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I was a monster. I was an average 13 year-old girl, except for the fact that the entire right side of my face had been burned. I awaited in the adoption center for that one special day my perfect adopter would arrive, but I had grown impatient. After two years of constant rejections I was beginning to think that I'd die in the building of old age. But I didn't blame them. Who would be silly enough, no, mental enough to adopt me? I was impossible to have to be looked at everyday. I could hardly even look at myself. I didn't feel sorry for myself, no, but I felt sorry for those who had to lay eyes on me.
I used to live in a foster home before my foster parents were sent to jail for child abuse. They are the reason why I look this way. I had always wished that they would've just killed me because then I wouldn't of had to live with the torchure of being constantly rejected, stared at, called names by the other girls, laughed at, and emotionally abused. Everything would have turned out better if they had just killed me off completely instead of just the few skin cells on my face.
“How's my girl today?” asked the office lady who was constantly on the phone and computer and for some reason asked me how I was doing every day. She would've probably given me attention if I had wanted to talked to her, but I didn't want to. I didn't deserve to be asked questions or for people to know what my problems were. I didn't deserve sympathy for I knew in my heart that even before my last foster parents that I had made too many mistakes. I knew in my heart that my mistakes were the reasons why my real parents left me at a day care center when I was three. I didn't deserve to be loved by anybody and people deserved to love somebody else better than me.
I merely shrugged the lady's question off and walked away miserably to the couch next to all the magazines and books.
It was now close to lunchtime and I heard a ring from the entrance door where people come in if they were looking to adopt. I peered over and saw a lady who looked middle – aged. She was very pretty but had ton of makeup on probably trying to hide her wrinkles as best as she could. She strutted over to the office lady and the lady handed her a paper. It was an adoption form. I listened in on their conversation as closely as I could.
“Oh, hi Mary. You've come in to make your decision now?”
“Yup. But I would like to be presented with the choices very quickly once again.” She stroked her long bleach-blond hair back with her pink flowery nails that were obviously fake.
The office lady pulled out a laminated paper with pictures of the different children who were seeking a home with a brief description of each. Mary stood there, resting her body more on her right leg and started picking at her nails.
“I think last time you came you were searching for a child thirteen and up, is that correct?”
“Yup. Was this girl here the one that I wanted to meet, the one that you recommended me to, the pretty one?”
I felt my stomach jump out through my ears. She was pointing to a picture of me, the side of my face that was good. I had never been called pretty before. It struck me like a ton of bricks. I knew she hadn't seen the other side of my face, so I sat sideways on the couch so she could only see the good side of it and didn't take that compliment to heart. I stared back down at the magazine I was reading and pretended to be interested in it but continued my eavesdropping.
“So do you want to meet her then?” the office lady asked. I could tell that she was being very persuasive as if she wanted me to go. Mary nodded her head.
“Well, she's sitting right over there then.” The office lady pointed to me sitting on the couch, pretending to read a magazine.
I felt both of their eyes on me as I pretended not to notice. My stomach was fluttery and filled with butterflies and my heart was beating fast. Maybe this was it! Maybe this was the day I'd be adopted and would finally be able to get out of this place!
“Hey you. What's up?” asked Mary.
I suddenly felt so shy that I could hardly speak. But I somehow uttered the word: “Hi.”
“So tell me, how old are you?” she asked as she took a seat down next to me. I quickly scooted to the right so she could only see the left side of my face. It was a close call, but I was doing OK.
“I'm. . . . Fourteen.” I looked down to the floor being my timid self.
“That's a good age. Now you don't really look like the antsy and immature type, I like you.”
“Thanks.” I tried to be as respectful as I could.
“Hey, how come you don't look at me when I talk to you?” she asked.
That question hit me so hard and I quickly turned my head ever so slightly, but let my eyes do all the work. “I'm sorry ma'am.”
“You better be. I have to take a good look at you before I take you home.”
She examined me for a few seconds which made me very uncomfortable. She looked me up and down while sitting there. I waited for her to finish respectfully.
Finally she stood back up and walked back over to the office lady as I quickly turned my good side to her again. She took the white information sheet and started filling out all the information for adoption. I couldn't believe it. I was going to get out of this place! Someone actually was going to adopt me! I was ecstatic. I tried grabbing the magazine on the table in front of me to continue reading, but it fell to the floor, so I turned to pick it up. Bad move.
“What!?” Mary was staring at me. She was staring at my burnt face. She made a disgusted face at me and quickly walked out of the building with widened eyes as if she was horrified and had been threatened by a roaring lion.
Now I knew how an animal in a pet shop felt. Awaiting the day when they'd be able to run around in an actual house, when they'd have their very own owner to call their own. I wanted something like that. I needed something like that. I was falling apart. I had been rejected before, but for some reason this one hurt more than the rest. She had gotten so close almost to the point of the written and signing part. If I hadn't had accidentally revealed my face to her, maybe she would have adopted me. Maybe if I had waited until she brought me home before shocking her, everything would've been OK. I ran to the bunk where I slept. I tried to hold it in until I got there and I barely made it. On my bed I fell, as I curled up into a little tight fisted ball and let all my hurt out upon my pillow. I cried lakes and lakes out at once. I coughed a few times and even gagged. Soon I became so weak that I could no longer afford to be so tense. Slowly I let my hard grip on my legs go and slowly I let my heavy eyes close. Slowly my bawling turned into wailing, my wailing into moaning, and my moaning silenced the tears until I had fallen asleep. I never knew what it was really like to truly cry before until today.
I woke up to a soft whisper in my ear. I was surprised to open my eyes and find Molly, the chef, standing right there in front of me. She handed me a plate with a butter knife and a spoon and walked off.
The bread was thick and hollow like my stomach and my eyes with crusty tears dried on them. I tried to bite into it but it was just too dry and thick. A leftover tear fell on a crumb. I jabbed the flimsy butter knife into the bread and tried to take another bite when I had an idea that I knew I had to follow through on. I climbed down my latter off of my bunk and brought my plate of food with me. I walked over to the kind office lady who really took a sincere interest in me. She knew where everything was. She looked at me with a surprised look on her face as if she never expected me to even glance at her. I felt awkward but I kept my eyes focused on her even though my head was lowered. I had a plan and I was going to follow through with it, not bail out as I had so many times before when I had had a chance.
“I need a knife for my bread.” I said. I made sure I got right to the point.
“But you have one there, don't you?” she asked. She was pointing to the white flimsy plastic one used by kids so they wouldn't accidentally cut themselves. I could tell that she was trying to sound abnormally sweet and soft towards me. I didn't trust her tone.
“Yeah, but it's too flimsy.”
I bent it for her and ended up breaking it in half. She chuckled a bit as I gave her a blank expression.
“Come, follow me,” she encouraged as she got up from her work and showed me to the kitchen, all the while my shy self following cautiously behind her, observing the white kitchen she lead me into. She took a knife from a wooden box and handed it to me, and I went off facing the floor. It was only a few minutes later that I remembered that I had forgotten to thank her and that guilty feeling started plaguing me. Why did my stupid conscious have to be so sensitive? I slouched to my room, throwing my plate and food away in the gray garbage can that resided next to the gray water fountain. I didn't know if it was just me, but everything seemed to be that colorless gray color. Even my skin seemed paler than usual. I ignored my growling stomach as I stuck the silver knife in a small bag I used to carry all my supplies in. As I tried to close the bag, a little hand held mirror fell out that I thought I had gotten rid of a long time ago. I stared down at myself, at my face. Man, I had forgotten how unlovable I was. How monstrous I was. How hideous I was. This really was the only way. The only way I could escape this misery my foster parents had put me through. From the misery that even my real parents had given me up to. I was born to be rejected and I was born to except that fact.
I miserably stomped on the mirror, shattering it to pieces, compelling the tears to fall down once again from my weary face. My eyelashes became heavy once again and I realized just how hungry I really was for I hadn't eaten anything that day. I finished zipping up my bag and tried to dry my tears from my face and tried to quit just until I had reached the bathroom. Well, it wouldn't have mattered anyway, no one else would've ever seen me cry again, but I just didn't want anyone to become suspicious and then try to stop me from the decision I had securely anchored into my mind. I did not want to go back. This was not where I belonged.
I made a run for the bathroom. No one would become suspicious of that. They would just think that I had to go really bad or something. When I had made it to the door, I glanced ever so slightly at the office lady while I threw my bag inside. I spied her looking at me. Her eyebrows were up and alert and she had some sort of unreadable expression on her face I had never seen before. We stared at each other for a long second until I felt my face become hot and red as tears rolled down my cheeks again. I quickly closed the bathroom door behind me and locked it. I hoped that she hadn't had seen that. That would've given everything away.
I quickly zipped open my bag and pulled out the knife I had borrowed. I stared at it, the silver shinning in the yellow light. I felt the edge of it and a long line sliver of blood poured out Yup. It was extremely sharp. It was perfect. I quickly went over in my mind all the people that I had ever hurt me in my life. Whether emotionally or physically, I forgave them all and hoped that they forgave me. When finished, I stared down at the knife again and held it up------
“Hey sweetie, are you in there?!” the office lady called from outside the door. She was knocking rapidly on it and seemed to have some sort of urgency in her voice.
I remained silent. I was afraid. I didn't know what of, but I knew I was afraid. I still held up the silver knife in my hands as I slowly pointed it towards me.
“Sweetie!? Please answer me!” She knocked again at the door a bit more urgently.
Suddenly, I don't know how it happened, but the silver knife slipped from my hands and fell down with a loud “CLANG!” to the floor. I promptly swiped it up as I held my breath.
“Sweetie!!! Open the door please!!! Com'on!!! You don't have to do this!!!!” She was now banging on it as if she were trying to strike a hole in it. I guess she had figured me out.
I heard several men come over to her, one with some noisy keys. I recognized his voice as the janitor. The janitor who had the keys to every lock in the building. I acted fast. I quickly pointed the knife toward myself again. Then I yelled out as loud as I could so everyone could hear me: “I'M SORRY!!!”
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
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