Being a foster child isn't all that it's cracked up to be. But it's even worse when you're me. People are always fighting with their parents and wishing they didn't have parents. Everyone tells their parents that they hate them. It's okay, right? Wrong. Don't ever tell your parents that. Don't even think it. All it brings is trouble. You see, when I was 5, I was a troublemaker. I got everything and anything that I wanted. My parents bent over backwards to do anything for me. But I didn't appreciate it at all. I always had too little of something.
"Only one puppy? I wanted two. I want more."
"Only one scoop of ice cream? I want more."
Then out of nowhere, they put their foot down. One day, they said they didn't have the money to support all my needs. Life turned upside down, and I thought it was all their fault. I argued with my parents, ran to room, and screamed, "I wish I didn't have parents!"
That night, I smelled smoke. I woke up and my house was engulfed in flames. I crawled out my window, not a scratch or burn on my body. My parents were never seen again. They hadn't even woken up. They had been burned in their sleep.
But even now, the wish haunts me. I cannot last more than 5 months with a foster family. They don't die, but they always dump me back to the foster home. In my opinion, that's worth than them dying. They choose to get rid of me. They act like I am nothing. But they are nothing to me. I have never taken back my wish. And now my wish will become my curse.
Today is another big day. I've suffered through fifteen of these days. The day where I get to meet my new foster family. The file about this family is uninteresting. The parents are fairly young and have two teenage kids and a 5 year old. I am hesitant. I don't get along well with others my age, and I don't want to be around a 5 year old. But I have no choice. They have a big house and loads of money. They all probably wear designer clothes. They won't like me much then. I have 2 pairs of ripped jeans and three shirts. They are from Goodwill, the farthest thing from designer.
I don't know if I will even come close to fitting into their family. My brown hair is always wild and free, and my tan skill is starting to become dull. I look sick. I feel sick. I silently say goodbye to the foster home, but I know I will be back. I am not leaving for very long. Just 5 months. I grab my backpack and walk down the driveway. I have to wait for my caretaker, Mary. I hope she isn't late. I am already impatient. I just want to get his over with. When she pulls up the Red Town Foster Home minivan, I open the passenger door and slide in.
It is a long drive, and I start to drift into a light sleep, but I am startled awake when Mary calls my name. I warily blink a few times and stare at the house. No, it isn't a house. It is a mansion with dark wood and plum windows. The landscaping is stunning. I am surrounded by dewy green grass, roses and forget me nots.
Mary is nervous. She keeps looking at her reflection in her visor mirror and fidgeting with her gray business suit.
"Mary," I say, meeting her eyes. I give her an encouraging smile, "Are you ready?"
She swallows and meekly says, Yeah." She clears her throat and nods determinedly. "Now, behave." If this doesn't go well, I will have to be sent to the foster home immediately. None of us want that. When we get out of the car door, a mastiff appears out of nowhere and begs to be petted. Mary starts tentatively patting his head when the front door opens. A beautiful woman in her late 30s struts out. She has auburn hair that hangs past her shoulders and her simple white dress skims her knees.
The mastiff runs towards her and anxiously greets her. She holds her hand out as she reaches us saying, "Cynthia?"
I hesitantly grab her hand and shake it. "That's me."
She smiles broadly and her eyes light up. She pulls me into a hug. I am slightly uncomfortable but also pleased. I rarely get hugged. She smells like lavender and sage. She smells like home. She pulls away and hugs Mary and then gives us a formal introduction, "My name is Elena. I guess I'm you new 'foster mom!" she laughs angelically. I laugh along because her laugh is contagious. Mary can't help but laugh as well.
"Come," Elena says," we shall talk in the dining room." She grabs my backpack off of the ground and starts carrying it.
I am stunned. "Elena, you don't have to do that."
She turns her head and smiles, "You are family now, Cynthia. Family helps family." she winks and leads us through the front door and down a long hallway. I feel like I am being dragged into heaven.