Sanity Fleeting

Sanity Fleeting

A Chapter by MeratheRestless
"

A child's internal struggle to hold her life together.

"
"Alright, Selah, why don't you come give this one a try?" Mrs. Hanson invited me up to the Smartboard, where she'd written the first Geometry problem of Lunch&Learn. 

Awkwardly I put down my honeynut cream cheese bagel and rose to my feet. It was ingrained in me to automatically obey all adults in order not to have anyone cross with me, so although I was confused by most math concepts and afraid to be mocked more by my peers, I didn't dally. The green marker caught my eye first and I picked it up in my trembling dominant left hand. There was a huge lump in my throat, because I had been made to come here, forced to admit I as a Straight A advanced 7th grader needed help and spend my lunch period with the math teacher getting desperately needed help.

"Relax. Remember the shortcut from class on Wednesday?" Mrs. Hanson prompted calmly.

Without thinking about it, my hand started moving. As my hand moved it stopped trembling so much. The classroom faded away and after a few minutes I noticed I was back in my seat drinking from my water bottle that had Hawaiian Punch powder mixed in since I hated the taste of plain water.

"Almost right. Just one thing you forgot." Mrs. Hanson's voice pierced my daze and brought me back to reality. "Are you paying attention, Selah?"

I nodded with my usual dead eyes and placid expression. 

As usual what little appetite I'd had disappeared after I was called to the board and my work was critiqued. Though I knew it was a hardship for me to bring a packed lunch to school daily, I threw the rest of my food away, most of it untouched. For most of the school year, I'd gone to the school cafeteria for my lunch period, but by October I'd stopped making use of the lunch money provided for me and had sat at the table either doing homework for the next day or reading while my peers talked about me like a dog. From August to February I'd easily lost a good 25 pounds. 

The dumpy bottle blonde from the local college, who was interning under Mrs. Hanson, barely glanced at me as we passed each other, me leaving the classroom and her returning. We'd had disagreements from day one and after one too many, on my behalf a complaint had been made to the principal. Personally I guess I would have been offended and terse if someone said I wasn't qualified to teach a rock how to stay put let alone someone's child.

My last class of the day was intermediate French language, my absolute favorite and the only class I was first in with 98%. The assignment that day was simultaneously easy and quite difficult. Easy because I could write it in nearly perfect French including proper accents and difficult because I detested the subject of the assignment more than anything else in the universe. Monsieur Morceau had no way of knowing my relunctance and as I said before I feared making any adults cross with me, so I wrote increasing the vigor of the involuntary rocking I was prone to.

*17 Février 2011

Je m'appelle Selah Isidora "Sage" Avriella Rivvards et j'ai douze(12) ans. Au sujet de ma famille? Un orphelin n'a pas aucun de famille, correcte? Mes gardiens depuis December 2008 sont Orchid et Leonard. Ils sont un couple très jeunes et n'ont pas beaucoup d'argent, mais tout que j'ai besoin, ils m'ont donné. Qui sont Orchid et Leonard? Orchid est la fille de la femme noire, qui m'a donné naissance, et Leonard est son fiancé. Elle a vingt deux ans(22) et il a vingt cinq(25). Mon père biologique est de Québec, mais je lui ne connais pas du tout. Orchid dit qu'il n'est pas nécessaire avoir mon père dans ma vie, parce qu'il y a un homme blanc m'elever déjà , Leonard. C'est bon avoir lui? Je ne connais pas, parce que toutefois, je souhaite que j'habite à Québec ou un orphelinat. Je suis l'enfant de personne.

My already sloppy handwriting was worsened by the silent tears dripping down my face on to my note. Suddenly I felt the overwhelming need to get away, to retreat not only mentality but physically as well. Without asking permission I abruptly rose to my feet and left the classroom to head to the bathroom to pull myself together. The music video and lyrics to Ludacris and Mary J. Blige's song 'Runaway Love' played in my head. "The only thing left to do is get some clothes and pack. Said she about to run away and never come back!" This song was nearly always on the playlist when I watched music videos on YouTube, the three little girls with nowhere left to run or hide, and I listened to it so much that I got on Orchid and Leonard's nerves.

In the bathroom I stood in front of the mirror looking at my reddened eyes, cold and steely gray as gun metal. Large sections of my hair had escaped from their dutch plaits over the course of the day. Other children picked on me to no end about my appearance and I'd long since resigned myself to being ugly.

"Do you know what it's like to be given more than one can bare? Can you empathize?" Marina V's song 'Guardian Angel' replaced 'Runaway Love' in my head. "I just wanted you to care. Didn't ask for much. I've been looking for my guardian angel. "

As usual I received a perfect score for the assignment, smeary words and all. If Monsieur Morceau was disturbed by what I wrote he never said a word, to me at least. A short time later he sent yet another glowing note to Orchid and Leonard, the daughter born to that black woman 9 years before me and her man, my supposed guardians. Something inexplicable made me loathe calling the woman my mother, though I delighted in saying she was dead and I an orphan. The note praised me for being such an excellent student and sweet demure child in general. For a moment or two I would reluctantly accept their patronizing praise before withdrawing back into my own little world, the invisible force field that prevented any sort of genuine connection and allowed me to get on with my life once again shoving all the emotions deep down inside of myself.  At the end of each school day when I returned to the young couple's mobile home for the evening, nothing varied my direct silent path to the back bedroom where I slept on a couch across from my nephew's crib and hid out, nothing could draw me out into their world, into their Facebook boasted happy family. 

That particular evening I remember that I sat beside the before mentioned couch as its middle cushion continued to dry from the golden shower my body involuntarily gave it nightly. Stomach gnawing and growling though my mouth insisted that I was not hungry for the fourth night in a row, I devoured Frances O'Roark Dowell's 'Where I'd Like To Be' completely enthralled by the one line teaser. A group of foster children build a home of their own. When I put myself to bed and lay there waiting for the sleeping pills to kick in, the book's title stuck in my head like a broken record.

Nobody had ever asked me where I wanted to be, so I began to ask myself, as if I were a real person with opinions and a voice.

Had anyone bothered to ask me, really asked me and heard me without judgement, they'd have known that I considered myself nobody's child and blood ties meant nothing.

They'd know I knew how to tie a noose, had one hidden in my makeshift bed, and dreamed of the day I was finally free.

"I'm not going to lie." The quack therapist I was forced to see said recently. "That's one of the saddest stories I've ever heard a child write." 

In my hand I held yellowed page from my old French notebook, which I had just read to her in English. It was as if I was again that profoundly disturbed 12 year old girl. Back and forth, back and forth, I rocked so vigorously I was banging my head on the wall behind me. Not much had changed in 6 years.

"You said you like to write and if you ever wrote a memoir I'd read it in a heartbeat."

And thus 'The Day After Tomorrow:Memoirs of a Strange Little Girl' was born.


© 2017 MeratheRestless


Author's Note

MeratheRestless
Feel free to comment, but keep in mind I was trying to capture my own 12-year-old thoughts rather than be politically correct or anything like that.

* 17 February 2007,
My name is Selah Isadora Rivvards et I am twelve (12) years old. About my family? An orphan doesn't have any family, right? My guardians since April 2005 are Orchid and Leonard. They are a very young couple and don't have a lot of money, but everything I need, they've given me. Who are Orchid and Leonard? Orchid is the daughter of the black woman, who gave birth to me, et Leonard is her fiancé. She is twenty (20) years old and he is twenty-two (22) years old. My biological father is from Quebec, but I know nothing about him. Orchid says that it's not necessary to have my father in my life, because there is already a white man to raise me, Leonard. Is it good to have him? I don't know, because even still, I wish that I live in Quebec or an orphanage. I am nobody's child.

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OK, used Google translate. That is a heart breaking story indeed. I am curious why such apparently nice people, Orchid and Leonard, are not accepted as parent figures. I also am very curious where the mother is. I am guessing dead? It would be even sadder if the mother were not dead but just elsewhere. You capture the hopeless isolation children can feel vividly. This made me cry.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

OK, used Google translate. That is a heart breaking story indeed. I am curious why such apparently nice people, Orchid and Leonard, are not accepted as parent figures. I also am very curious where the mother is. I am guessing dead? It would be even sadder if the mother were not dead but just elsewhere. You capture the hopeless isolation children can feel vividly. This made me cry.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I wish I knew French. The text of her assignment is pretty much the center of the story, but i have very little idea what it says. Could you provide a translation in the comments section?

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


MeratheRestless

2 Years Ago

Would it be better to have a translation immediately following the text?
SweetNutmeg

2 Years Ago

No, it is more effective as an island. Providing the translation at the bottom or in the author's no.. read more
MeratheRestless

2 Years Ago

The idea is she is very reluctant to accept Leonard, because he is white like the biological father .. read more

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MeratheRestless
MeratheRestless

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Really there's not much to tell. I study in university, work a part time job, go to Kingdom Hall twice a week, out preaching at least twice per month, and spend the rest of my time at home. Don't like.. more..

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