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Twists and Turns
Silently, I stood there in horror watching him throw my poor mom into the hard wooden door frame. I was too young to know what to do, but I knew I would never be able to forget. The sight of her curling up into a ball on the ground, pleading for mercy and begging for it to stop was more than any child should ever have to witness. What still confuses me, is after my mom stopped moving he wouldn’t stop, and he just kept going at her like a wild dog. I was barely five at the time, but I remember walking over to her body after he cleared out of the house.
“Mommy?” I questioned waiting for a response.“Mommy?” I asked again. Still no answer. I tried shaking her, I thought she was sleeping, and maybe I could wake her up. It was nighttime, so I figured I would go to sleep, like mommy, for the night.
When I woke up in the morning, my mom was still there not breathing, not moving and not sleeping. I was very young, but I understood my mother was dead, and I’d never get to say goodbye.
That was ten years ago. After being bounced in and out of New York City foster homes, I’m still trying to recover. Since that fateful event, well-meaning family members passed me around until I entered the foster care system at age seven. I was then removed from the home of my only remaining relative. The summer with my Aunt Lisa was the best summer I ever had. The cherry blossoms were falling around me and the hot humid air filled my body. Sliding my soft hands along the bumpy tree that I walked by, I remembered the previous couple of days with my Aunt. We had gone to the zoo, made crafts and shared various other fun events. I had gone to New Mexico to live with her. It was funny because she told me she had tea everyday because it let her talk to the fairies. She wasn’t the most intact in the world, but she was all I had, and I learned to love her. It felt like I was going to get another chance at life, like someone finally cared. That all got taken away when my social worker called and told me she wasn’t a fit guardian. I was to pack my bags and come back to New York on the next flight. That crushed my hopes of being normal and ever being happy again.
I sit in the office of Margret Jenkins. It has this musty smell and it’s very humid. I’m thinking about where she’s going to place me next. I go to new houses all the time. People think they can handle kids like cute little puppy dogs, and then, after awhile, just give us away again. It’s hard going to a new school, making new friends, and even having a new family; it gets sickening. While she sits behind her cold little metal desk, click clacking away at her computer, I stare at the wall with the one picture of the sun that I think is supposed to make you happy. It looks like a three-year-old drew it. It’s a yellow circle with a blue background and orange squiggles. How can people see this as art? It’s lame.
“What place are you guys throwing me in this time?” I butt in a question towards Margret.
“Were trying to find you somewhere very nice. You might have to stay with the kids that are also waiting tonight. We can’t do everything at the drop of a pin, sorry, Hun,” she said sweetly.
“Whatever,” I spoke as I stood up and went to go grab my suit case. As I walked down the hall way, I remembered the place from past stays. I’d been here a lot. I guess I’m just a really big screw up that rarely gets anything right.
I’ve technically had eight different foster homes. My longest stay at a house was a year. It was out in the country with an older married couple, their animals (chickens especially), and another foster child who was three-years-old. Surprisingly, I found out home schooling wasn’t that bad, I learned a lot. I think I’m supposed to be in 9th grade, but I’ve always had to restart, so I’m really in 7th. I learned how to do a lot of other things like milk a cow, feed animals, clean up after them, change a baby’s diaper, do household work, and other things. Their chickens and the three year old would always keep me up at night. Their screeching and crying mixed together like a horrid lullaby that went on for hours upon hours.
I tried telling my “parents” how much it bothered me, but they favored the chickens over me. They said that I was privileged to be under their roof with protection rather than out in the cold. I was going to have to learn how to sleep to the tune of the horrid lullaby or not sleep at all. I learned to deal with it eventually, but it wasn’t fun. Over all, they were some of my best foster parents until the chickens started walking around the house at night and sleeping with me.
I sit off in the corner of my grubby bed for the night, waiting for new things to come and happen; let’s call them adventures. I always have new places to go and new adventures to be on.
Margret walked into my room with a blanket and pillows. “I’m sure you’d like to be warm and a little cozy tonight,” she explained as she sat them down on my bed. “Want to talk about anything, Hun?” she asked sweetly. I teetered on the idea of letting my feelings out to her. I still barely know her. “Lucy, I promise you that you can talk to me.”
“Well,” I wanted to spill out everything, almost as if someone knocked over a glass of water onto the floor, but I couldn’t. “ I’m fine, thank you, though,” I tried saying politely.
“I know something’s bugging you, Honey. You know where my office is if you need me.”
“Thanks, but I’ll be fine. I’m going to sleep now if you don’t mind, ” I pulled the blankets on top of me and turned over.
“Goodnight, Lucy. I’ll wake you in the morning,” she spoke as she got off my bed and flipped off the lights.
I turned again on my super springy mattress, saw her walk down the hall and turn the corner. I had to make sure I didn’t tell her anything. What if she thought I was crazy like my aunt? She’d put me on those pills that make you even more crazy. They make you like a living dummy, non-moving and always tired. At bringing up the topic of being tired, I knew I was because my thoughts were wandering like a hobo on the street looking for food. I pulled the blanket over my head to block out all the city noises from outside. The police sirens, car horns, and barking dogs; they were all so distracting, but I got used to them. Before I knew it, I was fast asleep in bed. I tossed and turned throughout the night, although when I was awakened, I felt properly rested. I heard Margret whispering my name and shaking me to wake me up. I moaned and my eyes fluttered open.
“Oh joy! You’re up!” Margret exclaimed as she rapidly pulled open the curtains and stood at the end of the bed frame while sun streamed into my eyes. “Breakfast will be prepared for you in the dining hall. It’s nothing special but it fills your stomach.” She walked to the dresser and grabbed a neatly folded pile of clothes from on top. “I picked you up a new outfit that you can wear for an any day occasion. I hope you don’t mind!” she said as she set it on my lap and joyfully walked out of the room.
I decided it was best to get out of bed and get ready for my very boring day. I grabbed the clothes and headed to the bathroom. After I had put on the maroon soft knitted t-shirt and the long denim blue jeans, I brushed my silky blonde hair and walked to the dining hall. Once I had arrived, I saw a plate of food on the counter with a piece of paper that had my name on it. A little something jotted on the back, it said: “Lucy, come to my office after you are done eating. Enjoy your meal. Thanks, Margret.” I read through the note and pecked at eggs and a burnt piece of toast. Just like she said, it’s nothing special but it filled my stomach.
After breakfast, I stood up from where I had been sitting. I looked toward the way I came and froze. “Whoa” I said under my breath “Who could that be?” he walked and grabbed his plate of food and started walking towards me. I realized I was staring; I must have looked so idiotic. I told myself all I had to do was keep my head down and move one foot at a time. As I walked quickly to put my plate away, the worst thing possible happened. I tripped over my own shoe lace right as I was passing him. The left over crumbs on my plate went on him and everything on his plate went onto the floor.
“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry. Please don’t be mad!” I took a breath. I felt his hand go under my chin and lift it up. I looked at him with my puppy dog eyes pleading that he wouldn’t be mad. “I really am sorr...” I tried talking but he removed his hand and brushed off his shirt and started picking the plate up off the floor.
“I, I guess I’ll go and get something to help clean u-up” I stuttered. He just shook his head, so I walked as fast as I could to the kitchen. As I was walking, I wondered who this kid was? I hadn’t seen him before, and I’ve been here a long time. Maybe he’s a newbie. You know, got kicked out of his house for stealing or something. Another question dawned on me: why didn’t he say anything? Was he shy? People who steal really aren’t shy. My mind had begun to wander again. I need to find out who this boy was. He was so handsome and well kept. Tall, lean, and skinny but well built; he almost looked perfect. Along with that, he had long dark hair that swished with every step he took. I had arrived at the kitchen awhile ago, but I had to pause and think.
“You want something, baby girl?” one of the cooks asked me.
“Yes. I mean, yes, please. A broom please. I accidently spilled my plate” I stated. She walked away from me and came back with a wooden broom and dust pan.
“That should do you some good, sweet cheeks,” she smiled.
As I left to go back to the dining hall, holding the broom in one hand and a dust pan in another, I saw the guy waiting by the door. I must’ve taken too long. I tried walking a little faster not to get him anymore mad than he possibly could be. Once I reached him, I apologized again. His only response was taking the broom from my hands and sweeping everything up. I followed him and as he pointed to the ground, I figured it meant for me to hold the dust pan so he could sweep everything up. I still felt really bad. He had to go without breakfast for the whole day.
I suddenly remembered I was supposed to go to Margret’s office after I was finished eating. I had a choice, either to stay and talk to this guy or go to her office. I decided walking to her office would be the smarter choice in this situation.
“Hey, I’ll talk to you later, okay?” He nodded. “I’m still super sorry,” He just waved his hand, basically saying it was all good and not to worry about a thing. I arrived in Margret’s office shortly after and took a seat.
“What took you so long! I would’ve thought you got eaten by your food!” she spoke with a little irritation in her voice as she put some books away.
“It didn’t exactly go down like that,” I stretched out the sentence making it sound longer.
“Oh really?” she insignificantly questioned.
“Yah, more like a plate attacked me while I attacked it and it got on me and another person.” A little smile sneaked out just at the thought of that mysterious guy. “I’m not sure if he liked me much though, he didn’t talk to me at all. Even when I was saying sorry, it almost hurt,” I thought in my head.
“Who did you bump into?”
“I can honestly tell you I have no clue,” I tilted my head back in the chair. “ I wish I knew,” I said under my breath.
She must have heard that because she said, “Maybe I can help. Can you describe the person to me? I know every kid that’s in and out of here.”
I described his astonishing looks to her and while I did that, she sat and listened like a painter. While tapping her chin and examining each word I said like it was all a different piece of art, I found out the boy’s name was Jake and he was fifteen. He was deaf and can’t speak. I wanted to become his friend.
I got back on track, “So what did you want me to come down here for anyways?”
“I told you to come down here because I had to tell you that sadly, your on the bottom of our placement list and you’ll be staying here for a little longer than planned,” she lowered her head.
“What? Are you kidding me?” My heart beat started to pound fiercely through my chest.
“I’m sorry, Hun, I really am.” She started to get up to give me a hug.
I quickly stood up from my seat, “It’s okay, I’m okay. I’ll sit in this terrible place a little longer, whatever.” I walked out the door and sprinted down the hallway.
I kept it together until I got into my room. I threw myself on the old bed and let my tears flow like waterfalls in the rain forest.
I was sick of my life. I’d been through enough. My life felt like an old, abused brick wall that was being demolished. No matter what people would do, I thought I would never break down. They threw bombs and arrows, but all that did was create cracks and chip pieces off. But now, this was the final straw. They took dynamite and it was destroyed. I was destroyed.
The tears flowed harder and my life felt worse as each second wore on. Maybe it'd be better if I was with my mom. We could be happy together and not have a worry at all. As I hid my face in the pillow bawling my eyes out, Jake must have slipped a note under the door. I got up from the bed and read it out loud. “Hey, so I hear you know some of my story. I saw you run into your room, write back if you want to talk? I’m here and I can promise I’ll tell no one. I’m in the room right across the hall. Jake.” I grasped the note in my hand. Other people have told me this exact same thing. What makes him different? I guess it was just a vibe that he gave off. I wiped my tears and make up running down my face. Maybe I could tell him everything. It’s been bottled up inside me forever; I’ve never really told anyone the full story of my life.
I grabbed a piece of paper off of my dresser and wrote down, “I think talking to you could help a lot, Lucy” And I made sure to put a little smiley face at the end just to show him I’m stronger than he thinks. I opened my door, walked across the hall and slid the note under his door. As I walked back inside my room, I could hear him picking up the note. I lay on my bed and gazed at the plastered white ceiling thinking if he’d write back or not. I heard a little knock at my door and got up to see who it was.
I asked “What do you want?” in a sniffle voice. They just knocked again. I opened my door and there Jake was standing with a piece of paper that said “Does now work?” I smiled, through my glossy eyes and hugged him. We stayed there hugging for almost three minutes and I cried on his shoulder. I now knew that he was here to fix that brick wall. He was here to fix me and help me through life. I could feel it now. We were true friends meant to be.