Sondra’s relationship with the Peck family wound up running on significantly longer than she had expected it would have. One day with the family somehow turned into days; then days turned into weeks; weeks turned into months; and months turned into years. Not that she minded, or anything. The way that the Peck family had welcomed her into their abode with open arms seemed all too surreal. Verily, each day that she spent with the close-knit family had a feel of surrealism attached to it. Being able to communicate with persons and not have tempers flare felt good for a change. Sondra was much obliged to the family for their unending display of kindness and hospitality towards her. But what she found most admirable about the Pecks was their well-founded family structure. The heads of the household, Mr. and Mrs. Peck, were on one accord. Consequently, their children followed suit. The Pecks exemplified what a perfect family was all about, and Sondra sincerely believed within her heart that she couldn’t have stumbled upon a better family when she had set out on her journey through the woods in pursuit of happiness. Not surprisingly, over the years, the contented child’s time at home with her conflicting parents slowly but surely began to wane. She had finally found peace in her young life, and there was no way that she was going to trade that serenity in.
After the first several months of getting acquainted with one another, the Peck family had practically allowed Sondra to move in with them. Mr. and Mrs. Peck didn’t mind her spending the nights over at their place after Mr. Peck had coerced her into finally disclosing who assumed guardianship of her as she dined with the family at the dinner table early one evening.
“Sondra, our family has gotten to know you and have come to love you very much since you walked into our lives several months ago,” Mr. Peck began saying as he set his fork down on his plate and hit the child with an unnerving glare. “Now, Mrs. Peck and I have been having some very important conversations in regards to you, and there’s something in particular that’s been troubling us for quite some time now.” Just by the way that Mr. Peck was looking at her, Sondra could tell that something was seriously wrong. In anticipation of some devastating news, tears had begun to roll down the tense child’s cheeks. “My wife has told me how she’s already tried finding out from you on numerous occasions whose child you are, but you refuse to open up to her about that. Did you know that whenever you’re here inside our house, Mrs. Peck and I become fully responsible for you? Do your parents even know where you are right now? If something was to ever happen to you while you were in our care, we would be too disappointed with ourselves to know that we can’t get in touch with your parents because we have no idea who they even are. I really don’t think you understand how serious of a situation this is, so let me put it to you this way: either you tell us who your parents are right now or I’m afraid you won’t be welcome to come here anymore after today.”
Once the ultimatum Mr. Peck had presented Sondra with had sunk in, it was only a matter of time before her streaming tears were joined by unrestrained hollers. In the aftermath of her breakdown, the name that she eventually divulged to Mr. Peck drew a collective gasp out of the entire family.