Trigger warning: This story deals with a personal account of a foster care experience that may be triggering for some readers.
It was something about the phrasing that got to me. Something about the cadence of his words, the staccato of his speech.
“Nobody loves me. Not even my mother who gave birth to me.” It is an odd turn of phrase, isn’t it? Not even my mother who gave birth to me.
He was buckled into the backseat of my Toyota, still too little to sit up front. At seven he had already moved more times than the total number of years he had been on the earth. And this time, like the times before it, he moved with his belongings in a trash bag.
A suitcase, at least, would have added a small degree of dignity to the whole affair — to being “placed” in another and another and yet another foster home before reaching the 3rd grade. Trash bags break, you know. Trash bags can’t possibly support the contents of any life, and certainly not a life as fragile as this.
They break from the strain, eventually.
This move was harder for Stephen than most. It was a home he thought he would stay in, at least for awhile. He had felt affection there. When I went to pick him up, after his foster mother gave notice that he could no longer stay, he came easily with me; head down, no reaction on the surface of it. It was only when he got into my car that he began to sob the kind of aching sound that leaves you limp in its wake.