Today was the big day, and I just lay in the bed dreading the events to come. I rolled over to take a peek at Chad in the next bed and he was still sound asleep. I crept out of the bed and went into the bathroom to wash my face. As I looked into the mirror, I said a quick prayer and asked God to please let this be a good thing, and to please protect me and my little brother. We hadn’t asked for much, so I didn’t think it was an unreasonable request to put in.
After I finished getting dressed, I woke Chad up and made him wash up and get dressed. Once we were both ready we went downstairs for breakfast. As we sat down at the table to eat, we received numerous glares from the other children, who were jealous that we had potential parents and they didn’t. I didn’t care.
We barely had a chance to finish our food, before Ms. Tinsley came in to let us know that the Epps’ had arrived. She led us to her office where they were waiting and as she ushered us in she said, “Mr. & Mrs. Epps, I would like you to meet Marion and Chad.”
“We are so happy to meet you, Marion and Chad,” said Mrs. Epps with a big smile on her face.
“Yes,” Mr. Epps chimed in, “we sure are pleased to meet you both.”
“Thank you,” I replied uneasily.
“Well, I will leave you all to talk and get to know each other better,” said Ms. Tinsley.
I took Chad’s hand and led him to the leather couch on the other side of the room and sat down. All four of us just sat uncomfortably, until finally I was unable to stand it any longer.
“Why do you want us?” I wanted to know.
“Well,” Mrs. Epps began, “We are not able to have children of our own and we have always wanted children to love. We have a great big house and no one to share it with.”
“Oh,” I said staring at the floor.
“Marion,” she began, “I can tell that you take very good care of your little brother.”
“Yes, I do.”
“You are both very lucky to have each other. We would love to have the chance to give you the life that you deserve,” she said, as she walked over and knelt down in front of us, “I know all about the loss of your parents and we just want to give you something in return for giving us a chance to share in your lives, “ she continued, as she hugged Chad and kissed his cheek.
That was the first of many lies to come, but hell, she had me convinced. In spite of myself I felt a flicker of hope ignite in my heart. I looked over at Chad and he was so enthralled in her words and promises that his little face just lit up. At that moment, I made up my mind to give them a chance.
We talked a little more and before we knew it Ms. Tinsley had returned to see what would become of our little meeting.
“So, how are we doing in here?” she asked.
“Fine, just fine. I think we’re going to have ourselves a little family,” said Mr. Epps happily.
“That’s wonderful,” said Ms. Tinsley, as she clapped her hands together, “Marion is that ok?”
“Yes,” I said.
And that was that. It took less than two weeks for the paperwork to get finalized and we were out of there. It was a little less than two months until my twelfth birthday in September and I felt very optimistic about my new future. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.
We moved in with the Epps’ in the middle of July. The first six weeks were more than I could have imagined they would be. First off, the house was a big colonial style brick home on the upper scale side of Detroit. I found out that Mr. Epps was a foreman at the Ford Motor plant, and Mrs. Epps was a domestic engineer (as she liked to call it; a house wife is what I liked to call it.) Apparently, Mr. Epps made more than enough to provide a comfortable living for the both of them.
Chad and I both got our own rooms, which were right across the hall from each other. That would take some getting used to because we had never slept in separate rooms before. Granted, it would be a nice change for me to have some privacy, but I knew it would take some time for him to get used to it.
Then, they took us shopping for school clothes at the K-Mart. You could have hit us in the head with a sack of nickels and we wouldn’t have noticed we were so happy. We had never been shopping for ourselves before for brand new clothes that were in style, or so we thought. All we ever got were Salvation Army hand-me-downs from our parents and state issued essentials at the orphanage.
After a full day of shopping, Chad and I were exhausted. It was late when we got home and Chad was getting sleepy. So, I went in his room to get him situated like I usually did when Mrs. Epps came in suddenly and bumped me aside, so that she could tuck Chad into bed.
“Alright now, baby, don’t you worry about anything. Mommy is here now and everything is ok,” she crooned, as she kissed him goodnight.
I wanted to cuss her out so bad, but instead I bit my tongue so hard that I almost bit it off. She was trippin- hard. I didn’t say a word, I just stood there fuming as I watched her cuddle my brother like he was a love-starved puppy.
After she was done, she got up and ushered me out of the room and into the hallway. Then once she closed the door, she turned to me with a smile on her face and said, “Marion, you don’t have to worry about tucking Chad in anymore. I’m his mother now and I can take care of all that, ok?”
“But…” I began.
“Good. Goodnight, sweetheart,” she said as she hugged me and then trotted off down the hall to her bedroom.
I just stood there and fumed. I was pissed and I wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into. My first thought was to grab Chad and get the hell out of there. I had been taking care of Chad all his life and I wasn’t about to turn that responsibility over to a complete stranger, who I was starting to suspect was just a little off her rocker. Then I calmed myself down and tried to think rationally.
“Maybe it’s not so bad…I’m too old to be tucking my brother in anyway,” I told myself, but I wasn’t really convinced.
And then again maybe I was really over reacting. I chose to go with that thought because I didn’t want to believe that I had made anything but a good decision for my brother and me to come here. So I pushed it out of my mind and went to sleep in my new bed. I would learn soon enough, that my first instinct was usually the correct one.
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