--I JUST WANTED TO KNOW IF IT WAS A CHOICE
I am six and I am sad and I am on an airplane by myself because Mother has sent me away again, this time to Uncle Daryl’s farm in North Dakota where there are more cows than people and where Uncle Daryl will make me cut my hair, put on overalls and tell me, Toughen up, Little Shit, even though I am six and a girl.
The lady, Susan, with the blue uniform and name tag seems nice and I want to ask her if she’s a mother and if she ever sends her children away whenever she bring a man over for a long stay, but I’m too shy and nervous and my stomach is growling like the mean black lab the neighbors have and I’m worried the fat-bellied man next to me will hear. I don’t want him to notice my stomach sounds or me at all but he keeps stealing looks at me whenever I open up my Anne of Green Gables book. I don’t know much but I know it’s best to stay away from men because a lot of them are bad men who want things they shouldn’t. The fat-bellied man is so large his thick, hairy forearms are almost over in my seat, same as his gut which is pushing hard against his shirt buttons. If he touches me for real or even says anything I am going to scream until the lady, Susan, comes.
I have seventy-five dollars rolled up inside my knee highs. Ten of it came from Mother and the rest from Pop Pop, my granddad who likes to call me Fruit Loop and pat my bottom. I’ve never had so much money in my life and it makes me nervous though I am rich now and should be feeling on top of the world.
From my window seat I can see the land below so flat and neatly scarred up, laying there like the stretched out animal hides Mother’s last boyfriend had hanging in the basement where all the crates of puppies were lined up one after the other, cute puppies mewling like they wanted out in a hurry, which I couldn’t blame them.
I don’t understand how airplanes work, all these people on board, all this weight lifted up into the sky, but then I don’t understand a lot of things like why I haven’t started first grade or why Mother calls me “special” then laughs and laughs, especially when she’s drunk, which is most of the time.
The lady, Susan, comes down the aisle and asks if everything’s all right, so I nod and try to make my lips grin, though I’m not sure if it works. She says we’re going to land soon, which makes me even more nervous.
I look out the little door window again and find a cloud that looks like a floating elephant. I give it the special power of granting wishes and I cheat and make it grant me one and so now I know it’s okay to get a cab at the airport instead of calling Uncle Daryl as I’ve been instructed to do. I’ll be strong and sure for once and tell the cabbie to take me to a place where they treat little girls nice. I’ll give him a big tip if he does. Then when I get there I’ll show the kind people some of my scars. I’ll tell how I got them. I’ll tell them all the other stuff, too, even if it makes me cry. Then I’ll say, “I’m not ever going back,” and I’ll really mean it this time.