|| Iris ||
I sat at an orange picnic table, waiting for my interview. I ran my hand through my chopped hair, letting the winter sun warm my scalp. The families weren't supposed to be shopping, it was supposed to be a 'getting to know you' visit, but it was an audition and everyone knew it. I was worried- I didn't want to get placed. I would rather stay at this crappy foster home until I was eighteen.
At a table under the big pines, another interview was taking place, a sibling set. They were always the worst. The cute little brother in the woman's lap, the older brother, past cute, pubescent, downy-lipped, standing off to the right, hands in his pockets. They only wanted the little one. Big brother was trying to convince them how responsible he was, how he'd help take care of the little guy, carry the trash, mow the lawn. I could barely watch.
I had my first interview on Tuesday. Bill and Ann Greenway from close by. They'd been foster parents for years. They just had one go back to her birth parents. They had her for three years. Bill wiped his mouth as he told it, Ann blinking back tears. I studied my shoes, white Keds, blue striped down the sides, oversized lace holes. One thing in my favor, I wasn't going to my mother anytime soon.
I could've gone with them, Ann and Bill Greenway from close by. But with them I would be too happy- I don't deserve happiness.
I looked at Bill and Ann their well-meaning faces, sturdy shoes, no hard questions. Bill's graying blonde crew cut, his silver-trimmed glasses, Ann's snip-and-curl beauty shop hair. This was attainable, so homely and welcoming. But I felt myself pushing away from them.
So now I sat at the tables again, waiting for my next interview. I saw her, a skinny, dark haired female. She walked over to my table with a flush in her cheeks, a wide radiant smile on her face. Her teeth white like skim milk. I knew instantly, I'd be going with her.
Her name was Claire Richards. In a week, she took me home in her white Cadillac. It was cold, raining, sky a smother of dull gray.
"Go on ahead," she said, her voice old-fashioned, her words completely enunciating, crisp velvety words, "explore."
I nodded shyly and walked up the red line wood stairs. My room. Soft pine twin beds, in case of sleepovers. Thin old-fashioned patched homemade quilts. Pine desk, bookcase, and a Dürer rabbit sketching in a pinewood frame. I can't imagine myself filling this room.
"Did you see your room? I left it plain so you could put your own things up. Make it yours." Claire asked when I returned
I wanted to tell her I wasn't what she expected- she may not want me. She's more nervous than I am, I wish I could put her to her rest. "I like the Dürer."
She laughed, a short burst, clapped her hands together. "Oh we're going to get along fine. I'm only sorry Ron couldn't be here. My husband. He's out filming a movie. But what can you do? Would you like some tea? Or a Coke? I bought Coke, I didn't know what you'd drink. We also have juice, or I could make you a smoothie-"
"Tea is fine." I said.
First chapter is up;)xxx
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