I roll over again, letting my breath out. I know why I'm awake. Usually, Shireen is going to wake up in a couple of minutes, and since this is my feeding, I'm awake. The only thing is; there no longer is a baby around who needs to be fed. If there was something else that made my world spin around, other than my crash a couple years ago, it was last week's phone call. Ellen shook me awake out of my dream. Out of the illusion that what Sarah and I had build was going to last a lifetime. That the kids were really ours; that they never had to go to another family.
But they had. Because that was the deal. Sarah and I were only going to take care of them as long as CPS hadn't found a family. And now CPS had found a family. Ellen was excited when she entered our house (I keep thinking about it as 'our' house, I don't know why), until she saw our faces. She thought that Sarah and I would be happy to get the kids off our hands, but truth to be told, we weren't. It's been three long days since the kids have been gone, and two since Sarah and I had to go back to work. We've been snapping at literally everyone: Bud, Harriet, Mandy, Casper, Gunny, Tiner, and Mic… Sarah has been snapping at him more then he probably deserves.
She's been so upset. Sleep-deprived, angry, sad… God, I can't even remember how I slept without her lying next to me. I've been giving it my best shot the past three days, but nothing works. If this doesn't stop soon, I might start drinking nightcaps again. I haven't touched a single drop of alcohol in the past three months, and I haven't even missed it. Usually, a bourbon was nice to get myself a little sleepy, but that was before the kids. Funny; now there is a before and an after. I roll myself back on my back and stare up the ceiling. Gabe didn't even understand why they had to leave. And there wasn't really a way to explain to him. We weren't angry, he had been a good boy, so why did they have to go? Was it something Noa did? Because if that was it, he could make it all right.
God, I won't forget that sad face. I can't get it out of my head. There was no way that I could explain why he had to go with Pam and Jeff. I feel like I failed him. And maybe I did. Maybe I should've put up a fight; maybe I should've fought so that they could've stayed with us. But the 'what if's' are pointless. The kids are not coming back. I finally give up and sit up. I'm not going to get any sleep at all like this. The thought of Noa's smiling face when I brought Grams' old doll house in the house was priceless. It took me a whole day to get the thing, but the drive up and then back was totally worth it.
Having made my decision, I throw a shirt over my head and step into my jeans. Then I start to pack a bag. Clean underwear, socks, uniforms. T-shirts, jeans, sweaters… My toothbrush is the only thing I need from my bathroom… The air outside is cold, and I pull the zipper of my jacket up. It's quiet on the roads, so it doesn't take me too long before I pull up in front of her building. Sarah's building. I turn off the engine and try to decide if it really was such a smart thing to come here in the first place. Maybe it wasn't, but I'm not going back now.
I almost run up the steps. When I stand in front of her door, I'm not so sure if I should knock. But I do nonetheless. Strangely enough, the door opens a couple of seconds later. Sarah looks up at me; as if she's been expecting me. She steps aside to let me in. She locks the door behind me and without a word, I follow her to the bedroom. The bedroom we've shared for over a month. I don't even care to unpack my back; I put my uniform in the closet, throw my jacket over a chair, along with my jeans and crawl under the covers next to her. Still not saying anything, Sarah puts her head in the crook of my neck and her arm around my waist. I can feel my whole body relaxing instantly. And within another minute, we're both drifting off to sleep.

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