Chapter 9 – Run Away Dreams

“Christy Elizabeth, go to your room right this instant!” Mother Thomas yelled.

I slammed my door as I stormed into my room.  I’ve been sent to my room again.  It doesn’t matter what I do, I always get sent to my room.  I slump down on my bed and look around the small crowded room.  There are five beds I here, one for me to call my own and four empty ones for the girls who come and go like clockwork.  It’s not fair the way they treat me; I always get treated worse than the others do.  But I never get sent away. I know it’s because Motheater and Featherbrain get paid more for me than they do the others because I’ve been here longer.  I don’t care anymore this time I’m out of here.

I’m supposed to call them Mother and Father because they think it makes them sound distinguished.  Ha! Ha! What a laugh! Ya, you guessed it, I am still with the Thomas’ and the situation can’t get much worse.  I absitively posolutely hate it here.

Motheater is okay; she’s a waitress and is gone most of the time, so I’m alone a lot.  Featherbrain’s a different story.  He’s mean. When he’s home he likes to yell at me for stupid things.  Sometimes he doesn’t even do that; all he as to do is look at me.  That’s usually when I run away.  I’m glad he’s at work most of the time.  He has his own garage and works from sun up ‘til sun down on other people’s cars.  He never seems to have a good car of his own.  I think that is what makes him mad most of the time besides me and the fact that he can’t find a boy to adopt.

This time Motheater sent me to my room because of my grades.  I really made a mess of them.  I can take Motheater’s tip money all the time and never get in trouble for it.  But bring home a bad report card and I’m in trouble for life.  Motheater is all the time telling me that I have to improve my life and that bad grades won’t get me there.  A lot she knows! The only thing I really like to do is go to the Little Theater.  I get to see Miss Richardson there.  We get to talk a lot between the scenes about everything.  She’s the high school English and drama teacher; I can’t wait to get to high school so I can see her all the time.  She is so pretty and nice.  I wish she could be my mom.

After weeks of searching I finally found out yesterday where Miss Richardson lives.  So I’m going to put my secret plan to work.  I’m going to find a way for me to live with her permanently.  Maybe while I’m there she can help me find my real parents.  First I need to get out of here.  My window’s all ready for me to go.  Motheater and Featherbrain will never ever know how I got out.  I hid some clothes in a pillowcase out front in Featherbrain’s junkyard.  No one will ever know it is there.

I just have to time my get away.  I have to leave before Featherbrain gets home and after Motheater comes to check if I’m still here.  Featherbrain will probably yell at me and give me an even longer lecture this time.  He hates it when I get bad grades.  He says that it’s a reflection on him and it makes him look bad to the people of the town.  Ha! Ha! He always looks so gross in his grease covered clothes.  I don’t know how my grades could make him look any worse.

Motheater’s coming now.  She still doesn’t know how I get out.  I know she has looked because sometimes the curtains have been moved.  She must not have found anything because the window still works.  I sit up straight on my bed and wait for her to come in.

“Young lady, your report card says you are failing sixth grade.  You have F’s in science and social studies and D’s in math and English.”

“Yes, Mother I know.”  Like duh, how can she expect me to get better grades when I never turn anything in?

“Your Father is going to be home in an hour, you’d better be ready to explain these grades.”

Oh great! I have less than an hour to plan my get away.  Featherbrain is always on time.

“Just to make sure you’re ready when he gets home, I’m going to lock you in your room.  There won’t be any running away this time.  Do you hear me, young lady?”

“Yes, Mother.”  Look at her looking around, she’ll never find my escape route.  I listen for the sound of the lock at it clicks in place after she leaves.  I wonder if she thinks that will keep Featherbrain focused on me and away from her.  Oh well, it’s time for me to go.

I cautiously look through my window to make sure that the coast is clear, and then I slowly lift the glass to make sure it won’t squeak.  And they thought it was nailed down. Ha! I’ve got them fooled.  I quietly crawl through the window at the same time.  Practice makes perfect.  Then I cautiously look around as I crouch near the ground.  So far, so good; I haven’t got caught yet.  Now let me get my pillowcase and get my tail out of here!

Miss Richardson’s house is about two miles from here if I take the road, but I know how to get there through the fields and alleys and it’s quicker.  No one knows about my secret trail either since I’m not supposed to play back there.  If is use that, no one will see me and I’ll be able to sneak in easier.  I wish I had thought to bring a flashlight with me.  But then again, it might look kind of strange to see a light bouncing around out here in the middle of a big empty field.  I’m glad there’s a little bit of moonlight to see with.  It’s kind of scary out here; I usually make this walk in the daytime.  But there are lights up ahead and I’ve finally made it to the end of Miss Richardson’s street.  No one has stopped me so far.  I think I’ve got it made.  I just have to make sure I stay in the shadows.  Oh good…there’s her house.

I wonder if she’s home?  She’s usually at the Little Theater on Thursday nights and the house is dark.  I’m going to go around back to look through her window.  Maybe I can get in that way.  I have to be really quiet here.  You never know who might be around.  “Yeooowwww” Oh no! I stepped on a cat!  I’m afraid to move.  The back porch light just came on; I feel like I’m trapped in a spotlight.  I think this is when I’m supposed to split.  Ouch…I just tripped over my pillowcase.  I dropped it when I stepped on the cat.

“Wait a minute!  Stop right there!  Christy, what are you doing out here?” Miss Richardson asked.

She sees my pillowcase, leans over and slowly picks it up as we watch each other warily.  I hurt my knee when I fell, it’s bleeding a lot but I have my hand over it so she can’t see.  Why did she have to be home?  I think she’s been crying.  Her eyes are all read and puffy.  How strange…she is always so happy every time I see her.  She slowly helps me to my feet and notices the sticky stuff on my hand.  Oops, she knows about my bloody knee now.

“Come on, let’s go inside and get you cleaned up.  You shouldn’t be out here so late.  How many times do I have to tell you that you shouldn’t run away?  You know running away never solves anything.  I’m going to have to call you parents.”

“No, please don’t.  Could you wait for a while until Featherbrain, I mean Father, cools off?”

“Tell me why you think I should wait.”

“Well, besides running away again, I’m flunking.  You know how he is about grades.”  As we continue to talk, I look around the room.  Man is it cool.  This is an awesome kitchen.  There are pots hanging all over and they all look shiny and new.

“Does anyone know where you are?”

“No, and if they find out, they’ll just take me back there.  If someone’s going to get paid for me why can’t it be you?”

“You know we’ve talked about this before Christy.  It takes time to work out the paperwork for foster care.  And I’m just not sure that I want to take on the responsibility of a child right now.  However, I’ll see what I can do in the morning.  In the meantime why don’t you go rest for a while in the guestroom upstairs?”

She finishes with my knee, picks up my pillowcase, and leads me upstairs.  After I go into the guestroom she goes back down stairs.  But I don’t trust her not to call Motheater and Featherbrain so I’m going to creep down the hallway to see what she is doing.  Oh man, she’s talking to someone.  The phone didn’t ring so I know she had to call them.  I have to get closer; I can’t hear what she is saying.  Oh look, I can hide in this little cubbyhole in the wall.  Boy, there are a lot of pictures here.  Miss Richardson’s not married; I wonder who that man is?  I wish I had a light so I could see him better.  Wait, she’s hanging up the phone and I didn’t hear a thing she said.  I don’t think I can stay here not even for the night.  What a bummer, Miss Richardson would make a great mother.

She’s coming down the hallway; maybe if I squeeze back here a little farther she won’t see me when she passes.  It is so tight I can barely fit.  Oh no, the picture is falling and I can’t catch it.  “CRASH!” Guess she knows I’m here now.

“Oh, Christy, what have you done?”  Miss Richardson stands there sadly, holding the picture I knocked over.  I’ve made her cry this time.  Her eyes are beginning to water again.  She looks at the picture then back at me.

I take the picture from her and look at it closer.  Maybe this is my chance to talk her into letting me stay.

“I look just like him don’t I?  Don’t I?”  I watch as she just closes her eyes.

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