First of all - thanks SO MUCH to all of you for the great comments yesterday! I appreciate each of your opinions and love hearing from you!!!
As promised, I'm going to participate in this weeks Teaser Tuesday! (and yes, I realize I'm a bit early but I think I have a cold coming on so I'm hitting the NyQuil tonight before bed and I don't trust myself to get up early enough in the morning to post this...so I figure I'm close enough to Tuesday, right?)
This is from my latest work in progress and is totally different than my normal stuff. This is more of a literary fiction piece that just kind of came to me and forced me to give it a go. Nothing paranormal here but I really like the way it's shaping up. Any feedback is welcome - both criticism, thoughts, anything. All thoughts make me a better writer or author so feel free to leave them below.
Here it is...
It was almost that time again. The families would be here soon and I could already feel the mixture of excitement and anticipation in the air. It had been longer than normal since our last visitation day, and that tiny fact seemed to be making all the difference. Everyone was more anxious and nervous than usual, which is saying something.
I looked up just as Miss Eloise rushed by, her arms full of socks, yelling at my best friend Cole to tuck in his shirt, for me to finish making my bed, and for Mikah, the house bully, to help her put the clothes up quickly. I never understood why she felt the need to make sure the laundry was put away before the families arrived. To this day, no one had ever looked into our drawers to make sure we had ample socks, and I’m pretty sure the parents didn’t pick their children based on the amount of clean clothes they had organized.
Cole rolled his eyes at me while cramming his shirt into his pants. “She never stops” he mumbled, frustrated he had been singled out again.
I glanced over as I tucked in the corners of my blanket. “It could be worse you know. You could have to put the clothes away.” We both snickered, keeping our voices low.
I suppose everyone had their own strange little habits and superstitions on visitation day. It reminded me of something I read one time in an old sports magazine about a softball player who wore dirty underwear every game because he thought it helped. I was thankful no one had that superstition, and if they did, I was glad I didn’t know about it. But Miss Eloise had her laundry, Cole put a penny in his shoe and even Mikah could be seen shoving a rabbit foot into his pocket when he thought no one was looking.
I loved watching people on this day. It was the only time I saw that glimmer of hope in everyone’s eyes, kids and teachers alike. Today everyone was different. Today we’d be on our best behavior, dreaming about what could happen… how our lives might instantly change. Today we all worked together as a team.
I wished we could be like this every day but I knew as soon as the families left, things would go back to normal. Usually worse than normal. Most kids didn’t take the disappointment well.
As for me, I always believed that I’d recognize them the minute they walked in; that I would feel the instant connection and know in my heart where my place was in life. This past year had been hard on me and I had begun to doubt myself. Perhaps my teachers were right after all and I should just settle on a nice family and move on.
It’s not that I’d never been chosen. It’s that I’d never been chosen by The Ones.
The Ones, that’s what I call my real family. Not the biological ones who gave me up years ago, but The Ones I truly belong to. The Ones I will instantly know when I see them. I know they are out there. They have to be out there.
It was the same every time I liked a family and tried to leave. I knew they weren’t The Ones but I also knew it was a chance at a better life. I tried to tell myself this time would be different, that I was doing the right thing; that it was time to move on. But the minute the car would pull away from this place, my heart would panic.
What if they came after I was gone and I missed them after all this time I’ve waited? I knew it didn’t make any sense but I couldn’t stand to let that happen. This single thought terrified me above all others. Deep down it just seemed wrong. I needed to be patient. I couldn’t give up.
So instead I’d choose to throw a tantrum each time, exhibiting the worst possible behaviors I could think up, until, terrified, my new parents returned me. It’s not something I’m proud of, but deep down I had believed it a necessity. I felt awful for the pain I caused those parents. Not to mention the cost of breaking out a window or two with my own fist. I deserved the pain the stitches brought and the scar on my hands reminded me of my outburst and the cost. Maybe I was crazy after all, but many of my friends found decent homes because of my bad behavior, so something good came of it in the end.
Lately the number of families that come to visit us has gone down and we sometimes go weeks with no visitors at all. I guess a lot of it has to do with our age…we are all getting older and harder to place. Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can wait for The Ones and if my waiting will cause me to never have a family of my own. That scares me and I sometimes hate myself for believing. All this time, I have never considered the possibility I wouldn’t find them.
Miss Eloise pops her head into our room and shouts “Five minutes boys” to let us know the families will be here soon and to put the finishing touches on our room.
Cole walks over to me and asks, “You think The Ones will be here today Everette?”
“I don’t know anymore Cole. I hope so” I reply.
I know when I say this it will surprise him, and I can see the shock on his face. Normally I would respond “I have a good feeling about today man, it’s going to happen.” But I just don’t have it in me. Today I’m starting to admit I might really be crazy.
He pauses for a minute, smiles, and says in a chipper voice, “I hope so too. I feel like it’s today, I really do, even if you don’t.”
I feel the need to hug him but resist. The other kids would only make fun of us and I can’t have that today, for either of us. Cole is the only friend I have that believes in The Ones as much as I do…not for himself, but for me. He knows I believe it and that’s enough for him. I don’t think I’ll ever find a friend in my life as great as Cole. We’ve been through a lot over the years and he is the closest thing I have to a brother.
I’m still trying to get it together when I hear footsteps out in the hall. I have to run in order to get in front of my bunk in time. I smile over at Cole and take a deep breath as the door opens. I say a silent prayer, as I do every time, that The Ones will have finally found me. That’s my own strange little habit.
Here we go again.
I watch as Miss Eloise escorts five people into the room. She begins pointing to each of us, telling the parents our names, along with a summary of our hobbies and interests. It’s the same talk that we’ve all heard a million times before and I can repeat it word for word.
While she’s talking, I scan our new visitors, hoping I’ll recognize The Ones and wondering if I can handle another week of disappointment. The first couple looks nice and I take the time to really concentrate on them. She is tall and thin with long, straight blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail. I like that she’s wearing jeans and tennis shoes… I hate it when they dress up to impress us. The man has his arm around his wife and is also wearing jeans and tennis shoes. He looks pretty cool and I think any kid would be lucky to go home with these two. They seem nervous. He looks at me and smiles, but like the others, no matter how much I concentrate on them, I know instantly they are not The Ones. I don’t know how I know, I just know. My heart doesn’t feel the need to run to them like I believe it will when I’ve found them. No matter how long I look or how hard I try to imagine a life with them it just doesn’t work.
My eyes wander over to the woman next in line and my heart stops as I look up at her. And just like that, I know The Ones are really here. After all this waiting it was that simple. I don’t know what to do. My adrenaline begins pumping as I look around for her husband. I can’t wait to see what he looks like but I can’t seem to find him. I’m amazed I can pick her out even when she’s all alone. Even I didn’t expect it to be this strong. I laugh out loud and Miss Eloise shoots me a sideways glance in an effort to tell me to behave. The One looks at me and I smile, trying my best to let her know I’m the one for her. She smiles back at me and returns to listening to Miss Eloise.
Without a shadow of a doubt I know it’s her. I can barely resist the ridiculous urge to run to her, grab her legs, and beg her to take me with her. I wonder what her husband is like and why he’s not here.
I’m so excited I can hardly stand still. I want to bounce in the air. I feel someone nudge me on my right arm and turn to see Cole staring at me, wide-eyed. He mouths the words “Are The Ones here?”
As I nod in return he almost falls over from shock. We are now both grinning and can hardly sit still. And all I can think to myself is finally. And thank goodness I’m not crazy after all.
Happy Tuesday everyone!!!