Narrator: Leslie Defiere
Okay, that’s enough, Leslie. Stop it. I was no longer in Adam’s arms, but in the bathroom, looking in the mirror. My hair was disheveled, and the last layer of tears that covered my eyes, made it glisten – almost like silver. It’s funny, how Lawrence never rightly cared for me, and yet he has the power to make me cry over his death. For the first time, in Adam’s embrace, I could feel it. The confusion, the solitude, and the immobility.
I ran my fingers through my hair in attempt to straighten it out, and washed my face. The doors opened, and there they were. They, as in Brent and social services. The ones that put you in homes of desperate people who hover over you, treating you like you’re eight. Adam looked at me warily, and Brent with the most sympathetic look he could muster.
“Hi, Leslie. How about we take a seat and talk for a while?” I followed them to a room down the hall, empty. Adam sat beside me on my left, and squeezed my lifeless hand. I think the blood started running, because I felt warm again after that.
“I’m Katrina Dows, and this is Tyler Prewitt. We’re from Youth Social Services, trained social workers. Before we start, we’re very sorry for your loss and or job is to help you find a new home, sort out your future and so forth. Is that okay with you?” Katrina asked, politely.
“Yes.” No. They don’t know anything about me. My mother knew everything about me; she couldn’t help herself, let alone me. I lived with Lawrence and he’s dead. So no, it’s not okay with me.
“Great. We’ll take it slowly, and if there’s anything you want to ask, jump in anytime. Both of us have met Adam and Brent – you’re comfortable with them staying here, I presume?” Tyler inquired, his voice slightly colder than Katrina’s. Something that I appreciated, him keeping his distance. Maybe he understood – we’re strangers.
I nodded in return. “Okay. Firstly, we will have to discuss immediate housing, foster parents, school and so forth. You’re still a minor, therefore you can’t reside in the house on your own. For the time being, you’ll have to stay in a youth housing unit we have.”
What both of them didn’t understand was that I may be a stranger, but I wasn’t a prisoner. Prisoners stay in a joint housing unit, surrounded by those of the same sex, following rules and restrictions and eating bad food. I did not commit a crime, and they were simply going to throw me in with other fucked up girlies, whose mothers and fathers were the seed of their problems.
He continued, “That will be until we can find a suitable home for you with foster parents, who will then take care of you. You won’t have to worry too much about that for now. For maybe a week, or two, you will have to stay with a friend – someone of the same gender – whilst we sort out a housing unit.” There are things to sort out, are there? What, the number on my orange jumpsuit?
“Any questions, Leslie? Adam, Brent?” Katrina looked at the three of us, concernedly.
“Yeah, um, what about school?” Adam spoke up.
“Well, we’re thinking of an alternative learning center, in which she can learn at her own pace… The arts school is a standard education center, and considering her current predicament – it may not be ideal to remain as a student there.”
Brent looked at me despondently, and put an arm over my shoulder. He was trying to indicate his “special” relationship with me. My life is slowly turning to shit, and all he cares about is letting others know where he stands with me.
“Um, could we just—“ I sighed in exhaustion. “Could we take a break?” I asked hopefully, glancing over at Brent and Adam. Hint, hint.
“Yes, of course. We’ll leave you three to talk. We’ll be just outside. Take all the time you need.” They left the room with a click of the door.
“Listen Leslie, I'm sorry I was late and I'm sorry you lost him. But I love you. Okay? I’m gonna help you through this, and we’re gonna stick together. I love you,” Brent stared at me ardently, obviously unaware of Adam’s presence.
“I—“ I don’t. “I love you too.” I didn’t look at Adam after that. What he didn’t know; was that in my mind, I wasn’t gazing into Brent's green eyes when I said it.