Photo by Mary Engelbreit
In this excerpt from An Accidental Life, a young girl tries to adjust to foster care.
Savannah sat on the ruffled bedspread in her new room, taking in the general frilliness of the space. What little fantasyland have these people come from? she wondered, as she observed how everything coordinated, down to the last little ruffle. All the framed prints were of Victorian images: small children with golden hair and long, sweeping gowns; young ladies and proper gentlemen strolling along a riverbank; and sweet little babies with golden curls, swaddled in blankets. That last was almost like a slap in the face! What insanity had allowed these people to blithely and innocently place her in this room, as if she would be pleased by her surroundings.
Shuddering, she closed her eyes and thought about the past several hours. She had been here for a couple of weeks, now, and because it was too late in the season to start summer school, her new idiot foster parents, Vee and Garrett Moore, had accompanied her downtown to a substance abuse evaluation, special order of Ms. Molly Atkinson. They had told her that her “case plan” would include this “assessment,” and that it was all very important to her goal of reunifying with her baby.
She had sat there facing the young woman…A tough cookie named Sophia Vreeland…and listened to her questions. She had tried to answer honestly, but each question aroused her suspicions and she had to wonder what answer would be the right one. How did she know she wouldn’t be cutting her own throat? Sophia had questioned her endlessly and sometimes she seemed to be asking the same things in different ways. Trying to trick her. But Savannah had persisted in trying to stay focused. It wasn’t that easy.
Not once in the last couple of weeks had she heard from Blake. She knew that the foster parents might be blocking his calls. But she also remembered the last time she’d seen him, and that cold way he had driven off, leaving her in front of the A-frame cottage all alone.