Sunday, October 02, 2005

With every end comes a new beginning...

It was the winter of 1972, the girl was 10. She believed there was something magical about being 10, two digits, not a teen yet, but not a child anymore either. She knew this was an age of growth and change, she didn't know exactly what that meant, but she knew it was important.
In the winter months in the north, the sun sets early, the nights are cold. She is at home alone and she had been alone for many days.
She gets herself up for school in the mornings, comes home and does her homework, finds food for dinner and puts herself to bed at night. It is just her and her father, but he hasn't been home for a week, maybe more; she doesn't know exactly how many days it's been for sure. He'd been gone at night and for up to few nights before, but a week was a really long time. She didn't know who to call to make sure he was okay, so she just focused on the things she needed to do each day to get through it until the next.
The food was getting low and the milk was sour.
This night, just before bed, there was a knock at the door, she hoped it was her father and maybe he had forgotten his keys... that was the only reason she opened the door.
Two men were there instead, they had some questions. Was she home alone? Where was her father? Just how long had it been?
The men walked into the house like they belonged there. They walked through the house, they looked in every room. They looked in the cupboards and the fridge. They used the phone and talked to someone in a low voice, she could not hear what they were saying.
The men told her their names and they had a business card and a small badge like a police badge, but smaller, almost like a toy. They wrote a note and left it by the phone, soon it was time to leave. They wanted to take the girl with them. She was beginning to get scared of these men. She wasn't sure exactly who they were or why they were there. They each held her elbow and walked her towards the door to a waiting car in the dark street.
She was worried about her father, she was afraid he would be scared if he came home and she was not there, but the men said they had left a note for him and that it was OK for her to leave.
Each man has his own car and one wanted her to get into his car. He opened the front door, but she felt safer in the back seat, so she sat back there.
They drove downtown to juvenile hall and got out, she thought maybe she had done something wrong and was being arrested, she didn't know why they would take her there. She sat in a small room alone for quite some time, the men said they would be back. Eventually a woman came into the room and said they had found a home that would take her... she was really confused, she already had a home and that's where the girl wanted to be.
She never saw the men again.
In the middle of the night, the woman took her to a place called a receiving home and the woman explained that it was a type of foster home for children until they could go to court... again the girl could not figure out what she had done wrong.
A woman in a terry cloth robe met them at the back door of a large house, the girl was given something to sleep in and was led to one of eight beds in a row along one wall of a large room in the basement of the house, the girl was sure there had been a mistake and her father would straighten it all out once he came home... if he could find her.
Most of the beds held older teenage girls, a radio played music softly from one corner of the room. The girl got into an empty bed and for the first time, a single big tear rolled down her cheek. As she drifted off to sleep, a song in the background sang the words to a slow song... "your daddy's home, your daddy's home, daddy's home to stay-ay"....

posted by addict @ 9:05 PM |

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