Two women relive their past in very different ways
I had just buckled up as the woman and I were getting ready to go on a trip. As I sat there I was wondering when do kids stop being treated like infants? The woman who sat next to me now handed me a book bag she had bought for me especially for this trip. Don’t get me wrong, telutubbies and rainbows on pink background are cute and okay for some. But for me, I liked flowers and butterflies on a blue background. These must be the standard colors for girls. So I assume the blue was for boys. Lucky buggers.
Thankfully I wouldn’t be in the company of this woman long, I was heading to see my Aunt Janice and Uncle Greg. Unfortunately, because of the circumstances I had to be accompanied by an adult. Can you say “Ugh”? Anyway… this is my story, as dull as it might be. But to me sharing this may help others who could be faced with the same dilemma.
So, listen up. You may learn something. I know I did. Now that I was buckled and waiting for the plane to taxi down the runway, I opened the bag and pulled out a book on how to draw. My mom had given it to me along with several others that had been
packed in my bag that was in the overhead compartment It was one of the few personal belongings I packed as I got ready to move to my aunt and uncles. Now the reason I was moving there was because my parents were killed in a car accident.
My Aunt and Uncle would have come for me, but the lady insisted on bringing me to them, I have no idea why. It wasn’t until I ‘was handed over’ to my family that I found out why. Although I think that was a conversation for adults. Because the woman and my aunt and uncle spoke in hushed tones so I could not hear. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back-up to the beginning.
It was a beautiful morning when I woke up. And it was Friday - the last day of school. The day every kid dream of and begins counting the days until it happens. My mom and dad were already downstairs waiting for me so we could have breakfast. After we had breakfast, they both drove me to school, and I jumped out waving to them as I headed to my awaiting friends. As my friends and I headed into the building I looked back one more time seeing my parent's waving goodbye. Unfortunately, that would be the last time I would see them alive.
At some time during the early afternoon, they were out and about running errands when they were side swiped and didn’t make it. It was also about that time our class was having an end of the year party and I was collecting names, numbers and addresses of my friends so we could stay in touch over the long three months apart.
Not wanting to ruin my day after school instead of my parents picking me up it was a cop car and a woman whom I’ve never laid eyes on. That day I’m sure I was the talk of the school yard. And summer for years to come.
As my friends and I stepped from the building we saw the officers, cop cars and a woman whom we assumed was a case worker waiting for some juvenile delinquent as they were leaving. No one suspected it would be me they were waiting for. And I’m no delinquent. In fact I’ve never been in trouble a day in my life.
As we got closer to the cops and woman, one of the officers moved closer to me. “Ms. Jamie Carter?”
“Yes?” I answered questionably.
“We need to have a word with you.”
I said bye to my friends, and we separated. While they headed to their happy homes, I headed to regions unknown.
“What’s this about, where are my parents?”
It was at that moment out of the corner of my eye I saw the woman step closer to me. And as I waited for the answer, I stepped to the side trying to avoid her attempts of comfort. I mean I know she thought she was comforting me, and it was her job, but she didn’t know me or what I had been through during my childhood. There was a time to mourn and a time to not mourn, and this was the time to not mourn.
“Well, they were hit by a car and didn’t make it.”
“Did they suffer?”
“No,” he said, trying to bring me comfort and that I accepted.
“So now what’s going to happen to me?”
“We were able to get a hold of your aunt and uncle and they will be your legal guardians.”
As sad as I was hearing my parents died, I was happy that Aunt Janice and Uncle Greg would be my guardians. Most kids who lose their parents aren’t that lucky. So now that you are caught up we are in an airplane getting ready to go to my new home.
So now you are caught up to where I am. In an airplane being babysat as I head for a new home and new chapter in my life.
To keep from going crazy I pulled out the coloring book and crayons and began coloring a random page. It was on teddy bears and rainbows. Okay, I can do this. Besides there are blank pages and I can draw what I want on those. And that’s where I focused after I colored multicolored bears and rainbows. When I finished, I glanced over and saw this woman clearly engrossed in her book. Not wanting her to think something was wrong, I turned back to my book.
Not thinking anything, I turned the page and saw a family of bears and suddenly it hit me, even these bears are lucky they have a mom and dad. After a minute I closed the book and put everything back in the bag. And reclined back.
“You okay?” The woman asked
“Yea just want to rest my eyes, it was a lot to take in today.”
“Okay dear, I’ll let you know when we are close.”
“Thank you,” I said as my eyes closed and I drifted away.
No sooner did I close my eyes did it seem she was nudging me awake.
“Jamie, we’re almost here.” Her quiet voice said as she rubbed my arm.
“Mom?” I said out of habit, but when I opened my eyes and focused, I almost started crying. “Oh sorry.” I said now sitting up and looking out the window.
“That’s okay, are you okay?”
Turning back to the woman I smiled, “Yea, I’m fine,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.” and laughing nervously.
” A huh” The woman said not believing me but couldn’t really force me to say anything either. Besides we were almost at my aunt and Uncles so Once in their care I’d never have to see her again,”
“The captain has turned on the seat belt sign as we are making our final approach.”
And with that the conversation ended and the two began to prepare to land.
Within minutes the plane had landed and was pulling up to the gate and parking. Finally, the doors were opened, and everyone began gathering their things and leaving the plane. Finally, it was our turn to get off and go find my family. I hope they were just as anxious and happy to see me as I will be them.
Once we got off the plane and walked into the airport, we were almost swallowed by a sea of people all trying to get from one place to another. The instant I entered the airport I began looking for my aunt and uncle and immediately saw my aunt as she was hurrying to the gate.
“Aunt Janice!” I called as I waved my arms and tried to break free and head to her. And I did for a split second before the woman grabbed my shoulder just as my aunt and I touched.
“Jamie It’s so great to see you.” She said as she pulled me in for a hug. Instantly the woman let go recognizing her job had ended.
As my aunt was hugging me a man approached us before focusing on the social worker. He spoke first “Thank you for accompanying our niece and safely bringing her to us.”
“Oh, you're welcome, I am glad we could rejoin her with family instead of people she didn’t know. That’s always so hard on children.”
“I agree, we’ll if there is nothing else we need to do to make it final, I think we are going to take her home.” He said, smiling at the woman.
“No, everything is legal, in fact here are the final guardianship papers.” She said, handing him the envelope.
“Thank you.” And with that he turned still holding the manila envelope and hugged both his wife and niece as they began walking toward the front entrance of the airport.
Before they walked out of the airport Jamie looked back and saw the woman just standing there. Suddenly the social worker was standing there alone looking around as if she was lost with no one to care for or nowhere to go. She watched families and friends embracing as they joyfully united after getting off the plane.
With nowhere to go, or anyone to look after, her time was now her own and she decided to exit the airport and explore the town for which she was now the stranger.