Tina drives down a long winding road. She is rambling on and on about the Fosters. What great people they are, how it is they decided to become foster parents. What irony. Their last name is Foster and they are foster parents. I must have laughed because Tina stops talking and looks at me.
"What's so funny about them loosing a daughter?"
Oops. "Nothing." She is really concerned about my laughing. She's thinking 'wow, this kid really needs counselling.' "I was laughing at their name. It's Foster and they're foster parents." I say in my most 'this is obvious' voice.
"Yeah, so." She looks at me weird. I can hear her thinking about it and she just can't see why that is funny. I shake my head.
We arrive at the Foster's cattle ranch and she turns down the long driveway. They are standing on their veranda, anticipating me. I am the same age their daughter was when she died. Fifteen. Tina pulls up to the house and she gets out. I wait. I am unsure of myself. Tina walks up to them and points at me. She tells them I am deeply troubled and need counselling. Mrs. Foster, Kate, shrugs. She starts toward the car and before she can get to my door, I open it and get out.
"Hi Heather." She smiles her warmest smile. "Welcome. You can call me Kate."
I nod my head at her; I can't speak. People have many layers of psyche and hers were all overlaid with grief. I wondered if my psyche would look similar.
"Can I help you with your bags?" She reaches out to me.
I shake my head. "Don't touch me." She continues to smile, but wonders what kind of monster my parents were, that I don't even like to be touched. She doesn't understand, but then how can she.
I start towards the front door. Kate follows me. Mr. Foster, Rob, is concerned about my little outburst. He's worried that I will be too much for his wife to handle. He looks at me and compare's me to his daughter. I can see she was a very happy teenager who loved to ride alongside her pa and help him with the cattle. Tinged with that memory is the one of how she died. I suck in a deep breath as I reach the stairs to the veranda. I grasp the railing as I become dizzy. I feel the nausea rise up into my throat. Tina looks at me and thinks that I'm going to lose it. She may be right. Mr. foster jumps down beside me and is about to steady me when I shake my head. He stops. I run up the stairs and enter the house through the front door. I can hear them talking. The Fosters are reassuring Tina that everything will be okay. Tina wants to put me into an institution. They convince her to let me be and so Tina leaves. I hear her singing to the song now playing on her car radio and the off-key voice slowly dissolves as she disappears down the road. Kate and Rob enter the house. They stare at me. I turn around and half-heartily smile.