One gloomy northern California day, after six heavenly months of peace, my foster parents packed me in their car and headed back to the house with no paint. Nothing my kind new dad or my wonderful new mom said to me could cheer me during the long drive south. Our mutual sadness enveloped the inside of the car like a black fog, becoming denser with each passing mile. Soon no one was even attempting to speak cheery, meaningless words of comfort.
As I got out of the car, I plastered my body against my foster parents’ legs as they said their goodbyes, mingling tears with snot as they dripped down the front of my pretty dress. I feared I would never see them again. I never did.
As my eyes focused on the old forsaken door, still lying on the ground, I thought that even new paint could not salve the ugliness that was creeping over my body.
From the day I was returned to my old family, I felt no different from the old rotten potatoes I scavenged from trash bins. My insides felt the same way the outside of the old house looked. It still had the broken door lying on the dirt in the driveway, broken beer bottles, and walls dirty with cobwebs. And the weeds. Everywhere, weeds. The weeds that never needed watering grew up along the neighbors’ fences, around the house and porch, and up against the withering, scraggly fruit trees along the side of the yard. Everything looked like old junk. I felt like junk. To be continued…..