This is a story based on the idea of the road not taken, and the six-sentence story prompt of PATH by girl on the edge.  It is the story of a woman looking to adopt a second child deciding whether or not to take in a six-year-old girl that will change her life forever.

The Road Taken

Life is full of decisions, choices that define your path, and looking back I can see in perfect clarity the moment where I zigged when I should have zagged, ultimately leading the garbage fire that I am living today.

It was a cold day in June when I got the call that’s he was available for adoption, that her foster family wasn’t interested in keeping the beautiful six-year-old girl with blond corkscrew curls, and I fell in love with the photo of a gap-toothed cherub with a good psych report before I even saw her in person.

When she stepped into the house she was every inch the angel from the photo, and it took months before I realized that if the little girl in my care was an angel, then she was one who had fallen because the she was a demon.

I am not talking about your usual tantrums and boundary testing which I was prepared for after adopting my son,  but true destruction in the form of breaking little Benji’s arm when he wouldn’t share his toys, then blaming me for it, and what I finally drew the line at, setting the house on fire after locking us inside.

The child psychologist agreed with me, that she was a danger to herself and others, and after a six-month fight to get her proper care, I was told I either had to take her home, or abandon her in the dead of night, like a criminal.

My mother stopped talking to me after, so did most of my friends, my job suffered as well, leading me to cut ties, movie to a new state where no one knew me or my past, and  I can trace it all back to that single moment when I signed the paper to adopt a child in need.

Another Choice

I had my pen on the line, prepared to sign and take the adorable little girl in when Benji started to cry.

As I changed him, I remembered how, how his foster family wanted to adopt, but were unable to when the other little girl in their care became ill, and I started to wonder why the foster family wouldn’t want Becky, after having her almost eight months.

I went back into the living room a few minutes later, but I didn’t pick up the pen, and with every question I asked more were raised, the social worker seeming shiftier by the second.

Finally, she demanded to know if I actually wanted a child, and I said I couldn’t take the little girl if she couldn’t tell me the reason the foster family wasn’t interested in adopting.

I could see all the fight go out of her ii an instant, as she reluctantly admitted that the family had three children already, and Becky wasn’t taking well to siblings

She couldn’t meet my eyes as she spoke, and I soon showed her to the door, knowing Benji would have to be enough for now.

I am 100% pro adoption, but I have known some really great people who have lived some really big horror stories, and I think people need to put a lot of thought into what they are doing and make sure they are really ready for that particular child, and if it’s a good fit for both the child and the rest of the family.

For Want of a Nail

This was a multi-challenge response to both girlontheedge’s six-sentence word of the week BOOKMARK, and the invisible ink challenge based on the picture below. I am happy with what I came up with, a rather strange little piece about a person with too many bookmarks and none when it counts, which many of us bookish types may see themselves in.

My most innate talent was the ability to lose things in large numbers, which is why when I went to the library to work on my paper I could not find a bookmark to save my life, even though I knew I had to have at least 50.

It wasn’t a joke, an exaggeration, if anything it was an understatement with the truly ridiculous number of bookmarks I had been gifted over the years, on top of those I purchased myself when the mood took me.

I never threw a single one out from the Shhhhh! bookmark from the scholastic book fair I got in the first grade, to the rather obscenely shaped one I got from my best friend as a thank you gift for the wild bachelorette I threw her.

That said, when the need arose, I could search my entire house a find nary a sign that they existed which is why I used everything from my lunch money, to the napkin that came with it, to the receipt to mark my place.

Today I sat at the library, similarly bereft, taking using a pen, a paper-clip I found in my pencil case, and the cloth strip attached to the hard cover to allow for me flip between my three sections with ease while I scribbled down my notes.

All good things come to an end though, the pen pressed into service after an ill-timed ink shortage, the paper-clip needed to clip the papers, and so I surrendered my left hand, two fingers holding the places where anything else would have sufficed, and I mourned the absence of a good bookmark.

In Dreams

Today’s work is a challenge response to many challenges, and I think it turned out better than I expected overall. This is the story of a person who wants to get away from it all, and dreams about their ideal home. I don’t want to spoil it, but if you have read any of my other work, like usual, there is more than meets the eyes here.

In my dreams I own a log cabin in the woods, secluded and peaceful, where there are no nosy neighbors with prying eyes, and eavesdropping ears.
It wouldn’t be that big, a single room with an old fashioned wood stove, and kerosene lamps, no ever present buzz of electricity to ruin the moment.
I wouldn’t need a bedroom here, no closets, nothing to hide, just me, the land, and whomever I might bring here when the mood strikes.
No more pretending to want to spend nights in overpriced restaurants or overcrowded theaters, with girls that have more air in their heads than brains.
In my perfect little cabin in the middle of nowhere, I could paint my own soliloquy in red, and no one would ever have to know that this is who I am beneath it all, because here I would be free to be me.
I breathe in the rich scent of coffee wafting from my cup, pulled from my reverie by the muffled screams coming from my closet, and I sigh, knowing that for now this is as close as I am going to get to that kind of serenity.

If you want to make it creepier, read it again while listening to “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison which has creeped my out since I watched blue velvet in a college class.

Precious Cargo

The word of the week is EXCHANGE and I will admit this one is a little weird.   I went with the definition of exchange, as an exchange of goods.  I have to admit, this is not my favorite six, and sometimes you write something and just go, ya, okay, that’s odd.  This is that story.

There is something about using the barter system that makes me feel like a peasant in the Middle Ages, a drug dealer or a spy.

As I stand on the darkened street corner, waiting for the guy with the goods to make it to the exchange, I think that today we are leaning more towards drug dealer.

He finally shows on foot, looking around furtively as he crinkles the top of the folded paper lunch bag with one hand, and is that what I think it is?

He asks if I have the stuff, and I pull the plastic covered pages from the inside of my jacket, hesitant to expose them to the low drizzle starting, and startle when he wretches them from my grasp, shoving the paper bag into my flailing hand. 

He fingers through them quickly, as I desperately try to get into the bag, relief forming as the delivery seems unaffected, exactly as I wanted, but when I go to say so he is already walking away, so I cradle my precious paper bag in my arms and speed walk home.

Finally there, I delicately lift my precious out, looking into the curious eyes of a perfectly adorable kitten, worth every comic book, and I wonder what possessed the man to put her in a rolled-up paper lunch bag…

For anyone wondering about the paper bag, this one is actually based on reality.  When I bought my first cat, the man at the pet shop put it in a lunch bag, rolled it up and handed it to me. I was three, and the confusion about how the cat was going to breath as I took the bag is one of my first memories.