A Stone's Throw

When I open the car door they are all standing there. My new foster family.
I'd met Tom and Ranee a while ago when they asked if I wanted to live with them. Ranee is holding a baby and a boy is beside Tom. Ranee gives me a side
hug, "Hello, Destiny." Tom offers his hand then points to the baby and the
boy."This is Zoe, she's two, and this is Skye, he's thirteen." One year older than me. Skye is staring at me.
"Hi," I say and try to smile but my mouth isn't working properly. Zoe fusses and Ranee lets her down. She toddles toward me, "Dessy, Dessy!"
I laugh and try to pick her up but Skye reaches over and grabs her out of my reach. I stare at the ground. The social worker taps me on the sholder and tells me to get my suitcase from the car. When I come back she is talking to Tom, and Ranee offers me a tour around the house. The outside is white and has a battered mailbox by the porch that says 107. They have a nice house and my room is down the hallway to the left. I like it. "Here, Destiny," says Ranee, "it used to be Skye's room but now it's yours."
"Oh," I say,"where is his now?"
"In the basement." She pats my shoulder as if to say 'Don't worry.'
"Why don't you unpack? Supper will be ready in a few minutes."

They're having spagetti. I sit down and Tom says grace. "Welcome to our table," he says. Ranee smiles at me, "and welcome to our family."
"Yay! Dessy!" shouts Zoe and flings a noodle into the air. "Well," I think,"I guess I'm home."

The next day Ranee takes me into town to shop and I pick out new sheets.
They're purple. In the afternoon I go exploring. I have never been in the
country before and I like it a lot. Behind the house is a big field and a
pond with trees around it. It all looks like a painting.

I wake up early on my third day there and hear footsteps creak in the hallway Minutes later the door squeaks open and it's all quiet. I am curious who it is. I slip out of bed and trade my pajama pants for shorts and then tiptoe into the living room. Skye is kneeling on the porch tying his shoes. He doesn't see me. When he leaves I follow him. Skye jogs to the field and then starts to run. Around andaround he runs while I stand there watching. I want to run too.
"Hey!" I yell and he stops mid-stride in surprise,"can I run with you?"
Skye glares at me, "What are you doing here, you little creep? This is MY place! Get out of here!"
"I just wanted to run," I whisper, I turn and trip my way home, tears blinding my
path. I just wanted to run.
At breakfast Skye doesn't look at me. I eat my oatmeal quickly and go to my
room.

"Destiny? Where are you?"
It's Tom calling me.
"In here," I say weakly. I stand and walk into the living room where Tom is putting on gloves. They are stained with black oil. "Yes?" I ask wondering why he called me. Maybe he's going to send me away. Maybe Skye told him he that hates me and I should leave. I swallow hard.
"There you are," he says, smiling like always. There are laughing lines
around his eyes. "Can you help me outside? I need an extra pair of hands."
I nod and put on my sandals.
In the driveway is an old car with weeds growing around the tires. It looks like it hasn't been working for a while. Tom opens the hood and starts digging around in it. He hands me oily parts and tells me where to set them in buckets.
"How do you like it here, Destiny?"
I wonder what to say. I've only been here for three days.
"Why does Skye run?" I blurt out. My face gets hot and I bite my tongue but Tom acts like there was nothing strange in asking.
"He's training," he says.
"Training for what?"
Tom looks at me over the top of the car.
"There's a county race every here summer. It'll be in about two weeks. He's been trying to win it for years."
"Oh." I say not knowing how to respond, "I hope he wins."

I'm starting to understand him. Just a bit. I came and ruined his life, I took his room, and his family. I want to tell Skye I'm sorry but I don't know how. That evening when Tom is finished with the car I go to my room, well, Skye's. I sit on the floor and look around me. There's my bed with the new sheets and a desk. In the corner are some shelves and my dresser. On it I see my rock. It's not just any rock like the other ones I collect, it's my lucky rock I've had for as long as I can remember. I pick it up and it feels smooth in my palm. I've figured it out.
I find Skye in the living room. He's sitting in a chair reading a book.
They don't have a tv because Ranee says it's junk food for the brain.
"Skye," I say.
He looks up and when he sees me he narrows his eyes,"What?"
"This...this is my lucky rock," I say feeling dumb,"I hope you win the race."
I hand him the rock and walk out the door without looking back.
Outside it's all dark and there are a million stars glittering in the sky. It's so pretty I fall onto the grass and lie there staring up at them. I hear sombody lay down beside me and sigh. I turn my head. It's Skye. He looks at me.
"Don't see many stars in the city, huh?"
"No. They're so pretty here."
"Yeah. They look almost like you could touch them. Just a stone's throw away."
They do. I reach up but my fingers brush only air. It's quiet for a long time.
"Destiny?" says Skye.
"Yeah?"
"Thanks."
I smile.
We lay like that for a long time. Side by side, watching stars.





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