Ten years ago, where are they now?
She walked out of the group home, past me, up the steps into the rescue and sat on the bench, looking out of the rear window. I sat in the Captain’s chair and waited. Eventually she looked my way.
“I heard you’re suicidal.”
“That’s what they say.”
“Them in there,” she nodded her head toward the house.
“What do you say?”
“What does it matter?”
“What do you mean what does it matter?”
“They say I gotta go for a psych evaluation, I’ve got to go.”
I asked Rob to head toward Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Shanaya watched me from her seat, four feet away. She is going to be eighteen in a month.
“What happens when you turn eighteen?” I asked. The State is cutting back and services for children in state custody may be cut drastically. I looked at the young lady seated across from me, tough, determined and depressed and wondered how in the world would she survive on her own.
“They mentioned Crossroads.”
“You can’t go to Crossroads!” I said, sitting up in my seat. Our rescues are called there daily for assaults, overdoses, drunks and every reason you can think of, then some. The clientele there is poisoned with chronically homeless people who know the system and how to abuse it. This kid wouldn’t have a chance. They would eat her alive.
I sensed she wanted to talk so I pressed.
“Where are your parents?”
“I was adopted when I was four. They gave up years ago. They knew what they were getting into.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I’m a lot of trouble.”
“How much trouble can you be?” I asked. She was suddenly adorable as her smile lighted her face.
“I stayed out late, cut school, wouldn’t listen.”
It was probably worse than she let on, but I have a bad habit of placing most of the blame on the parents. Kids are what you make them, for the most part, at least in my world.
“I don’t think your parent’s tried hard enough. Can you go back?”
“They’re done with me.” She said it with such finality I wondered about the motives of the adoptive parents.
“Is there anybody else?”
“There’s seven of us, five boys, two girls,” she smiled again, I melted.
“Do you see them?”
We had backed into the rescue bay at Hasbro but I couldn’t go in just yet.
Her mood had lightened considerably, she became animated, using her hands as she talked, her eyes sparkling like they always should have.
“We keep in contact on My Space, all of us, even the baby, she’s seven and is going to live with a family in Virginia but she’s part of us. We’re going to get together as soon as we can.”
Rob opened the rear door of the rescue. Shanaya’s face dropped, she put the mask back on. I couldn’t move for a minute, she gave me a quick smile, letting me know it was alright, got up and walked into the hospital.