Usually an indoor plant will bend and twist to find the direction with the most sun, but not the plant in Ada's room. All of its leaves were turned toward her bed which was in the darkest corner, and the place she spent most of her free time listening to music.
When she first came to live with her foster parents, Dave and Carla, the plant was almost dead with sagging branches and shriveled leaves. Ada poured a cup of water into the soil and watched it greedily absorb the liquid. If people were more like plants, quiet and simple, then none of this would have happened she thought touching the fleshy leaves.
Ada was happy about leaving. She'd been preparing for it the last couple of months. Carla stood in the open doorway watching to make sure she didn't steal anything. There wasn't much to take except a single bed and a small dresser. Ada smiled at the thought of pretending to pull the bed toward the door, but her smile quickly faded when she saw Carla's suspicious glare.
Pushing Carla any further wasn't an option. She just might make good on all of the threats of beating her grateful.Unlike the last foster home, Ada had really tried to make an effort with Dave and Carla, but by the end of the first month it was war. Carla with her boxes of wine and evenings in front of the TV, and Dave always walking in on Ada while she was in the bathroom, and then apologizing as he groped her with his eyes; it was destined for failure. She zipped her canvas bag and sat her backpack on top of it.
"Carla!" Dave yelled from the kitchen. "Come here."
"You stay right in this room," she snarled.
Ada waited until the foot steps were gone and then opened the window and lowered the plant carefully to the ground. At least it would have a chance. Outdoors in Seattle, it was certain not to dehydrate. She grabbed her things and went to wait for Gretchen on the front porch. Gretchen was, for as long as Ada could remember, her disgruntled social worker.
Ada stopped in the living room to take in her artwork. In velvety black paint, on the biggest wall in the living room, Ada had drawn an enormous skull and crossbones encircled by all of the words Carla regularly screamed at her. She smiled noticing the streaks of deep red that surfaced in the black. It wasn't easy getting the red to show up, and she was glad she wasn't going to be around when Carla found the pasta pan she had used to mix the paint in. At around three in the morning, after her drunken stupor, Carla woke up and discovered Ada's project. Despite the time, she called Gretchen and demanded that she pick Ada up immediately.
Gretchen was always complaining of her workload being enough for two, so she came at her own pace, but always showed up. Ada had barely been sitting on the front step five minutes when Gretchen's silver sedan pulled in. As she reached down to grab her bags the screen door opened behind her. She turned around to see Dave and Carla standing in the doorway.
Ada paused and then looked directly at Dave."You should have your lungs checked."
"Get out!" they both yelled.
"Freak." Dave grumbled under his breath.
She walked away with a sense of satisfaction knowing that eventually, probably when it was too late, they would think of her again. She settled into Gretchen's car ready for the "burned all bridges" lecture. Ada always had one headphone plugged into her ear.
"I don't get it Ada, you're a pretty girl, intelligent and people generally like you, when they first meet you that is, but instead you dress like you don't care, you do stupid things to get yourself kicked out of school or your home, and you say the damndest things that just piss people off."
She pulled the car to the side of the road and turned toward Ada. "This is serious business this time."
Ada was looking at her black T-shirt and jeans wondering how they could be construed as not caring.
"How can you hear with this always crammed in your ear?" Gretchen yanked the headphone out.
"The background music makes crappy conversations like this bearable," Ada said putting the headphone back in.
Too bad her left headphone was blown, otherwise she would have completely blocked out Gretchen.
"You're fifteen-years-old now, not a cute little kid anymore. Unless we can get ahold of your aunt, they are going to send you straight to juvenile hall. Not even the group home this time."
She waved her hand in front of Ada who was staring in a daze out the window. "Hello!"
It had started to drizzle and drops of water were gathering then unraveling into tiny streams down the glass.
"This book deeply touches my
heart, as it addresses feelings that a young
woman would have of wondering how best to fit into a world full of people
who would seek to possess or control..." —Reality Shifters