“Emma!” said my foster mom, Melissa, for the fifth time. I was ignoring her because I knew she wanted to talk about my feelings and why I had ditched school yesterday. Meanwhile I was downstairs trying to practice my ballet, but the little ones, Gracie and Billy were running around and screaming too much. I grunted, grabbed my coat and ran outside. As the door swung open, the cool Brooklyn winter air blew my hair back. I sighed, and a cold puff air came out of my mouth. I ran across the field in the park in front of the house, climbed up the fence and pulled myself up to the tennis court roof.
I layed there and looked at the sky that was shades of orange, yellow and cat-vomit pink. I heard the fence shaking, and someone climbing up it, but I already knew who it was.
“Hey Em,” Sky said as he pulled himself over the side of the fence.
“You’re here early”
I sighed, “Had to get out of that place. How’s your home?”
“It’s alright actually. No annoying foster siblings, just a boring married couple that really don’t care what I do.”
“Lucky. I can’t wait till I’m eighteen, and I can finally be free from this stupid system. ” I said.
We sat there awkwardly for a bit until Sky broke the silence.
“Race ya to the playground, ” he said as he jumped off the roof.
“What?! You got a head start!” I laughed and raced behind him.
After running around outside for hours the sky got black, and the stars came out and we both collapsed onto the grass. We looked up at the stars quietly for a bit. Then Sky broke the silence and said, “Aren’t you tired of being treated like an object that just gets sent away when people get bored of you.”
I thought about this for a minute and realized he was right. The longest I had been in a home for was when my parents were alive. I lived in a big apartment in Manhattan with beautiful views of the city in every room. My parents were such great people. My mother was a beautiful ballerina, and ever since I was two my mom put me into ballet lessons. She went to Juilliard, and that was her dream for me. My father on the other hand was the funniest person I had ever met. He was also broadway actor, and I loved watching his shows. I was so happy….until the night my whole life came shattering down into tiny little pieces.
It was August 19, 2008, and I was 7 years old. My parents, and Sky’s parents went out for a kids free night or whatever, and Sky and I were at my house with a babysitter. it was getting late, and my parents weren’t home yet. The babysitter kept trying to get me to sleep but, I refused to go to sleep without my parents. It was already 4 o’clock in the morning, and the babysitter was freaking out. Finally the doorbell rang, me and the babysitter sighed in relief, but it wasn’t who we expected. It was the police. The policeman said something quietly to the babysitter, and the expression on her face is something I never forgot.
I guess they figured I was too young to know what really happened so just told me Mommy and Daddy got into an accident. Which is true, but what they didn’t tell me is that my Dad killed them all. So after I found out that my father had gotten behind the wheel drunk and crashed. He went to jail, and that’s when I got put into the system. I guess there were no family members willing to take me in so I got sent to my first foster home. All I had was my best friend, Sky and my teddy bear Roxxie. I have had Roxxie since the day I was born, and it was my only belonging (other than my clothing) going into the system. Me and Sky refused to go anywhere without being in the same neighborhood as each other. Every time I would do something that annoyed me foster parents I would get sent to a new home. So would Sky. So yeah, I was tired of treated like an object that just gets sent off when people get bored of you.
“Sky, let’s runaway,” I blurted.
He gave me a yoursofreakingstupid look.
“You’re kidding right? You realize we would get caught and we would get moved to yet another foster home, and after that what are the chances we will ever be put in foster homes in the same town ever again,” he said.
“Who said anything about getting caught,” I replied.
After a long time of arguing I convinced Sky to runaway with me. Our plan was to pack our ,few, things, “borrow” some money from our foster parents and meet at the park at midnight. I ran home, and when I came in Melissa was standing in the doorway.
“Where were you?!” she said pretending to be concerned.
“At the park,” I said as I took my shoes off.
“Please tell me where you are going before you leave.”
“Whatever” I murmured as I walked past her.
Late that night I packed my things (just a clean pair of underwear, a toothbrush, a sleeping bag that I took from the closet and Roxxie, of course). I slowly tip toed down the hall and creaked opened the door to Melissa and Mark’s room. This was my first time in their room and it wasn’t what I had expected. There were tons of colorful painting, tapestries, plants and a ton of candles. I scanned the room for Melissa’s purse and there it was in the corner, her little blue satchel on a small floral couch. I walked over to it slowly keeping on eye on Melissa and Mark, who were sleeping soundly on their king sized bed. I looked into the bag and immediately saw her black wallet. I looked at it for minute and bit my fingernail. I shouldn’t be doing this I thought. I took a deep breath and I grabbed the wallet without hesitation. I took a one hundred dollar bill and put it in my bag then I went out the door to the park.
It was only 11:58 and Sky hadn’t arrived yet. The street was so empty and quiet. All I heard was the trees swaying in the wind. Sky arrived exactly at 12:00. We got on the subway and we were the only ones there so we were climbing the poles and running around the whole time. We stayed on until the last stop and we had no idea where we were. We found a nice bench to sleep on and we fell asleep.
The next morning I woke up to find Sky still asleep and little kids on monkey bars giving us funny looks. “Sky, wake up” I whispered as I slightly shook him.
“Ugh,” he said as he rolled around in his sleeping bag.
“Other people are here, we have to leave now or we’ll get caught,” I said.
He slowly got up and looked around. His black hair was extremely knotty and flying in all different directions and there were big pink and purple bags under his big green eyes. He stared at me with his mouth wide open. He looked ridiculous and I began to laugh but then I realized I shouldn’t be because I probably look ten times worse. We both began to laugh hysterically. Later that afternoon we walked around and bought some sandwiches for lunch and we passed by a skating rink. I looked at how the skates glided across the ice so smoothly and- “Let’s go ice skating” Sky said almost as if he were reading my mind. My face lit up but then my smile faded away.
“We don’t have enough money and we need to save for food.” I said looking down at my shoes.
“Don’t worry about food I have a huge stash from my foster home,” he replied.
I smiled. “Well I guess skating for a little bit wouldn’t hurt..”
We rented some skates and by the time I had stepped onto the ice, Sky (being a former hockey player) went straight to the ice and had already done three laps around the rink. I held onto the wall and took little baby steps. The last time I went skating was when I was five and I’ve wanted to go ever since but obviously my foster parents would never take me. Sky was coming at me really fast and I hid my head under my arms, screamed and waited to get hit, but Sky stopped right in front of me and sprayed snow at me with his blades scratching the ice. He laughed and skated circles around me. I rolled my eyes and smiled at the same time.
“Come on get off the wall,” he said. I shook my head. Suddenly he grabbed my arm and pulled me off the wall. He held my hand and helped me. I fell several times, but after a while I got used to it and Sky and I were racing around the rink.
After a long day of skating Sky and I went back to the benches. I shivered a bit and Sky took of his jacket and put it on my shoulders. I was kind of startled seeing Sky only had a T shirt under. “Thanks,” I said “but It’s fine.”
“No take it,” he insisted.
The next morning I woke up to the sound of an irritating voice saying “Yup, that’s them.” I scratched my head and squinted my eyes which were being blinded by sun. I saw a police officer and a woman with a small child standing over me. I slowly got up. “Excuse me young lady, you’re coming with me.” the police officer said. He pulled me up by my arm aggressively.
“Wait, what’s going?” I asked still a bit asleep.
“Are you Emma Brookes?” he said ignoring my question. I considered lying but then realized it would just get me in more trouble in the long run.
“Yes” I responded softly.
“And is that Sky Gurner?” he said looking at Sky who was still sound a sleep in his sleeping bag.
“Yes” I mumbled. He shook Sky and told him he was the federal police of blah blah. Sky woke up and the police officer demanded silence as he put us into his police car and drove us back to our foster homes. During the car ride the police officer just went on about how we are going to be in so much trouble and we shouldn’t have done that, but I didn’t regret one second of it.
We got to my foster home and the police officer walked me to the door and rang the doorbell. Melissa opened the door and gasped. “Oh, thank god! Emma! Where have you been?!” she said as she hugged me. I fake smiled as she squeezed me. The police officer spoke with Melissa and Mark for a bit and then he left. Mark spoke on the phone with my social worker and Melissa came to talk to me.
“Hi,” she said. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” I responded.
“What were you thinking?!,” she said, “You can’t just runaway like that!”
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
I was starting to feel bad and I felt my eyes get watery. I bit my lip and took a took a deep breath to try to stop myself from bursting out into tears.
“It’s okay, It’s okay,” she said. She hugged me and I began to bawl my eyes out. I left a big pool of tears on Melissa’s shirt. I didn’t really understand why I was crying, but I just couldn’t stop. After I calmed down, me and Melissa ate ice cream and watched a movie. That night for the first time in seven years I felt at home.