17. Mean

I briefly had a foster sister as a Senior in high school.

Before our sisterhood, she was a half-acquaintance I momentarily connected with and liked. Her dimpled charisma drew me. 

One day, she called me with a faded plead and dreadful story.

She ran away. Her home and family were violent. She sheltered with an older man who let her stay for sex. She dropped out of school, she was fifteen and couldn’t get to school without a driver’s license. 

She cried.  

Long story short, I invited her to my house and asked my parents for help. The foster system registered her paperwork and we applied to be her family with counseling.   

Now, you are thinking I’m nice, even compassionate and giving. Don’t jump to any conclusion.

Turns out, in daily interactions she couldn’t keep a fact straight. Almost everyday, she made sure I heard a fabrication to smear the truth. She was at school but she was playing hooky for a joy ride. She wasn’t dating but was intimately involved with a good friend. She quit smoking. She didn’t drink. She had good grades. She was a virgin, even.  She didn’t have a STD. She could tell me everything. She manufactured stories for drama and allure.

The culmination of our story ended in the emergency room with her histrionic pregnancy. There never was a 12 week old baby, the doctor confirmed.

Then I exhaled my disbelief and accepted a new understanding. Her interior was furnished with wanderings from reality and creations desperate for a different life. I’m certain she wanted to be a better person but had no vocabulary for truth-telling. I’m certain the trauma in her life ran deep and ragged.  I’m sorry that I can’t confidently articulate its nature.

Our relationship deteriorated; I had befriended an expert liar. I searched for the exit door from her drama but sympathy and a desire to prove I’m a good person paralyzed me. She needed a home and I had one. Desperate, I made her invisible. The silence must have tortured her. In hindsight, it makes sense that she morphed into attack.  

She cornered me from a basement shadow with a bold-faced threat: she would ruin my family if I tried to oust her.

That moment pivoted everything. All my emotion for her vanished.

I became mean.     

C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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