By Sasha Bailey
Dylan is a foster kid trying to make her way in Brooklyn, New York. Dylan’s story offers an intimate look into her life and mind.
One of the best things about me is that I’m self-aware. Aware of it all.
“We should go to your house sometime, that way we can bake together,” Yuna said.
I stopped walking and stared at her. Her eyes narrowed. “O-or if that doesn’t work for you, I guess we could always hang out at mine… but my kitchen isn’t exactly the nicest.” She trailed off.
“Yeah, maybe so,” I said, walking faster. We walked in an awkward silence to the subway station. She doesn’t know so why am I reacting like this? Should I apologize?
“Well… uh, see you tomorrow. Get home safe.” She gave me a weak smile before disappearing into the crowded subway. The doors closed between us leaving me standing like an idiot in the middle of the empty platform. I adjusted my backpack and stood up straighter. Dylan, you’re simply terrible.
You know it’s getting bad when you’d rather stay at school than go home. In the blistering cold and strong wind, I walked through the streets of (add neighborhood name?) Brooklyn. I’ve been here for over 3 years, longer than I’ve been at any other place. It took me a while to adjust to the less than spacious apartment in the bustling city, but I’ve gotten more comfortable than I’d like to admit. Sure, it is a stark contrast to my previous home, opulent and reeking of old money, but it had more personality. The decorations and overall vibe made it feel like an actual home. Back in Long Island, things were very different. Sure, there were less foster kids at the house and two parents, but it felt hollow. The tall ceilings weren’t made for your average wall decor and the floorboards were so creaky at times that I’d tip toe around. Although the furniture in my room had been bought especially for me and my walls were decorated with photos of the things I loved, none of it felt like it belonged to me. I knew I was lucky to land in a home that had everything I needed, but at the same time, I hoped I never ended up somewhere like that again.
I creaked open the front door of my apartment, making sure it didn’t slam behind me. The entryway was dark, the hall light dimmer than usual. Shoes were scattered on the floor, a pair I didn’t recognize among them. Another man? That was fast. It was then that I noticed the faint light in the kitchen. Who is that… I walked hesitantly through the short hallway, preparing for the worst. I told Maureen about keeping her one night stands away from us kids, but she never listened—I stopped in my tracks. It was just Andrew, one of the only kids in the home I could actually tolerate, sitting at the island, the light from his laptop and the overhead was the only thing illuminating the room.
He lowered his screen as if he was hiding something.
“What are you doing…?”
“Why do you even bother trying to lie to me?“
“Fine, fine,” he said. “I’m doing research.”
“Why do you ask so many questions?” he said.
“Why do you avoid all my questions?” I grabbed the laptop and turned it towards me.
What the hell?
“She’s sending me away!?” I yelled.
“Shut up!” he hissed, covering my mouth with his hand. “You’re not supposed to know about this. Did you forget you’re attempting not to get caught right now sneaking home?”
I pushed his hand away, glaring at him. I didn’t want to argue because he was right.
“She should’ve given me more notice…” I trailed off.
“You’re lucky you even found out. You’re welcome.”
I rolled my eyes and scrolled down the page. My heart was doing backflips as I thought about all the worst possible scenarios. I didn’t think I had the mental capacity to adjust to another family.
“Are you even listening?” Andrew said, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I’m sorry, I’m just not sure I can do this again.”
I originally wrote this piece more than two years ago. It started as just one scene that doesn’t make an appearance in the final piece, but 100% inspired it. I tend to pull a lot from my own personal experiences when writing but this story was a little different. Although this part doesn’t touch entirely on the experiences of foster children, I still wanted to portray it as best as I could. I wanted Dylan to be a relatable character who wasn’t always so positive and optimistic, just like so many people.
Sasha Bailey is a junior fine arts major in high school. Her favorite things in life are dance, music, film and just about any other form of art or self expression. Her favorite stories are those of the unheard and underrepresented. She enjoys developing meaningful stories and characters.