Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 103: Unloved


Picture 1

Picture 2

Kimmydonn's Choice: Both



When they welcomed her into their house, it was with open arms. Even though Karen had a mother and father, neither were sober enough to care for her, so she was given to the Campbells for foster care. Although they had no children of their own, the Campbells quickly became poster parents, putting Karen in ballet class and gymnastics, starting her in kindergarten.

That was the fateful year, the point at which Karen realized she wasn’t a Campbell, she wasn’t their daughter and never could be. Just after she started school, under her own name of Smith, Rose Campbell became pregnant.

Her new parents tried to assure Karen, telling her she’d have a new brother or sister, but as soon as Isaac was born, Karen knew he wasn’t her brother. Watching her mother nurse the infant, she realized she wasn’t their daughter either. It had all been a lie.

Karen, being six, tried to win their love and attention back in the only ways she knew. She coloured pictures for her new brother on his walls. She tried to help with the dishes and dropped many to the floor. She lurked in her mother’s shadow, constantly asking questions and telling stories.

“Karen! Enough!” Rose shouted at her. “I’m busy with Isaac right now.”

“Don’t yell at her,” Mark Campbell told his wife, reaching out to take the baby. “I can feed him. Why don’t you have a cup of tea?”

“I don’t need a cup of tea. I need one less kid in this house.”

Karen choked and ran. Stopping only long enough to grab her teddy bear, Mr. Cuddles, she ran out of the house and down the street. The weather had been nice when she came home from school, but it was grey and drizzling now. Shivering, damp, and lost, Karen hugged her teddy bear while stumbling farther away from her home.

“There you are!” Screeching tires stopped beside her, spraying her with mist. Rough hands grabbed her and thrust her into the seat, her teddy falling to the ground at her feet. The car peeled away again, leaving Mr. Cuddles behind.

“No! Cuddles!” Karen cried, grabbing at the window.

“What?” Mark asked. “Are you okay?”

“Mr. Cuddles!” Karen wept for her lost stuffy.

“Oh, shit,” Mark muttered turning around. “Don’t cry, sweetie. It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not okay. You don’t love me anymore.”

Mark pulled over and jumped out of the car. The teddy was a bit mud splattered, but he handed it to Karen anyway, crouching beside her open door as the rain grew heavier.

“What did you mean I don’t love you?” Wiping away her tears, he kissed her forehead.

“I’m not your baby,” she wailed. “I’m not Isaac.”

Twisting awkwardly, Mark hugged her in the booster seat. “No, you’re not Isaac. You’re my little girl. My pretty little Karen.” He stroked her hair. “I know we’re only your foster parents, and your parents might come for you, but I hope they don’t. I hope if they do, you’ll still come and visit us.”

“Mom only loves Isaac,” she said, pouting.

“Mom’s very busy with Isaac. She’s also very tired. How would you like to spend the weekend with Grandma? You, me and Isaac. Give Mom a quiet day.”

Karen’s tears slowed and stopped. “Grandma?” she said with hope. Grandma loved her, didn’t she?

“Let’s go home.” Mark circled the car again while Karen hugged Mr. Cuddles tightly.

Rose snatched up Karen as soon as she came through the door held open by Mark. “Thank God,” she murmured, squeezing the tiny girl tightly. “I was so worried. I love you.”

Karen thought her heart would break out of her chest as it swelled. “I love you too, Mom.”