Week 1

Back to today

1: what I see doesn't match what I learn

There's a really nice looking man on the TV tonight. Mom says he's evil. The TV 'caster says he's letting "our guys" die. George down the block says his brother Nick lost his job and his girlfriend because of him.

I don't know about our guys or evil, but I know the girl Nick was hangin' with last year in school, she's a real skank and he's better off without her. Not sure about his job, though. Maybe it had something to do with his beer-and-a-whiff habit.

The man on the TV looks like I wish my Dad looked when he was here.

I go to school most days, when I can't think of anything better to do. Mom says I'll never amount to anything without graduating, but then I see the hard boys in their hard cars, and I know that isn't true. It all depends on what you're willin' to do. For now, I'm willin' to go to school. Most days.

I talked to a guy on the Web last night, all huffed to think he was connected with a hot chickie who could take him somewhere. I wish it was true.

As long as Mom doesn't care what I do, I'm just gonna throw the question out there. Is there anything real? Maybe we just wish our way into the good stuff, wish really hard and sharp with all the might there is. If I knew how, what would I really want to be true?

I'd like to be safe in bed somewhere else, somewhere outside the maze. Maybe the beloved daughter of that nice man on the TV.

I'm wishing.

2: wiping the board with my sleeve

Okay, today wasn't too bad. Until lunchtime anyway. I had my assignments done for once, and my first-hour teacher (science) let me skip the whole 50-minute hour because I told her my religion didn't allow me to dissect frogs. I'll be okay until she talks to my Mom and finds out we're officially atheists.

Hey, Marion said we could even sue the school for letting me out of something due to religion, like it's not supposed to make any difference. Marion knows all kind of things because she went to Hawaii once and hung out with a lot of older surfer chickies. I listen really close when Marion talks, maybe I'll learn something.

Lunchtime was gudawful, though. First the monitors said I had to take off my hat in the lunchroom, and I didn't know the whole back of my hair was sticking straight up like I got jacked into the wall or somethin'. Then I had to listen to this table of guys from my first-hour talk about their frogs. Like I could even handle that at lunch.

Then it got quiet, because Marcus started crying all of a sudden, just sobbing right there at the table. His buds tried to find out what was wrong, but he just started hitting at them, and finally the monitors took him away.

I asked Marion what's that about, and she said I dunno, and we tried to eat our food, but it just didn't taste right any more.

I wonder if Marcus will be in school tomorrow?

3: cell phone scamming for dirty old men

Went to the mall food court today with Jack, Marion and Meg for a round of ear surfing. Nothing good going on—we changed tables three times and didn't hear anything better than the results of Survivor and some guy talking about his spam problems. Nothing like that day we overheard the lady telling her teenie daughter how to have sex without getting pregnant. That was a classic!

Marion thought there would be more people talking about the election, she keeps going on about red state/blue state until I'm crazy with it. She says Hawaii is blue, so it must be the coolest way to vote. I listened as long as I could stand, then told her my Mom didn't even vote. It isn't because she couldn't, either, I told her. Nobody stopped her or anything, she just didn't figure one little vote would make any difference.

I think Mom just didn't want to spend the time. I mean, this is someone who every other day turns her panties inside out to save the two seconds it would take to get a clean pair out of the drawer. Really!

Instead of starting Marion off on a tirade, though, she got all quiet when a guy sat down next to us and whipped out his cell phone. Marion whispers, Can we move to another table? So, okay, we moved, but when she sat down again, she doesn't want us to listen to anyone else.

She says, I gotta tell you guys what happened to me last night. I went to the big grocery store just down the hill from my house, right? And I was checking out the cheap DVDs they have when I hear this guy saying, You're really beautiful, you're really hot. I look and it's this nasty old guy standing right behind me, close-close. But he's talkin' on his cell phone.

I think, He's saying that to whoever's on the phone with him. But he looks me right in the eye, licks his old dry lips and covers the phone with his fingers, and says it again. Meantime he's bumping his hip against his cart, gradually getting it curved around so it's touching the DVD stand in front of me, and he's kinda like pinning me against the stand.

Marion looks really mad, and I wonder what she did to blow this guy away. But she surprised me - she said she figured there was no way to protest. If she called the manager on him, he could just claim she misunderstood what he said to the girl who was on the phone. Meanwhile, he was playing one girl against another in his mind, probably all over the store.

Jack said maybe she could get an air-horn and blow it really loud next to his other ear. I say I think that might get her in more trouble than the guy. We all sympathized, but no one really has an answer.

4: six feet below sad

I just learned my Granpa is dead. It turns out he actually died several weeks ago, but nobody thought I would need to know. Why!?

I don't mean why did he die—he was 95 or something, according to Mom. I mean why didn't they think I would want to know. He was my Dad's dad, and we don't speak to them any more says Mom. For one thing she says, he was an ornery old man who kept her from being happy with Dad. For another, he didn't leave us anything.

I can't find the words to say how angry I am at her and Dad. Didn't leave us anything? HE LEFT ME ALONE!

Mom never knew, I guess, that I used to call Granpa every year just before Christmas. I was trying to call Dad, the first year, but Granpa answered the phone. I don't even remember what we said, but we talked for almost half an hour. At the end of the call he said, don't ever forget I love you Born. You're my granddaughter.

Sometimes I would have a bad day at school, or an argument with Mom, and I would think, Granpa loves me. I'm part of his family. It made me happy.

I wish I had met him in person. I could have told him that before he died.

5: thinking of happier things

I came home from school today and found Mom in tears with the TV set on. They're gonna kill him, she said. Who? That Scott, she said, the guy who killed his wife.

I think, so why are you crying, Mom? Do you know him? Did you know the wife he killed? But I don't ask her, because suddenly I know why she's crying. It's because when Dad left, it was like she died. So in a way she feels like Scott and Dad are the same.

Mom's not clear on a lot of things that are real, but unpleasant.

I went up to my room to read. I checked out a nice book from the school library today, The Menace from Earth. So while Mom was crying, I was thinking about flying on the Moon.

6: why I can't go home again

I came downstairs this morning and found Mom passed out on the floor. I called 911 and went to school. In second hour, they had me come to the office to say, your Mom will be in the hospital for a few days, do you have any family you can stay with?

I explained that my Granpa is dead, and I don't know how to get ahold of my Dad.

So tonight I'm staying with Marion. I had to wait until she was totally asleep before I could write this post. I'm afraid I will wind up a foster child. I'm worried about Mom because they won't let me visit her in ICU.

Marion's Mom and Dad are interesting, though. They talk about all kinds of things at night, now I know where Marion gets it. Tonight they were talking about election fraud and the way the yuro is beating the dollar. I was too shy to ask about it, and Marion kept trying to change the subject to Mom and Marcus. Marcus didn't come back to school yet.

She told me after we went to bed that she thinks Mom and Marcus have the same problem. I don't know. They did start by crying a lot, though.

Why am I not crying? I must be missing something.

7: more than tears in this

I got to see Mom at the hospital tonight. They moved her from ICU, but they still are watching her pretty close because they said she tried to kill herself.

She was mostly asleep while I was there. She woke up for a minute and saw me and started crying again, so the nurse came in and gave her a shot, and she went back to sleep.

I stayed for another hour, but she never woke up again while I was there.

They're trying to get hold of my Dad because they said I should be staying with my own family right now. I hope they don't find his number—Marion's house feels a lot safer to me than my own house ever did. Maybe it's her Mom and Dad, they just don't seem as crazy to me.

Marion says I should wait and see, her folks are just as goofy as anyone's.


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