Life was a blur.
Time was going incredibly slow, yet the days were ticking by like seconds. I couldn't tell anything apart anymore, it all just blended together. Like my whole life was drawn with watercolour pencils and somebody just came and poured a bucket of water on everything.
The police took care of my parents' things, and I was allowed to take what I wanted. I didn't take much, I felt kind of awkward confronted with it all. I took some essential things of mine and they felt adequate, but I packed a few keepsakes that I knew they would have been upset about if thrown away.
The first day in my new 'home' was dreadful. The place smelt of damp clothes and dusty curtains, and it was deserted. I knew the kids here were orphans; that they weren't exactly going to be the happiest children alive but even still, only one of them came out of their room. He was mute, his eyes dark, feet scuffling across the floor. He didn't even acknowledge me standing there.
As far as I knew, there was only one person working here, which was understandable considering the place was only small. I tried to decipher whether that was why the place wasn't very well kept at all, or if it was just due to laziness. Her name was Stephanie and she had scraggly hair the colour of dishwater that stuck to her withered face in some places but stuck out towards the ceiling in others. She had flat eyes: not flat physically, it was just as if there was nothing beneath them. It was like when you saw a blind person and they had that kind of milky film over their eyes, but more subtle. She didn't say much to me, just muttered in broken sentences that my room was at the end of the corridor, and then a few more incoherent things that I didn't bother to even try and understand. I picked up my case and my backpack and trailed towards the end, feeling horrendously and inescapably exposed in the centre of the dingy hallway.
The light in my room was weak and yellow as I flicked it on, and I grimaced when I saw the dirty pale blue sheets spread over the bed. Through the small window that was crusted with mud, mould and god knows what else, I could see a little tree that looked similar to the one in the park outside my house.
I thought about the park, and suddenly remembered that nobody had told me about any of the rules or regulations here. Was I allowed to go out whenever I wanted? Did I have to ask permission first? Would Stephanie give me permission? Was Stephanie crazy?
I let my mind tree begin to grow again, and leaned against the wall with a sigh.