in my own words...
I have to keep believing that my parents loved
me. I know that I haven't seen them in years, but what mother or father
couldn't love their own child? I know that we had a hard time when I was
growing up, but they were doing everything though could to make it. I'm
not really sure my parents ever loved each other, though. I was born only a couple
of months after they got married, so I'm sure they only married because they had
to. Momma was always looking at the fashion magazines and society pages
and would talk about how wonderful it must be to get to wear fancy clothes and
attend luxurious parties. She would talk about how she almost had a shot
at living that life before I was born, but she had to marry my father and then I
came along and her dream disappeared. I always thought that she resented
my existence because of it. Then one day she was gone.
Daddy never told me exactly what had
happened. I just came home from school one day and he said that Mom had
left us and would never be coming back. I only found out later that she
had run off with a salesman who had come to town. I never understood how
she could leave her own daughter. I used to lie in bed at night and cry
for her to come home. Daddy would come in a wipe my tears and tell me that
we only had each other and that we'd be okay. I actually started to
believe him after a while.
Daddy was a dreamer who never seemed to have a
steady job. He always said that work was something to tide us over until
he found the right deal that would make us rich. At first, his ideas were
exciting and I loved to hear the stories he would tell about how his next plan
would bring us tons of money. It never happened. He kept on scheming
while I gave up on dreaming. We would never wind up any where other than
where we were. I didn't realize that things could actually get worse.
I remember when those men started hanging around
the apartment. They scared me with all their big talk about deals and
plots. I remember the police coming, too, on more than one occasion.
That's how I grew up. Dad's plots started keeping him away from home and I
began to see less and less of him. He was always telling me he was gone
because he was working on ways to make our lives better. The only way my
life could have been better would have been to have him around more. I
still missed my mother but I needed my father. I was growing into
adolescence and I needed someone to talk to. More and more, I was left on
my own. I really didn't believe my father when I told me that he had
finally found the perfect deal to make us rich. He just had to leave town
for a while to do it. When he said he was going to Europe, I was
excited. I had never even been out of the state before, let alone the
country. I was devastated when he announced that I wasn't going with
him. He had already arranged for me to stay with my aunt Annabelle in
Life in Albanyville was better than I thought it
could be. I became very popular in school and grew into a beautiful young
woman. The boys always seemed to be interested in me, but when I wouldn't
give in to their more amorous advances, they would just always disappear.
Finally, I started giving in and they would stick around, but not for
After Daddy left for Europe, I never saw him
again. I don't know why I was surprised. Granted, Annabelle always
told me that he had just called or had sent a letter telling how much he loved
me and that he would be home soon. I never believed her, though. I
knew he hadn't called and I knew he hadn't written. He just completely
forgot about me. I played along with Annabelle because it seemed to make
her feel better if I believed her. I could see the pity she held for
me. I was all alone with no one. I'm grateful to her for taking me
in, but it hasn't been easy for her either. She and my cousin Stephanie
have never been financially well off and here I come along, another person to
take care of. I worked to excel at school and managed to get a scholarship
to Albanyville University after graduation. I've been taking business
classes there. I learned a long time ago that I can't expect anyone to
take care of me, not even my parents. I have to take care of myself.
Now, if I can just find someone who really loves me, everything would be
perfect. Lord knows that apparently my folks didn't.