January 16th, 2013
The other kids took me to meet the legendary Roderick and Oliver. I swear they mention them at least once a day. We walked and ran for what felt like forever, considering I’ve hardly moved compared to normal since I got here. While we walked, I even recognized some of the places, even though the last time I saw them I was starving and freezing.
When we got to some apartments, we went up and knocked on one of the doors. I felt pretty bad all the sudden. Not because I was physically exhausted and maybe a little bit hungry, but because I remembered that it was almost midnight, and most normal people were in bed or getting ready for bed.
Despite that, the guy who answered the door was quite cheerful. He shook my hand and said that he had heard a lot about me. I turned and looked at everyone else, thinking “what the heck?” and Terin just smiled sheepishly and Cameron wouldn’t even look at me.
“You were still sleeping at night mostly,” Jerico said.
“They just needed someone to stay home with Annelies,” Kevin said.
I figured that they were both right, and it didn’t really matter, anyway. If I had lived the way they lived for years, anyone else showing up would be a huge deal, and I’d want to tell everyone I could.
Anyway, Roderick, the guy who answered the door, was super cool. Even though he was just another guy who had run away from his problems at home, he really seemed to have his life together now. He had a steady job, and he had even reconciled with some of his family. If I had to choose a future for myself, it would be like Roderick’s.
Unlike his family, mine will probably never take me back. Except maybe my aunt and uncle if I’m lucky.
Maybe someday I’ll reconcile with Isaiah.
When we walked into their apartment, Oliver was busy at the computer desk and apparently not to be disturbed, so we all sat on the couch and on the floor in front of the TV and talked to Roderick. He said that he had seen his siblings recently, because Cameron asked, but he mostly wanted to hear about us. He even seemed really interested when I said I wanted to be a writer.
“That takes guts,” Roderick said, “Writers have to face so much rejection and just keep picking themselves back up.”
“Yeah, well. I’m used to that,” I said.
Roderick’s face softened. “Bloods greater than any petty conflict ever will be. Believe me on that one. You’ll be welcomed home whenever you’re ready.”
Cameron looked at me and smiled, but I was too busy struggling internally. I can’t even describe all the feelings that were rushing around my head, except that they were extremely chaotic.
By the time Oliver was done doing whatever had him so busy, Roderick said it was time for him to get to bed, since he had work in the morning. I looked at the clock on the wall and realized that it was past 1 a.m.
We all wished Roderick a good night, and he disappeared down the hall. Oliver sat down on the couch with Terin and Kevin, and Cameron asked him what he had been up to. In response, Oliver began explaining some super complicated math or physics, or both? thing that I couldn’t begin to understand. Somehow, Terin and Cameron understood enough to nod along and even ask some questions.
Annelies busied herself at the table, drawing with some pencils and pens and paper that were already there. Kevin and Jerico kept getting up to go to the bathroom and get water from the kitchen. After a while, I decided to follow them. I was pretty thirsty.
As I filled up a glass, Jerico and Kevin whispered to each other.
“I hate it when they do stuff like this,” Jerico said. “They never consider how boring it is for us.”
“Yeah,” Kevin said as I moved closer. “If I had to choose whether to be interesting or smart, I’d definitely choose interesting.”
I didn’t think that what Oliver, Terin, and Cameron were discussing was super boring, but I did agree that it was a little annoying that they left the rest of us to attempt to entertain ourselves in a place I had never even been before. Matter of fact, Oliver hadn’t even acknowledged that I was there.
After awhile of me listening to Jerico and Kevin complain, Terin and Cameron came into the kitchen to get a drink and ask if we wanted to leave.
“You’re, like, an hour late with that question,” Kevin said.
I excused myself to go to the bathroom. When I came out, everyone was ready to go, so I rushed to put my shoes and my coat on. As we filed out the door, Oliver stood there and said his goodbyes.
“Bye Terin, bye Kevin, bye Annelies, bye Jerico, bye Cameron, bye Jed.”
I turned and smiled at him. He did know my name. “Bye Oliver.”
He closed the door without even returning my smile.
Cameron asked me if I liked them while we walked back, and I told him that I thought Oliver was a little weird. Jerico and Cameron assured me that he acted perfectly normal, but I probably thought he was weird because he was autistic. I felt bad for saying he was weird then, but then Kevin called Oliver retarded, so everyone was mad at him instead. Cameron defended Oliver and Kevin called him a retard. I thought Cameron was going to fight him, and apparently so did Terin and Jerico, because they jumped between Cameron and Kevin. I remember Annelies grabbing my hand, and I didn’t blame her for being scared. Cameron was not someone I wanted to see angry. He put his whole heart into it, just like he did with everything else.
Kevin rolled his eyes and Cameron still looked mad, but he and Terin turned and started walking back home. Annelies and I followed, and Jerico and Kevin followed us.
When we got back home, no one really acknowledged what happened, so I made myself a sandwich and read until I felt sleepy.
At breakfast, Mrs. Parker told those of us who were awake that some people named Gerald and Kira (who I later found out were their neighbors, and the only people who knew about all the kids) had invited us over for dinner Sunday night. Jerico and Terin were super excited, (Annelies, Kevin, and Cameron were in bed) but I wasn’t sure how to feel. After meeting Roderick and Oliver, I worried that it was just going to be awkward and emotionally draining. But also somehow good.
Like I said, I was feeling some complex emotions.
Still am, by the way.
And here’s why:
Gerald and Kira ended up being the nicest people on the planet, besides Mr. and Mrs. Parker. They didn’t even bat an eye when Mrs. Parker introduced me, they just hugged me and welcomed me to their home like they did for all of the other kids. And guess what? They have a pool that we all get to swim in in the summer!
Just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, we ate dinner. Kira can cook, let me tell you. When we left their house a couple hours later, I was still full. I ate soooo much. No regrets.
Anyway, I expect that nothing super interesting will be happening for awhile, and that’s okay with me. It gives me time to think. And write everything down, of course.