Week 3

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15: almost excited

I learned today that Dad may be here for Christmas Eve dinner. Mom said the doctor had called Dad while Mom was in the hospital. Anyway he didn't promise to be here, but he might be.

I have to decide if I want to show him Lop.

If I show Dad, and Mom finds out, I might have to give up my kitten. But if I don't show him, I have to keep my biggest secret from Dad, and I'm not sure I'm strong enough.

I want to have a Dad again so bad, I sometimes think I will do almost anything to get one.

Oh, Mom said I can go with Jack and Meg to their church Christmas party. That's almost like a present in itself—she usually won't let me go anywhere near a church function!

Meg said she probably wants some time to herself.

16: i want to sing in a choir

Last night was amazing. The church party was a choir recital, then all kinds of Christmas goodies in the church hall.

There must have been 300 people there! I didn't know there were so many people who would leave their families to get together at church on Christmas Eve eve.

Meg said, "Don't be silly, their families are here too."

Jack sings in the church choir, and he said he can get me a try-out next year. I don't have to belong to the church, though he said most of the choir singers do.

Things are starting to turn around for me, I can feel it.

It's almost like Thanksgiving again, and I can list all the things making me happy now: Lop, my friends, Marion's parents, my Dad coming to visit, Mom being okay, and now maybe singing in a choir.

And you. It's been very important to me to have you to talk to.

16 part 2: no dad, no dinner

Dad didn't come. Mom is downstairs crying on the sofa again.

I wanted to cry, but I came upstairs to play with Lop instead. I crushed my cat so hard, I got a scratch on my arm!

Lop doesn't like tears in her fur.

17: christmas

Mom sounded very strange again this morning while I made breakfast.

I used the turkey roll from last night, and some cheese and eggs to make a fancy omelet, and served it with some cranberry jelly. Mom took one bite, set her plate down, and didn't pick it up again.

It was a good omelet, too. I learned how to make them from Mrs. Armeer who used to live next door.

I gave Mom her present, and she started crying again. It was a weird kind of crying, too, like she didn't really have enough tears or energy any more. It was a little bit scary.

She just held the package on her lap, and let her tears fall onto the wrapping paper.

Finally I reached over and tore the end off the package, and pulled out the gloves. I put them in her lap and went into the kitchen, got some turkey for Lop and came up here.

It feels like I don't have any parents any more. Merry Christmas.

18: tragedy big and small

Mom was washing dishes when I came downstairs this morning. I was so surprised, I just stood there for a long time. She had made hot cereal for herself and was out the pot.

When I said "Hi, Mom!" she just smiled at me and said I had some cereal if I wanted it, in a bowl by the microwave.

She told me she had seen on TV that a giant wave had crashed into India or Vietnam or something, and lots of people were dead. "Right after Christmas!" she said, like it was against the law to have a tidal wave so close to the holiday.

I made an excuse to go over to Jack's and see what he got for Christmas, and left.

On my way, I passed the Jack's church where the party was. Wow, I can hardly believe it was only two nights ago. There was a police car pulled up in front of the church, and two policemen outside, near one side of the church steps.

Nick was sitting on the ground in the corner of the steps and the wall. His skin looked kind of blue, the same color as the plastic packets he had the other day.

I realized he was dead before the cops saw me there.

I kept walking toward Jack's house, wondering if he knew about the dead body.

No one was home at Jack's house. Now where do I go? Anywhere but home, where Mom is so happy even with all those dead people on the TV.

I'll spend the day at the mall.

19: even weirder

I stayed out almost all day yesterday. Today was even stranger.

Mom got on the phone this morning with someone, I'm not sure who. She kept saying, "But you know who did this," and "We'll see some changes now."

I thought she was talking about the sunamee (I'm not sure how to spell that). She talked to another person, then made a third call. Suddenly she was all energy and calls kept coming in.

I asked if she wanted me to get anything from the store, but I don't think she heard me. I'm going to spend another day at the mall.

It's just so creepy that she's happy when all those people are dead.

20: talking to the police

First, it's tsunami. I saw it on a newspaper someone left at the mall.

Second, Mom had some friends over to dinner last night, and gave me cash to go to Mickey D's. (She never does that, so I knew it must be real important to get me out of the house.)

They were still there, drinking and talking, when I came back. I just went to my room to play with Lop.

I can't stand the smell of the cigarettes they smoke, anyway.

This morning there was a pile of beer bottles in the trash, and they had eaten all the left-over turkey roll and cranberry. Mom was still in bed, so I made myself a plain omelet and sat down to eat it in front of the TV.

There was a knock, so I looked through the door and saw two policemen outside. I opened the door, and one said, "Can we come in and talk to your mother?" (He was really nice, he could have called me "kid," but he didn't.)

I said Mom was still asleep, but they could come in and I would go wake her up.

The nice cop said they wanted to talk to me anyway. The other one didn't say anything, just looked like he smelled something bad. He went into the kitchen, and the nice said, "I want to talk to you about Nick Samenthos." I never knew Nick's last name, but I knew who he meant.

I said okay, what did they want to ask?

The nice cop said they were investigating some drug that Nick had, and someone had seen me talking to him just before he died. What could I tell him about that?

I told him about the blue plastic packets and about Nick's whiffing that got him fired from his first job after high school.

Then the other cop came out of the kitchen with a big baggie full of something, and the nice cop went quiet too. Finally he asked me to have Mom come downstairs.

When she did, they arrested her.

So I sat in the police station for most of the morning. Finally they let me come home "to take care of my pets." There is a policewoman downstairs watching TV while I type this.

I don't know where I will be tomorrow.

21: rescued

That was close! I thought I was going to have to give up my kitty and go stay at a home last while Mom was in jail. I talked them into letting me come home to feed Lop, and while I was there, I called everybody I could think of.

Marion's home! When she heard about Mom, she asked her folks, and they came over to talk to the policewoman.

So I can stay with Marion again. It's neat that her mom and dad didn't even ask about Mom, they just wanted to make sure I didn't have to go live in a home somewhere.

I didn't tell them about Lop, I'll just come home every day to feed my kitty.

Marion's mom asked if Mom had "made bale". I told her I didn't know what that was, but she had a party at the house after the tsunami, and the police came the next day to arrest her. Marion's mom just looked at her dad and didn't say anything else.

Anyway, Marion got a couple of neat video games for Christmas, so we went to play them on the computer. I got killed a couple of times, so I went out to the kitchen while Marion played. Her mom was on the phone talking to someone about Mom, so I just hung around to listen.

She said Mom had no way to make bale, and would be in jail over the holiday, and meanwhile I would get to live with them again.

I felt kind of like what Lop must have felt when I found a certain cold, hungry kitty in a garage.



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