Some Of My Fiction

24 Nov

The girl sat on the swings, swaying gently back and forth. Her dark brown hair was gathered together at the nape of her neck and hung scraggily down, reaching the middle of her back. It looked like it hadn’t been washed in weeks, and, as far as she could remember, probably hadn’t been. In her house, no one really cared if you were washed or not, as long as you didn’t get too near any of the adults.

The stinging words of her classmates still rang in her head, even though they’d been gone for hours. She wasn’t sure why they seemed to bother her so much tonight. It wasn’t as though she hadn’t been called those names before in her 10 years. Maybe it was because the boy she had a crush on, Jeremiah, was the leader of the pack this time. Maybe it was because he was the one who hurled out the most insulting taunts, or maybe it was because the perfect Jessica was standing beside him the whole time, enjoying her torment as the kids hurled vile names at her.

Her light blue eyes stayed fixed on the lone soda can that was sitting in the middle of the playground. It was dented and dirty, and had obviously been discarded after all of the delicious nectar had been sucked out of it. She’d had soda a few times, usually only when her case worker came and took her out to have lunch or something, but she remembered what it tasted like. Sweet. Bubbly. To the cast off foster child, soda tasted rich.

An autumn breeze stirred up and had the dried colored leaves flittering across the ground. It was soon to be winter in Vermont, and that meant long nights filled with shivering skin and aching bones. She thought fleetingly of the puffy new pink coat that her caseworker had brought to her a few days ago, and knew that, by now, it was safely entrenched in her foster sister’s closet. Amy was a year older than she was, and would likely not fit into the coat, but she hated when Carly had anything newer than she did, and tended to take it from her bedroom whenever she wasn’t home. Amy’s parents, Michael and Andrea, would have the coat back in Carly’s bedroom whenever her case worker visited, after all, they didn’t want to lose their monthly allotment for taking care of her, but they wouldn’t lift a finger when Amy took it back to her bedroom after the caseworker’s scheduled visit was over.

Carly was through getting mad at Amy, after all, it didn’t do any good to try to tell on her. Michael and Andrea didn’t care, and she’d learned years ago that there was no point in telling her teachers about what was going on at home. She was a foster child. A ward of the state. As long as she was getting food and looked physically healthy, no one cared.

Jeremiah, however, was another matter. This was the first time she’d dared to like a boy, and to have him yell words like “loser”, “scum bucket”, and “cunt” at her made her infuriated. She wasn’t quite sure what the last word meant, but after Jeremiah screamed it he got this mean looking smile on his face, while the other kids gasped in shock. Soon all of the kids were yelling it out loud, and only stopped when the bus pulled up to the curb to take them home. Carly, however, didn’t get on the bus, but stayed sitting on the swings, the very place she’d been ambushed, trying to make sense of the whole situation.

She thought of the two mile walk back to Michael and Andrea’s house, and of how she’d get yelled at when she got home for making them “worry” (they only worried about her disappearing and their checks becoming non-existent), and sighed. She supposed she’d better get started.

Suddenly the anger began to build in her. Anger at Jeremiah for calling her names. Anger at Jessica for looking so smug the entire time the crowd of children were taunting her. Anger at Amy for taking all of her things. Anger at Michael and Andrea for not caring. Anger at her mother and father for abandoning her to a life of being ignored and hated. Anger at the world in general.

Her eyes narrowed on the soda can and she briefly thought about walking over to kick it as hard as she could. Suddenly the can went flying across the playground, landing ten feet away from where it first lay. Carly’s eyes flew open wide and she looked around, wondering exactly what had happened. The wind had died down, and there was no one else around. She couldn’t have made the can move, could she have?

She looked at the can again, and willed it to move. It lay still. She thought about saying all the magic words she knew from her beloved story books, but they seemed silly, and besides, she hadn’t said a word when the can had become airborne in the first place. What was she doing? She tried to remember. She knew she’d been thinking about how much she hated her life, and about how ignored she felt. She knew she had been considering getting up and giving the can a strong kick before she started her long walk home. Her eyes narrowed on the can, imagining how hard she’d like to kick it, and once again, it flew high into the air.

Carly’s face of surprise slowly transformed into one of cautious happiness. Maybe her life didn’t suck as bad as she thought it did after all.

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