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Untold Stories

by Julie Barrientes 3 years ago in literature

Everything I Wanted to Say

'Kids at the Crossroads' Foster Care Home 

In order to tell the story properly I think it's only right to start from the very, very beginning.

So here goes nothing.

My mother, like me, looked for love in all the wrong places. She often found love at the bottom of a bottle, behind the bar on a late night, the back of a taxi on the ride home, or the cheap hotel on Legacy Dr.

Things didn't go her way often and she was always looking for new ways to cope. One blurry Saturday night she found someone who, for once, was different than all the rest. After their one night fling, she never heard from him again. She felt something so different being with him that made her change her ways, made her change her lifestyle.

She had been sober for a month, started going back to college and working again. She got a little one bedroom apartment and started living the life she deserved.

One morning she woke up and felt... different. She felt as if she weighed 20 pounds heavier and as if she grew three sizes out. Her mind began to panic. She went to the pharmacy and bought the $8.98 pregnancy test, went into her white tile bathroom, and watched one pick line fade into two. Her heart dropped and she slid down the bathroom door in tears.

She made a few calls, starting with her mother—it had been three years since she last talked to her. "Please leave a message at the tone."

Next her father: "The number you are trying to reach has been disconnected."

In that last moment in a puddle of defeat in the bathroom floor, she found hope bringing life into the world. She found hope laying only between her hips.

My mother became a mother all on her own. It was 2:03 AM February 23, 1999. Contractions gradually open up my mother and she is dilated to a 10 and is ready to push me out into the world. My entrance was delayed. The doctors rushed my mother into the emergency c-section room. The doctors told my mother she had two options: get me out alive or get herself out alive. She chose me. Laying on the operating table, the incision in my mother's abdomen is made. My mother feels every cut they make, every tug at her skin, ever organ they push out of their way. She shuts her eyes tight and tears stream down her face. Soon my mother's body is overtaken with the amount bright red blood escaping her.

Finally I am taken out of her body, my body a deep shade of purple. The umbilical cord was wrapped around my fetal neck 360 degrees. I was born lifeless, just as lifeless as the body of my mother laying on the cold steel operating table. They doctors saw no hope, not for me, and certainly not for my mother.

One nurse quickly went into action. She detached the umbilical cord from my mother. Then she began rubbing life back into me. The doctors all watched as the purple faded to blue, then to a pink color of baby skin. I took a deep breath in, my first breath, and let out a small cry.

There I was, born into a world of hurt and loss. No mother, and certainly no father.

I grew up in the foster care system. Before I could walk, I was placed in a group home, "Kids At the Crossroads." Seven hours 47 minutes and 393 miles from my original birthplace.

I grew up hating myself and every annoyance around me. The mother of the home promised me that I would get adopted out of this dreadful "home." But as birthdays flew by uncelebrated, I lost hope. I finally gave up on all the empty lies and broken promises. I really didn't care anymore. I pretended to be "happy." I pretended to be "okay." But as my school work began to slip, I too began to slip into someone who wasn't me.

I was about 12 when it first began, when everything blew up, depression set in, anxiety took control of my body, and I met my best friend.

I started small then increasingly got bigger. I started shallow, then slowly got deeper and deeper. I started broken, then I became shattered.

With every cut that split my skin, I felt myself pulling together. You would think when I dragged the cold blade across my skin I would be crying, screaming out in agony, upset with what I was doing to myself. In the moment when little blood droplets pulled to the surface of my skin, I was the calmest. I cut until there was no skin left to cut.

I was in a house that wasn't a home, surrounded by people who weren't family. Seventeen girls in the house and I felt absolutely alone. I was completely shattered as a person; nothing remained of me as a soul.

One Saturday morning the head mother of the home called us down for breakfast. She told us she had a surprise for us all, a new addition to our "home." At that moment with those words, I tuned out everything she said and completely ignored her.

Until a boy exactly my age came into view. She explained how he was gonna be staying with us for a while until he was 18, or until he was adopted. I quickly noticed how we had a lot in common. I was the oldest in the house until he came. Now there were two 16-years-olds living in the house. We both wore black T-shirts in 97 degree summer weather and a fake smile that changed at the drop of a hat. Also the ever so present fact that neither one of us cared what the head mother was saying.

I acted like I was unbothered by the fact of his presence and made my way back to my room, where he now occupies the room transversely from mine.

For the first time in a long time, the spiders in my stomach changed to butterflies. The darkness inside me got a little sunlight from the boy across the hall.

I thought I was shattered before I met him. Little did I know I would soon become a pale illusion of my own shattered dreams.


Julie Barrientes

People write because no one listens.

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Julie Barrientes
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