Chapter 3) Watching cinema slides
It could have gone worse, as the glass was always half full and never half empty. It takes skills to be a pessimist as it takes guts to become an optimist. For a long time Gerard had been looking at the world in black and white, things eventually changed. Drastically, but for the goods and now he was able to see shades of grey through the good and bad sides of people. At work some of his colleagues would jokingly call him a preacher, he let them laugh and hide a little smile himself because he’d never expected to end up this good.
He’d fucked up early on, didn’t only see a half empty glass but drank it down till the last drop. During that period of his life there hadn’t been much white, or gray. Just black and his self-pity found out that was a great partner.
Gerard never been a straight A student, but he was a darn good learner at the AA. It was quite funny in a way, that those AA meetings thought him the half/half glass theory.
Karen and Jonathan Palmer should earn a golden star by now. They had been in the foster care system since they happily adopted their son Christopher. After that they had been great parents for many other kids that hadn’t been that fortunate in life. During the formal chit-chat Gerard had with the both of them they left a good first impression. Little uptight maybe, little conservative and Catholic for his likening, but some tough love never hurt. Might even do some good to the Franken-shit, who hadn’t bothered to open his mouth besides some yes ma’am no ma’am.
The Palmers must have expected such silent treatment from their newest member of the family because they hadn’t pushed it. The youngest one even made him a painting saying Welcome home, the characters where a little crooked and smudged but it was well meant. The oldest had politely asked Frank if he wanted to see his new room and helped him get his suitcase upstairs.
While he had little small talk with the parents the twin girls kept shyly quiet staring with huge eyes at their shaggy dressed new big ‘brother’. Gerard always wondered if there grew a bound between foster children living in the same household. He had been blessed to grow up in a tight family that always tried to pull you back on the wagon, even if you’d personally preferred lying in a ditch.
Although this was his first time as a social worker he figured it could have gone a lot worse. He brought his case ‘home’ on time, hadn’t made a too bad first impression on the foster family and had been able to politely chit-chat. God bless small talk and paperwork that needed to be filled in. Considering he could be a fool at talking with quote on quote strangers he did well, didn’t spaz, didn’t stutter and was able to calmly ask to fill in some information for the office.
Seemingly happy Gerard drove away from a nice middle class suburban household, heading home sweet home.
Karen stared at the ceiling of her bedroom, her husband Phillip snoring peacefully in his sleep. She couldn’t sleep yet, a satisfied smile lightened up her face. She was a conservative type of woman who knew doublethink wouldn’t get you anywhere and knew what was what. She always dreamed of being a house wife, bringing up her children and taking care of the household and her husband. She never wanted anything more than just that, become a better mother then hers had been.
As her own uptight mother had said: there was no baking powder in the recipe so you’re just a bun in the oven. Her mother never saw much good in her and that made her fragile, nervous and anxious to fail.
She’d failed hard in her life, her only dream had been to become a wonderful mother and have a wonderful husband. The second one she achieved right after high school. She needed a summer job and her dad fixed her up with a reception job at his office. Boring at it was, dealing with impatience customers and piles of work she always got shivers when she walked through the doors of McConnell and son. Because that stunning mailman would come in, walk towards her desk and while handing her over the morning mail he would try to impress her with smooth talk and make her laugh. During his bragging she would simply look at him, supporting on the palms of her hands and try not to drawn into his stunning blues. Right after their first date she knew it, she would become Karen Howell Palmer one day. With that her dreams blossomed up and she’d been pleased to tell her mother she was going to get married after seven months of dating. A new chapter of her life started but after a few pages she found out her fairytale showed some defects. Medical defects to be precise.
Till this day Karin envied and despised all those women that took their gift from God for granted. Using it as trash, abusing it and some of them threw it carelessly away without looking back. For those women their nine months where a pain and discomfort. For her it was a burden to never go through those nine months of being pregnant. She would never see her own beautiful result, never experience to feel life grow inside her stomach.
Her first few years of marriage had been fruitless attempts to conceive a baby. A time of mourning followed after a miscarriage. Eventually Phil begged her to go see someone that could help her and she still thanked the priest that helped her see the big picture. Maybe she wasn’t able to become pregnant but she still was a born mother. Seven months later her and her husband happily embraced Christopher into their life.
Although her husband had been content with one son she still didn’t feel that it was enough, there was still something unfilled. She needed to be needed, she was in constant need of being able to do something, anything. Thus why she wanted to foster underprivileged children. She wanted to give them a warm and loving home, something she’d missed during her own childhood.
Tonight she was happy, knowing she was fulfilling her purpose, giving a hopeless teenage boy another change.
He hadn’t dared asking yet if he could go out for a smoke. He wasn’t sure if they would allow him to smoke and he didn’t want his precious cigarettes to be taken away from him. They’d been the last bit of comfort and it kept him going through the day.
First few weeks in the re-education centre he’d smoked nonstop. Deprived from his favorite drug of choice, pot, made him edgy and struck down to earth. It had felt like someone grabbed him around the ankles and yanked him face flat on the concrete. His fuzzy security blanket was gone, his filter was gone and the whole god damn world sank back in, not caring how he would be able to coop with it all.
He’d been having nightmares during the first few weeks, every morning he would wake up drenched in his own sweat. And occasionally he pissed he own bed, didn’t help him rise on the social ladder.
Cigarettes filtered, although not enough. They don’t create that fuzzy screen, they don’t let you see child-prove programmers. Cigarettes don’t beep away nasty words and if it’s past midnight you’ll see porn doesn’t matter if you like it or not. Cigarettes are like popcorn, they comfort a wee-bit and keep your attention away from the screen while they tar-up your lungs. It was worth it though, didn’t matter that some night he coughed and sounded like a broken engine. Honestly he wouldn’t be bothered if he started coughing up his own blood, as long as he could be able to keep his attention away from the screen until The End showed up. Cigarettes, made him deal with his day to day motion picture.
They gave him a very decent room, not some hall closet or a twin bed bunker. Simple furniture, but more than that he’d hoped for. There was a bed, an in-build closet, a little desk and a nightstand all made out of the same kind of wood.
He’d dropped his bag on the chair in front of the desk, well the adopted son dropped it on the chair after firmly telling him he better kept his dirty fingers off his things. Clearly Christian Christopher wasn’t too happy with his arrival. Frank hadn’t figured out why yet, but been there done that it wouldn’t take too long to find the answer. Maybe Chrissie thought he was a threat, trying to take over his place in the family tree. If that was the case Chris had absolutely nothing to worry about, but of course he wasn’t going to tell him that just yet. He could handle being pushed around, didn’t mean he would take it like a sissy and cry his little heart out. Nah, he let Chris think he took the warning serious and keep his mouth shut until further notice. Because maybe dear Chrissie was just a little scared of him, guy must have heard some rumors about him. ‘The Parents’ must have prepared their spouse for the nasty little foster fuck that was going to live with them, for a while.
One reason he hadn’t started unpacking his bag. There had been times he didn’t stay longer than a week, sometimes the parents had been that desperate to get rid of him again. It was weird being a person with a recite, parents could go back to the store and walk up to the manager to say: Excuse me, I think he’s broken can I have a better one? Customers are king, so within a few days you’d be packing up your bags again.
Frank wasn’t sure what to think of the rest of the family yet, during the conversations he’d been pretty much trying to behave as polite as possible. Whishing he could have got a haircut, had better clothes to wear. It was hard trying to act like a perfect little angle while you’re wearing third-hand sneakers and a shirt that still smelled like the previous owner. Let’s just say eat or be eaten wasn’t taken lightly in the re-education centre. More than half of his possessions (that hadn’t been much to begin with) had magically vanished within the first week. But you deal with it, because there isn’t another option and take back what you can, even if it wasn’t yours in the first place.
He decided to give the mom a change, she seemed a little nervous and overly concerned at a point it made him feel awkward. All the attention and questions, it had felt like an official police interrogation. He never been the type to give personal information away and trying to politely say: fuck off it’s not any of your business was impossible. He still wasn’t sure if she got the point, but she seemed to be the 'I want to be your best friend' type. Nothing wrong with that, as long as she stayed with sweet smiles and keeping her nose out of his personal life. It was nobody’s business although they must have read half of it in those damn files. Right now he had the feeling he would be able to stand her, with her naïve little bambi eyes that matched owh so well with her faded bronze hair.
The daddy-o of the family, he wasn’t quite sure yet. Could be a total douche, could be a serious guy to watch out for. While his wife had been doing all the rambling he’d been quiet, observing him through small spectacles which reminded him of an Atticus-type of man.
Then, the other kids? He couldn’t remember their names, the two girls had been shy and every once in a while dared to peek up at him. They whispered a lot to each other and Frank couldn’t recall hearing them say anything audible for the rest of the world. Both of them had thick dark hair braided into two pigtails, they must be Hispanic or Mexican or something like that.
Danny… the youngest kid was called Danny. Or D-D-Danny because the kid stuttered horribly. And the thick glasses weren’t going to make his school years any easier. He felt sorry for D-D-Danny because he knew from experience those kids had a nil change of making it through foster care. He felt twice as bad for D-D-Danny after the kid gave him a drawing and stuttered that he was happy to have another older brother named F-F-Frank.
Because F-F-Frank didn’t think he was going to make his stay last.
He hadn’t changed into his pajamas yet and had basically been sitting on the edge of his new bad trying to pick up all the new sounds. Right after dinner he’d excuse himself and said he wanted to go to bed early, for a fresh new start at school, lair lair pants on fire. What he wanted was some alone-time. A change to let everything new sink in and figure out how he was going to deal with this new life. And a moment to collect all bits of his self-control so he wouldn’t freak out. He didn’t want to go through the whole hyperventilating fetus position yet. That could wait for some better alone-time.
Right now he needed an escape, something to calm him down. Silently he tiptoed to the window and checked if it had a lock on it. He hissed something close to sweet motherfucking hallelujah when it turned out it wasn't locked. Feeling a bit guilty for using a precious hallelujah with a vile motherfucker he opened it up so he could enjoy some fresh air. And a smoke!
It was like kissing the fucking queen, if the queen would taste like menthol cigarettes. Disgusting, he knew but it was the best he could get his hands on and a given horse… So right now it where menthol cigarettes and damn he was pretty much euphoric, because he had no idea when he could get new once. He was broke in a way and he wasn’t sure this new family would be bothered to buy him some sweet salvation. He had to play that card careful and not fuck it up by being too greedy.
Yet he couldn’t help himself smoking three cigarettes, inhaling so deeply and with so much relieve it was pathetic.
Pathetic, yes he was pretty much pathetic at this point. To sum it quickly up, he got himself a free room in a decent Catholic family that must have at least some knowledge of his ‘sinful’ past. He didn’t know if the foster care gave them the fully detailed description but he knew they must have dropped some hints, it would only be fair to the family. Top that with three menthol cigarettes an upcoming headache and a fresh day at a new school.
He rolled his eyes and somehow managed to smile thinking of all possible irony: ‘Just God damn peachy.’
This story is turning into shapes I hadn’t planned. What I wanted was pretty much two POV’s and keep a lot of Frank’s thoughts/past aside until somewhere in the middle. Turns out what I want is irrelevant, doesn’t matter how tight I write the storyline or how many times I tell my character to behave. They do whatever they want leaving me to follow. Owh well, at least I know this drill.
Leave some comments wrapped nicely in a review for me, pretty please with sugar on top.
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