The Forest

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

Not a word was uttered when the solemn doctor came out to make official what everyone already expected. Not a word was spoken between Sam and his mom the entire week that followed. She went back to work and Sam returned to school the following Tuesday.  Everyday he came home to an empty, stale smelling house, and starred at an empty flowered chair, knitting needles still stuffed into her last project, in a basket, on the floor, right beside it.

Sam wanted so much for the glass ceiling to break, and that the eery sense that something more ominous was coming would shatter and reveal just an overactive imagination. He could not shake it. But in his world, the worst things came true. In his world, there was no alternative option. In his world, there was no escaping the dregs.  After his mom told his dad over the phone that Nana had passed away, he listened at a distance from the receiver, as his father cried for a full hour, and watched his mom stare at the floor with barely a glistening in her eyes. How he hated his mom for that, just then, like she had never been cruel before, never lost her temper before, had never hit him before. He was so angry with her, not for anything in the past, but for what he witnessing while she was on the phone with his broken hearted dad.

Getting starred at at school took on a whole new meaning. Before, he was convinced that most of the kids were not kind, even prejudice, except for maybe one or two that were outsiders like himself, but now he was convinced that every child at his junior high school walked around him without hearts inside their chest. No concept, or care, as to what had taken place. Only occasionally would he see a neighbour with a sad expression and a weak smile. He wanted so much to tell someone all what he was feeling and thinking, but the words, again, were locked inside his mouth.

"I am sending you to live with your Uncle Emery for awhile."

Sam had to look up from his instant mashed potatoes that were thrown together onto his plate, with a side of hotdogs and canned green beans,  to actually believe what he had just heard from the other side of the table.  It was a mild late spring Saturday evening, after living through the hardest week of his life. His grandmother had been buried the night before, and all of her friends brought condolences, gifts, flowers and letters of encouragement that morning. He wept again for all that lay buried in the ground. Surely, he thought, things must start looking up, only now for them to suddenly make an instant slide further down. His Uncle? The Great Uncle on his mother's side that looked after foster kids?

"B...b...but," Sam could not believe what he was hearing.

Mona centered her gaze on her son, but anger was not written all over it, just deep distress and sadness. "It will only be for the summer, or until I work something out," she deflectingly shovelled a dollop of white clouds into her mouth but chewed it in an uncomfortable fashion, "you can't stay here all summer by yourself, Sam." She pursed her lips swallowing the gluey texture hard.

Sam's head was suddenly in a swirl of anger and panic. He barely knew his Uncle Emery. He could see nothing positive about moving to Virginia, at all. To move in with a bunch of orphans, to fall under the care of a virtual stranger, this could not be happening!

"N..n NO!" Sam could not contain himself. He pushed himself back from the table, knocking over the chair, "I...I WON'T GO!"

"SAM!" his mom's voice followed him as he ran out the back sliding glass door, straight for an unknown destination. His feet carrying him further and further with the consuming momentum of frustration and anger.

The forest behind their neighbourhood looked good enough to hide in, and right in the middle of it, he landed in a heap.

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