California to Oregon

March 12, 2009
By Anonymous

Life story? No, just a piece that led to who I am now. Both the worst and the best parts of my life
took place at the age of seven. I lost everything but gained so much more. In with the new and out
with old, I guess you can say. Or does that only apply to clothes? The earth revolves around the sun
and gravity holds us here; this I know. But still, during that time, gravity didn't hold me, my
mother did. She probably didn't know she anchored me down, and probably still doesn't. Now,
though she's hurt me more than anyone ever will; she's where my story starts: Seven years old,
young and na've, living in California, unaware of anything happening. I knew nothing of the
outside world except my mother. Loving and overbearing and times, she attempted to give us the
world, but that possibility existed only figuratively. By her not giving us what we needed, the
courts decided to take us. Fear struck me like lightening striking a tree in a thunderstorm. My
mother and my shelter, disappeared, replaced with an unknown future. The courts sent my brothers and
I to a disgusting and revolting group home that screamed at you to run and hide. Nothing shocked me
more than the gut-wrenching stench that radiated from every corner. Everywhere I turned the smell of
dirty diapers and rotting garbage stung my nose and making my eyes water. If the smell didn't get
to me, then the over crowded rooms and halls would. Just walking in the first day for check-in,
everywhere, I walked I got slammed into walls. Elbows flew around everywhere causing me to duck for
cover every once in awhile to avoid getting hit in the face. Noticing the smell came later, after
check-in. This held all of my attention because the entire time I felt violated. Doctors looking at
me, checking for bruises and old injuries, they didn't find any though. They feared that my
parents beat, which never happened. Any scar that I carried came from my own doing, like burning
myself on a curling iron. There are other scars, but I don't know where they came from. So much
changed during check-in; Charlie, my little brother, no longer carried the bouncing honey brown
curls. Jesse, my older brother, also came back without his ebony black hair. For myself, they
couldn't do much because my hair was already so short, but they needed to do something about the
lice infestation, so for almost an hour they say there shampooing my hairs until the lice
disappeared. After check-in, walking down the halls I focused on everything around me. Everywhere I
looked I saw the broken down faces of the kids who actually went through hell but made it out into
the system safe. Most of the kids there I tried to avoid but it became harder and harder because the
councilors there forced us to interact with each other. Remaining anti-social didn't help anything
though; it just made everything worse; because more time was them spent thinking about everything
that happened to get my brother and I to the group home. The first night there I was unable to
sleep, every little sound kept me awake, my own crying forcing that inability even closer to the
surface. Thoughts of home kept erupting in my mind. Thinking of possible reason why we were here and
not at home. One thought kept coming back, my mother. She was the reason we were here and not at
home with her. Her inability to pay attention to us while at home made it so we needed to leave.
That might sound like an exaggeration but it's not. She thought more of herself than anyone else
and half the time she left me to take care of my little brother because she was too busy to do it
herself. At the age of five my little brother was born, but my mother was and isn't someone you
want raising kids. She was unobservant, involved with only her and the drug of the week. I didn't
realize it at the time, but my step dad did the same things my mother did. He knew though in the end
what the priority was, keeping us in a house with food on the table. That didn't always happen
though. He also tried to give us more than my mom ever did. Almost all of the toys we received came
from him, though every once in awhile our mom came up with something to give us. He wanted to give
us everything we might ever need but that couldn't always happen. Left in the dark, cold silence
because we didn't pay the electricity bill and then in the morning the frigid showers came because
the water heater needed electricity to heat the water. Those showers left us shiver for hours after
making us wonder if we'd ever be warm again. Irresponsibility, one could say, was their strong
suit. With them only paying half attention to us at any given time, I stepped up and did what I knew
how to, which at the time didn't cover much. Living in there may not have been the worst thing but
just the feeling of not being at home left a hollow feeling down within my stomach. So the day I
received news that my bothers and I would be leaving I leapt for joy. The thought of going home
exhilarated me, going home meant I'd get what I wanted but my join soon became nothing more than a
mere wish. The councilors soon came back to clarify that we wouldn't be going home, we were just
being transferred to a foster home. The over crowded halls and hyperventilating inducing smell was
enough to give us a sense of hope that the place we'd be going would be better. We arrived at our
new home and the beginning time spent there was great. Finally, I didn't need to take care of my
brother al the time but instead with the time I had, I went and played with the other kids. Though I
received all the time in the world to be a kid, there were some things that overpowered the need to
be a kid, like knowing what went on at all times. Me knowing what went on all the time isn't
something my foster mom wanted. She gave everybody different tasks to do, that always kept the boys
and girls separated and sometimes kept everybody away from someone else. My brothers and I weren't
the only kids she took in. In her four bedroom house there were two maybe three kids per room,
except for her room and her actual daughter's room. Adding us to that house made the situation
even worse though in the beginning we over looked it. A couple days into the stay at the foster home
I began to get really sick. All of my surroundings blurred out and focusing on any one thing became
impossible. Food started to seem like slime sliding down my throat. The thought of eating made me
sick because I didn't want to eat flavorless food. One day for breakfast we got pancakes and I
really didn't want to eat them, but my foster mom said if I didn't I wouldn't get anything
else to eat that day. I ate the pancakes, but it took me almost two hours because I couldn't taste
them and my throat was swollen up like a balloon. In the early stages of being sick our foster home
didn't believe that I was truly sick, she thought I was faking it to get attention but soon she
realized that I was truly sick. Little red bumps started to arrive on my skin, immediately she put
me by myself because she thought I had the chicken pox and she didn't want anyone else to get
them. I already had the chicken pox and these bumps didn't itch, but she didn't listen to me.
Hatred for her boiled after that first day of the bumps, over reaction seemed to be the first thing
she did when wrong, and then taking care of the sick person the last. My older brother, Jesse, just
seemed to be going along with everything. Trying to make the best out of a bad situation, which
ruined our family, but at the same time it brought our family closer together. Jesse and I always
fought and argued with each other trying to get the other in trouble, he and I were rivals 'til
the end. One time when we got into a fight, he came up behind me to hold me down and I elbowed him
to make him let go. Well my elbow, instead of hitting him in the gut, hit him in his nose, making
blood spurt everywhere, soaking us both. Our fights got brutal at times but not once while in the
foster home did we fight. We didn't fight because we knew out energy needed to be used on other
things instead of each other. The new environment made us realize that fighting and getting each
other in trouble was a waste of time and that the world carried more important things to worry
about. I remember one night he came into my room and started talking to me, we discussed everything
that happened to us and what might be done about it. He and I ended up not having to do much because
soon after our conversation that night we returned home. Our foster mom almost enrolled us in school
because she didn't know if we were going to be going home. She even talked about adopting us.
Getting the news of actually going home made me ecstatic, I'd see my mom again and that's all I
wanted to do. My brothers ran around the foster home terrorizing everyone but me because they knew
they were going home so our foster mom couldn't do anything to them. Our return home became short
lived and only a dream. My mother didn't tell us that soon we'd no longer be living with her. I
didn't know why we couldn't stay with her until later, by the time I found out it didn't
matter. Though she didn't tell us anything, I knew something was going on, like she kept something
from us. I got the strangest feeling she kept something from us, and when she did tell us, the only
thought running through my head was that I was going to be leaving my mother again. Needing to leave
again wasn't the hardest thing I had to go through, it was this time I didn't get to go with my
brothers instead I went by myself to my dad, who at the time I knew nothing of and nothing about. I
didn't know when I'd get to see everyone again as I left to live with my dad. That feeling made
it seem like someone stuck a dagger into my heart and twisted it around to cause the most amount of
pain it could. My leaving may have been the hardest thing that I've ever done but also the
easiest. It's an oxymoron but is true. I hurt to leave everyone and everything behind but to gain
someone that I had lost so long before that made up for some of the loss. This experience made me
the person that I am to today and also made me cherish the little time that I do have with the
people that I love and hold dear. I can't say that I'm completely over the loss of my mother,
because every time I see her it's like someone is plunging that dagger back into my heart. I
don't think that it's something I'll ever truly get over, but it is something that I can learn
from and use to make better decisions. I will never forget what it took for me to get from
California to Oregon and all the experiences good and bad that came from my journey to get me to
where I am now.

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