Monday, April 18, 2011

The Departure

Creative Writing class is one of the courses I teach at DePaul University (SNL) where students create wonderful short stories based on the required assignments.
Here you'll read The Departure written by Caroll Baptiste
in the Winter quarter.

The day has finally arrived. I always knew that it would come and I wondered why it hadn’t come sooner. Fourteen months was a record for me; I have never stayed anywhere that long. It was always the same everywhere I went; I stayed a few months, then it was time to go. Again and again, I went through the same scenario. It was always for the same reason; I could not follow any rules. I was like my father: rotten, no good, a bad influence that would never amount to anything and would probably end up in jail like him. They didn’t even have the nerve to tell me that I was leaving. I overheard someone talking about it. I always have to listen to find out things that concerned me, because no one ever tells me anything. My whole life was about to change and I had to hear it from someone who had absolutely nothing to do with me. I knew why they didn’t tell me. They were afraid that I would burn down the house with everyone in it. That’s the type of person that they think I am. I let them think so. Why should I show them who I really am. They don’t really care about me; all they care about is the money that the government gives to keep me.
Even though it was 1:00pm, I am still in bed with my headphones on my ears but I didn’t turn on the mp3. I don’t want to move, I don’t want to feel and I don’t want to do anything. I wish it was yesterday again when I didn’t know that I would be leaving. Looking at the room that will no longer be mine, I try to reflect on my life in color instead of black and white. The room that they had allowed me to use is a small 9’ x12’, which contains a bunk bed on one side, a desk and a chair on the adjacent wall, a chest placed closely against the wall next to the entry door and a mirror above the dresser. The mirror is high enough that if I wanted to, I could stare at my reflection while lying on the top bunk. The only window in the bedroom is directly above my desk. However, I have to stand up to see out the window and the only view is the office of our next door neighbor. He always has his computer on facing our window. We can always tell when he is out of town; the computer screen never changes. Last winter he spent months away.
The ceiling fan, which I have turned on because of the heat, is blowing hot air on me. As each hand of the fan follows the other in complete circles, they seem to stop by me as if to pay their last respect and the sound that they make in passing is soothing. I have so much on my mind.
I am not sure how I am supposed to feel. They are getting rid of me; I probably deserve it. I just can’t adjust to family life. I was told that before. I am no longer sure what type of person I am. The lady I lived with before told me some terrible things about my father; she said that he was a rapist. She didn’t have to say it that way, as if I was going to follow in his footsteps. I don’t believe what she said anyway. She was probably making it up to lower my self-esteem. No one has ever said anything good about my parents. Maybe there is nothing good to say about them.
I stare at the walls that have been my companions for more than a year and would like to say goodbye to the room but I can’t feel anything. I always knew I would have to go. That’s why I never put a picture on those walls or on the chest, not even on the desk where I sit every day to do homework. It was just a temporary place until the next place that I would be moving in. Someone told me once that I was a nomad because I did not stay anywhere for long. I never thought of myself that way but maybe I am a drifter; although, how can I be a drifter when I had no control over my life. The decision to leave had not been mine. I was not asked my opinion. It was all decided for me like it had been decided many times before. I think I would have liked to stay; I do trust my foster mother 99 percent of the time.
I hear the doorbell and soon after I hear the voice of my caseworker. She is coming up the stairs to help me pack but I am already packed. I slide down the bunk bed and put my feet on the old chocolate carpet. I like waking up and putting my feet on the carpet even though it’s a bare as a wood floor but it’s always warm. The walk- in closet door is painted a dark green, the window curtains are a light green; a sharp contrast against the dark blue comforter which I imagine was bought second hand at a thrift shop with the rest of the furniture. I can’t imagine them buying anything knew for me; I am just a charity case. I open the closet door, grab my bags to go down the stairs, and I meet my caseworker half way.

No comments: