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Sitting alone, Remi stared out the cloudy window. The cheap maroon seat covers annoyingly dug into her thighs. Her waist long mahogany hair was messily styled behind her back. The smell of gas fumes crept up her petite nose. Wanting to relax, Remi concentrated on the bland scenery on the outside.
She could see the dried out rolling hills and thirsty flowers following closely to the bus. Soon, a plump lady's coughing broke her daze, and she soon realized the people around her. Across the aisle, Remi fixed her eyes on a ink dragon tattoo on a middle aged man's thick arm, and soon switched her glare onto a young sleeping woman, on her side, resting her heavy leg braces on the uncomfortable seat next to her.
Remi sighed, in two hours she would be in Arizona in yet another foster home. Only six hours ago she was in the unfamiliar home of the "Van Burens" up in the beautiful Lake Tahoe. But Remi thought of it no different as the orphanage, unfriendly and unwelcoming. The Van Burens could only keep her for five months, and then send her off. Just as the Bristol's, the Menendez’s, the Walcott's and the Smith's. After the third foster home, Remi gave up hope of ever finding a permanent home, and a family. At sixteen, Remi has seen more then a grown man would experience in his lifetime. She couldn't take the scaring memories of her past homes, would her next house be the same? Would she just become an unpaid babysitter, or a full time house cleaner?
In a midst of feelings and emotions, Remi made up her mind. She gathered her two belongings, her late mother's ripped Jane Austen book, and her broken aluminum compass that refused to point north. She stuffed them clumsily into her poorly knit Navajo pack. Remi gripped the ebony handles in front of her face. She felt her sweat trickling down her back. She decided. Remi stood up, wobbling to the rhythm of the bus, and then yelled at the top of her weakened lungs, "PULL OVER!”
Remi worked her way down the filthy walkway. Feeling the stares pierce through her body. She then made it down to the front; she turned slightly right and faced the barely transparent door, the door that would soon slide open, and the door that would lead her to nowhere.
The driver finally made a full stop. His face expressed pure irritation, but he didn’t dare speak it. Remi looked up from her fixed position, she saw a gray unshaven beard, which sneaked up his sideburns. His teal plaid shirt was untidily tucked into his khaki pants. Remi thought to herself, if she already gotten this far, she might as well complete it.
“Sir…” Remi uttered.
“Yeah.” He spoke in an impolite manner.
“May you open this door, for me?” She questioned.
“Missy, I ain’t gonna let ya just get off here! Their ain’t nuthin’ fer miles!” He exclaimed.
“Uhh… I’m meeting someone here…” She replied, thinking of how stupid she sounded.
The bus driver let out an innocent chuckle.
“Ya’ sure?” He believed her.
“I’m positive,” She said.
A burst of dehydrated air entered through the bus, and Remi soon let out a little cough. She meekly stepped out of the bus, and entered the heat of the sun. She then heard the bus starting up again, and then witnessed it take off. She sighed. She wanted so badly to start a new life on her own, to be free of orders, and unfriendly homes. She tightly strapped her Navajo bag onto her side, and began walking. She felt the scorching sun beat her neck. The rays of unwanted light let down reflecting into her eyes. She was tired, weak and thirsty. She then started to blame the bus driver.
“How could anyone be some dull-witted?” She muttered to herself.
But she then realized it was her who chose.
Two hours went buy, and Remi’s stomach started growling. To ease her needs, she started thinking, remembering. She remembered the dinner the Bristol sisters used to not eat, and she had to feed them with her own hands. Then scarfing down leftovers herself. After which she realized a dish was cooked for her, at another table. Bits and pieces of memories came back to her, as she waded through the knee-deep sand. She could see cacti for miles on end, but not one car coming through the winding desert road. The Walcott’s would never let thirst be a problem. They would bring cartons of milk, fresh limeade and Cola to their weekly picnics. Which Remi, was allowed to attend. Remi then collapsed, onto a dry desert scrub. She didn’t know if it was exhaustion, hunger or thirst that made her weak, or was it a mix of all of them?
Remi fidgeted throughout the night, of unrest. She moved to and fro, as if there were venomous beetles waiting to attack her malnourished body. In the morning, the sun came back to taunt her, and it felt as if the ground to was shaking with laughter. She pressed her right hand, onto the bare ground and pushed her frail body up. She stood there, in the open desert. Eying the tumbleweeds rolling around, and the chocolate colored rabbits leap happily. Would Remi die here? Was this really the end? One poor choice, led to her likely death? This couldn’t be, she thought to herself, “I can’t die here!”
“I’m merely 16…” Remi sobbed.
After a couple minutes, Remi calmed herself. She decided to open the book that her mother once read. She squatted down, reached over to her bag, unbutton her pack, and reached for the ripped book. She pulled it out, excitedly. She couldn’t make out the title; it was badly ripped and torn into shreds. Nonetheless, Remi feebly turned to the first page.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters…” She read aloud.
“Oh great, it’s about family…” She told herself. She slammed the book shut, as if it was like a door. She got up from her uncomfortable squat, and kept the book in her hands tightly, as if it deserved the pain. As she was walking, thought of how the Menendez’s would take her to the library, and let her check out as many books as her heart wished. She would take mysteries that intrigued her after dark, and romance that still made her heart flutter.
Remi noticed, that even how bossy and evil she thought her foster families to be, they all had one thing in common. They did, slightly care. She then became conscious of the good things they’ve all done for her, but couldn’t forget the bad. But, she felt that the bad memories didn’t matter much anymore, Remi learned to forgive. But forgiving didn’t really help too much anymore, for she was stuck in a godforsaken desert with nothing for miles. At that moment, she heard a light plop, Remi looked down. She saw a sealed vanilla envelop, that must have fallen from her mother’s book. Remi, being curious, snatched it from the ground like a hungry piranha, which she somewhat was. She tore the neatly sealed front, and out popped a pearly white letter, written in such precision that it was difficult to interpret.
I have made up my mind. I love you with all my heart, and forever will. But for both of you’re safety, I will have to leave, I wish that one day, you will finally forgive me, and my choices.
Wide eyed, Remi read the letter over and over again. She couldn’t believe that it was truly her mother. What did she mean by “for both of your safety”. There were many unanswered questions, but Remi didn’t seem to mind. She only had one thing tugging at her brain, “Who was Robert?” Was he her dad? Then in struck her, she rummaged through her pack once again, and impatiently pulled out the broken compass, She hastily turned it over. There, engraved on the back, was this
You’ll Always find you’re way back home
He was truly her dad, but the letter, was unopened. Meaning Robert never read it. What happened to them? But Remi could hardly keep her excitement, she screamed! Echoing her voice through the dry air, suddenly she heard small pulses. Then louder, she felt her arm vibrating, was it an earthquake? She then felt the rhythmic beating on her body, she looked up and there was an ebony helicopter, and she looked to her right, and left, and saw police cars. All the sirens were ringing loudly in her ears. They all pulled up next to her, and she could hear the constant announcing, we have found the girl, we’ve found her. Then, she says a crimson Toyota pull up, breaking the pattern of black and white. She saw the worried faces of inside; the police soon came over to Remi, and explained that her foster family has sent out a missing child report.
“They were really worried to heck young lady.” The police officer stated.
“I’m sorry sir”, Remi replied back, thinking of why a foster family would even bother to search for her.
“Luckily we found you in time, or who knows what the heavens would conjure up for you.” He said, in a sarcastic demeanor.
He then escorted her to the crimson car that she entered, slowly and timidly. Beside her was a boy, who looked about eighteen. He had bright blonde hair, and pale skin. But he looked friendly and loving. He was teary eyed, and reached out a hand.
“I’m Tom,” He said, trying to wipe off tears.
“I’m Remi,” She stated.
“I think we all know that” He chuckled.
Then a woman and a man, looked back at me from the car front, they to showed a history of crying on the faces, the man looked middle aged, and had a grin on his face, not knowing what to say. But the woman, with a golden bob, said with a sweet tone.
“I’m Marie, and that is Roger, We were worried sick about you, Remi. We were so excited to have another child, but when then bus didn’t have you, we didn’t know what to do.”
She hugged me tightly, but the seatbelt limited the length. But for Remi, it felt like a long awaited hug, and she didn’t want it to end. But soon, all the police cars checkered a pattern of black and white, as they made their way down the road. Remi looked outside, the place she would never forget, and the place that taught her that beauty is family and love. Then Tom, she recalled timidly asked her.
“May I see that compass your holding? It seems pretty cool.” He humbly stated.
“Sure.” Remi said with a smile.
He took it from her grip, and examined it thoroughly.
He chuckled, “Why do you carry around a broken compass, Oh wait…” He paused, then took his thin fingers and dug through, onto the needle. “You’re needle was stuck, here” He said, trying to keep his laughter inside him.
Remi grabbed a hold of the compass, that finally accepted, to point north.