The story of Ruth DeWitt.
|I’LL BE GOOD, I PROMISE
I looked up at the entrance to the institution, my step mother by my side. “I want you to get better Ruth. I know you don’t want to be here, but your father and I think its best.” She said. I know that what I had done to her was horrible, but I didn’t know that it would have come to this. I’ll tell you what I had done. One day, I think it was in the end of January, mama wanted me to have tea with her, and I said no. I didn’t think anything of it, but then she began to yell at me saying “You’ll never be a proper young lady if you do not have tea. Come young lady, come now!” I walked into the parlor, where she was sitting, waiting for me. “Oh no, you need to change. You need to wear your pinny.” My pinafore, oh how I hate it. The woman makes me wear that god awful piece of clothing AND a corset. She can be such a burden to me, stifling whatever creativity I may have.
That day I had had enough, and I mouthed off to her; “What did you say?” was all she had said in reply. She looked at me, and I suddenly grew frightened, out of instinct I struck her. I didn’t mean to strike her, and I cried out after I had done it. She sent me to my room without supper. I guess after that I had somewhat of a temper tantrum, I know, I know I’m thirteen years old and I’m still having a temper tantrum; I can’t help that sometimes. I remember her coming to my room later that night and sitting on my bed. My younger sister was getting ready to sleep when mama came in. I was still awake and hungry. I wanted to eat, but there was no such luck to be had. By now, tears were streaming down my cheeks; “If you’ll be a good girl then you can leave your room in the morning.” is all she said. I never felt so dejected. All I wanted was for her to love me, and I couldn’t even get her to say that she did, it hurt me.
When I woke that next morning, I found mama getting my traveling clothes ready. Why was I to be traveling? I did find my corset laced tighter than normal. “You need help Ruth.” Is all she said that morning. There was no “Good morning Ruth, I trust that you slept well?” no “Are you hungry Ruth?” nothing. I remember how papa looked so sad that morning, like there was something going on. I ate a light breakfast that morning, still hungry after finishing it. I looked outside, it was snowing. “Where are we going mama?” I asked her. She didn’t reply. That was the thing that worried me most. As we left the house, I noticed that we were going to the train station. “I’d like to purchase two tickets for the Broadacres Line, one of those is round trip, the other a one way please.” She had told the ticket agent. Broadacres, isn’t that the children’s asylum? I was not mentally unfit. Why do I need to go there? I’m a good child. At least I think I am, my sister, well she might need a little work, but that’s another matter.
As we boarded the train I wanted to hesitate, but mama just nudged me to continue. “Sit Ruth.” She told me. I muttered something under my breath, she appeared not to notice. As we crossed the Peter River, I saw the massive complex of buildings. I began to grow fearful and restless as we slowed down to enter the station. As we stopped, mama motioned for me to get out of my seat. She helped me with my coat and hat, pinning it through my hair. “There, now you look presentable.” She said. I hated it, it seemed that every time I wanted to go somewhere I had to wear that dopey hat, or had to have a muff around my hands, like I’d really need that stupid thing where I’m going. The snow swirled around me as I walked beside her to the entrance of the hospital. My odyssey had begun, and I sure as hell was not going to take it lying down.