said...
on Jun. 10 2010 at 10:57 am
banna42 BRONZE, Connellsville, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"you have enemies? good, it means you stood up for something" -eminem

i really liked this kater:] way to go!!

katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 9 2010 at 6:51 pm
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

I do have some snippets from Zach's life before he was put into foster care.  I'll try to put them up.

Ridersblock said...
on Jun. 9 2010 at 3:10 pm
Ridersblock, Morehead, North Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
'Can miles truly separate you from friends... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?' -Richard Bach

Wow, I really want to read more!  Im attached to the characters already!  Write more please!

katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 5 2010 at 5:27 pm
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

Thank you so much. This is all I could ask for plus more! I really truly appreciate that you took the time to read this. 

P. S.- If I can ever read anything else of yours and help out I'd be happy to :)


on Jun. 5 2010 at 2:06 pm
AoifeTracey SILVER, Dublin, Other
6 articles 0 photos 40 comments

Favorite Quote:
'Dont bend facts to suit theories, rather theories to suit facts.' Unknown

Oh my god, my work looks like a minority compared to this. The breath was knocked out of me as finished the last sentence. I agree with everyone on this page when they say that this should be put in the magazine, and I know this sounds cheesey, but you are truly and undiscovered author! PLEASE keep it up! Aoifex (P.S. thanks for looking at mine :)

katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 5 2010 at 9:37 am
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

Thank you, and I did notice that error as I was reading through it.  I think I had originally been "I was the younger sibling once" and I didn't like it, so I changed it to, "I'd been the younger sibling once" and I must've forgotten to take out the was. :)

on Jun. 5 2010 at 8:46 am
NeverCaredForKool-Aid GOLD, Elkridge, Maryland
13 articles 0 photos 531 comments

Favorite Quote:
I don't believe in hell but I believe in my parent's couch-- Watsky

Very beautiful.  Everything seems so real when you describe it.  Especially Claire, I likt that little girl :)

 

The one sentance in here I think you need to clairify is when you say "I’d been was the younger sibling once."  Maybe take out the "was"?


katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 4 2010 at 12:38 pm
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

Okay, here we go, I want to make it clear that I'm not offended by any of the critique.  I need it to grow as a writer.  But, whenever I do read critiques like this I feel the need to defend my characters.

     Ryan (Zach's adoptive father)- mid to late forties.  average height and build.  dark blond hair that's slicked back.  He's not as outgoing as his wife, but very kind and would do anything for his children.

     Karen (Zach's adoptive mother)- late thirties to early forties.  cute and petite.  She has spiral silvery curls.  (she's gone prematurely gray)  She's very kind and welcoming to Zach, she loves him as if he was one of her own.

     Zach- okay, here goes nothing.  Zach is fourteen years old.  He's tall and lanky.  His hair is a rich, slightly wavy brown.  He's quiet and sort of feels like he's walking on egg shells the whole time.  His mother had been abusing him since the age of four when his father walked out on them.  She just sort of went crazy and blamed Zach for her husband leaving her because he hadn't wanted another child after Zach's brother, Rob.  So she always treated Zach horribly for that reason.  Two years after Zach was finally taken away from his home after a near-death experience, he's adopted from a foster care system by Mr. and Mrs. Brown. 

     I hope this clears things up.  Zach has a very long story so I usually just write little excerpts from his life.  Thanks for critiquing, though.  I honestly, honestly appreciate it! :)


Fayrouz SILVER said...
on Jun. 4 2010 at 12:07 pm
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

this is really sweet and you can almost imagine the characters, but try to slip in some more descriptions about them...i picture the dad as having a mustache with a slightly skeptical, but kind look on his face...the woman seems trapped between youth and old age...it's really beautiful, but i bet that if you added some stronger verbs and adjectives, it'll be better. work on creating a contrast between the characters. zach seems as if he's not quite as polished as these people and i mean, he seems as if he's standing here wearing an old t-shirt, old jeans, old sneakers while the new family sounds very affluent. do what you want to do, but i'm sure any new changes will change this story for the better!

katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 3 2010 at 6:56 pm
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

Thank you :))

 


on Jun. 3 2010 at 6:18 pm
redsoxandsunshine SILVER, Hamilton, Massachusetts
8 articles 0 photos 24 comments
haha I forgot that if these get enough reviews and votes they can MAKE the magazine. Well, i'll be voting for it!

katie-cat GOLD said...
on Jun. 2 2010 at 8:52 pm
katie-cat GOLD, McClellandtown, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you."- Edward Cullen
"To love another person is to see the face of God . . ."- Les Miserables
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her out and let her scream." - Mark Twain

Thanks, I really appreciate it! :)


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