copyright 2000 Jim Chevallier
I know it's not easy for them. Cleaning houses, painting apartments,
mowing lawns. Doing whatever to make ends meet.
It's not their fault that I don't have my own room. Just the same, that's
the worst part - them in the one bed and my sister sleeping in the bottom bunk
and me on top. Like I was still a little girl.
Addie, at school, said, "You sleep in a bunk? Like at summer camp?" I
was sorry I told her. I only mentioned it because we're such good friends and
she asked if I had a double bed. I almost made something up, but she can always
tell when I do that. Still, when she saw it made me unhappy, she said she
wouldn't tell anyone. She promised. And I believe her. Because she really is my
very best friend.
Addie lives in a house - a whole entire house! - and she has her own
room. And a computer too. With DVD. So she can watch movies in her room.
One day when I was over there, she said, "Maybe I can go to your house
sometime. You always come over here." But her mother said, quick as a wink,
"Oh honey, it's fine for your friend to come here. We don't mind."
I'll bet she thinks we live in someplace really terrible, with gangs and
drugs and nobody speaking English. Whatever.
My mom would like it better if she came to our place. She doesn't see
anything wrong with how we live. Plus, she worries when I don't come right
home. Even if she knows where I am.
I love my mom so much. I wish I could make her happy. I wish I
could buy her things and make it so she didn't have to work. And maybe give
her her own room too. Cause I'm sure she'd like some time away from my dad.
Not that she'd ever say that to me. But you can tell. They don't really get along.
It's like everything's about money. Not about what I feel or what Mom
feels or even Dad. (With my little sister, it's different. Everybody cares what she
feels. Cause she's the baby.) So we all sleep in one room and I do my homework
in the living room, on the dinner table with the TV going, and I can't be a
person. Because we can't afford it.
We just can't afford for me to be me.