“Megan, come and meet your new foster parents.”
I crept from behind the doorframe, panic rising within me. It couldn’t be my turn. Not yet. A middle aged couple stood before me. Normal, at first glance. They both had matching smiles plastered onto their faces, just like all the hopeful couples who came by the place in search for a new piece to add to their incomplete collection. Upon closer inspection – with my head lifted just an inch – I examined the man’s rough fingertips: bruised, damaged. A sign of hard work – possible bravery. The woman stood beside him, the violet velvet sleeve of her coat not quite touching his - keeping a distance she felt would be appropriate, close enough to show their united front, to hide the conflict and disagreement that went on behind closed doors. A pang of guilt shot through me like the raindrops striking at the window. I watched the children leaning on the doorframe as if it were all they had – their, our, last form of protection. And it was. Without it, we wouldn’t have a home; we wouldn’t have our own room with a pillow to cry into or toys to punch when the frustration got too much. Without this place, we wouldn’t have each other; we wouldn’t have to roll our eyes over the cracks in the floor when asked about our family. We wouldn’t feel the tension rising inside as the memories flowed back, blurry images of our actual parents. Months ago the screams would echo in my mind as I fought to sleep at night. Being here, things had gotten better.
Tears tore from my eyes as I dragged a single suitcase behind me. All I had to show for seven years of my life. The rest glimmered inside of me like the glazed looks of my eighteen brothers and sisters. Some waved, others hung their heads to the floor, puddles forming below them. I opened my mouth, but the words wouldn’t quite come out.
“I’ll miss you.”