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“‘Briiiing!” I jump as I hear the bell ring. The school day is over. I slowly gather my papers and shove them into my backpack, then start heading out of the classroom. My English teacher reminds us as we head out the door that we have an essay due the next day. I silently berate myself for procrastinating. English is my worst subject and I don’t want to face the consequences of not getting a good grade on this essay. I walk to my locker trying to decide what to write about. Opening my locker, I fumble a couple of times before I finally get it open then I grab my lunch box and head out to my mom’s car waiting lonely in the parking lot. I throw open the door and without making eye contact hop into the passenger seat.
“You’re late!” mom exclaims.
I mumble a barely audible, “Sorry.”
“It better not happen again,” is her reply. I sink down in my seat and stare out the window wishing to be anywhere else but here.
My mom screeches, “Are you listening to me young lady?”
I reply, “Yes, ma’am,” wishing we were home and I could take refuge in my bedroom.
My mother breaks my thought. “You need to clean you room. I was in there today and it looks like a pigsty.”
I think to myself, “But I just cleaned it yesterday.”
My mother snarls. “Your punishment is being grounded for the night and no dinner.”
We pull up at the driveway, where my mom takes my backpack and tells me to go to the bathroom. I go to the bathroom and sit on the floor as she locks the door from the outside. I listen as I hear her footsteps grow quieter and quieter. When I can no longer hear the footsteps anymore, I flip the light switch and grab a tube of toothpaste from beneath the counter. My mom doesn’t know but I read the label on the toothpaste for entertainment.
I wake up to the sound of pounding on the door. I hear my dad’s voice “Katie, are you okay?”
“Yes.” I manage to mumble.
“I can’t get the f'ing door open!”
I hear the sound of wood splintering and realise my dad has a hammer and is breaking down the door. I try to stand and help but end up just falling. I can’t remember anything that has happened since she locked me in here. I probably read toothpaste and soap bottles until I fell asleep. I notice my dad has made a pretty good sized hole in the door I stand in an attempt to crawl through the door. I start feeling dizzy, everything is spinning, and then every thing goes black...
...I wake up my body sticking to the vinyl of the seat of my dad’s rental car.
“Dad? Why are you here.”
“The school called my phone saying you were ditching, and after two days I realized that sounded fishy. I got worried about you and took the first flight home from Mexico. Which arrived this morning. I drove to the apartment and found you. Now we need to get you to a hospital. Here see if you can drink this” He hands me a bottle of water. I struggle with the cap and he reaches over and unscrews it for me. I raise it up to my lips, and take a drink spilling more than I actually manage to drink, my hands are shaking so much.
We arrive at the hospital and they start hooking me up to a million tubes. The do tests and find that I am malnourished and dehydrated. They assume that my mom drugged me and that is why I don’t remember anything. But it would be to late to find anything in a drug test.
They decide to keep me at the hospital for a couple days while they sort things out. My friends visit me at the hospital. I tell them that we had a gas leak at our house because I do not want to tell them the real story.
I am laying in my hospital be reading a book when my dad comes in for a visit.
“Hello girl, hows it going?”
“Pretty good I have been getting bored though”
“I think we can get you out of here tomorrow.”
“That’d be great”
“I was wondering... I have this coworker. She has a little baby. She has been looking for a nanny. I thought maybe you could come back to Mexico with me and be a nanny for this little girl, Isabel, I think is her name.”
“What about school.”
“Well I was thinking you could do it online. I will buy you a laptop.”
“How old is Isabel”
“ 6 months”
“Ok, I will do it.”
“Ok the flight leaves at two in the morning. I already sent your belongings, they are in my apartment in Mexico”
I go to sleep realizing I have to leave early tomorrow morning.
I wake up to my dad carrying me to the rental car.
“Sorry, but I didn’t want to wake you up after all you have been through”
“Dad, I am not an invalid!” He sets me down and I walk to the car. I fell asleep sometime in the car.
I wake up as the flight attendant says something in spanish I do not understand.
“We will be landing soon, so buckle up,” translates my father. I fasten my seat-belt.
“When do I get to see Isabel?” I ask my father.
“Her mom is picking us up from the airport, and she said she would bring Isabel so you could meet her.”
I feel a jerk as the plane hits the runway. I grab my stuff, and follow my dad out of the plane and through the crowded airport. I my dad walks towards a lady about thirty years old.
“Hello you must be Katie, I am Elena, and this is Isabel.” She shakes my hand. I smile waiting for someone else to say something. After about a minute, Elena breaks the silence.
“Would you like to hold Isabel” I nod and she gently places Isabel. I look in the eyes of Isabel. I feel a sense of peace wash over me. It is like everything my mother ever said or did to me has been lifted, and I am free. I feel tears streaming down my face. I know now that I am going to treat Isabel the way I wish my mother had treated me.
“Are you okay,” Elena opens her purse and pulls out a tissue and hands it to me.
“She is beautiful” I reply as a tear rolls down my cheek.