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When I was a kid, after my mother took her own life, I went to stay with her ex-husband. He was remarried and in addition to my half siblings, they had another child my age. When, a week later I was shipped off to another foster home, it was because I was taking attention away from their son and because I was me. I read the report from the Big Box of Pain and it stated that he had said that I would always be Jessie “my last name”. Meaning I did not fit, nor would I ever fit into their lives.
In retrospect, it was a good move, these people were bad parents and they fucked up my biological siblings each in their own way. And he was right. I had been “me” my whole life and I sure as hell was not going to change who I was to fit into what they needed me to be.
Briefly though, for a week, I was a part of a family, I had my siblings. The only time in my life I had my siblings and was actually a part of their lives. I was and I imagine they too were still reeling from our mothers death. I had not really had time to absorb it or understand it.
As I was driven away from the little trailer by the lake they lived in, down the long dirt road, I held a little yellow stuffed duck to my chest. A gift from the Easter Bunny. I looked out the window and saw my siblings watch me ride away, dust from the dirt road trailing in our wake. Eventually they were gone and it was just me, my duck and the caseworker.
Sitting back I looked out the window and watched the trees, thick and green, fly by and I saw the shadow of the car as it followed alongside us. I watched as it turned into a panther, loping alongside the car. It was black as the darkest night and when it turned toward the car, never missing a step as it passed through the trees, I understood that it would never leave me. The darkness, whatever shape it took, it would get closer and closer until it overcame and then became me.
There was a sense of peace and normalcy to my being taken to a new foster home and to my companion that had always been with me now showing itself to me. I withdrew into myself and let the world fall away until only me and the darkness remained with the faint sound of the waves and cries of the lost lulling me to sleep.
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