|Observations Only : The orphanage|
|March 17, 2012 Nina Betz|
Nina Betz, Contributing Columnist
The door opens into a room that is bigger than any church I’ve ever seen. My eyes widen at the sight of sparkly things hanging over our heads that seem to twinkle at me like the stars I see at night when I’m in our quilt bed beside Foy and Corie, pretending to be asleep.
I was supposed to listen to the new lady talk to Foy about what they’re going to do with us but then I noticed the fat chairs covered with fuzzy stuff that look wonderful to sleep in. I wanted to whisper about them to Foy but the new lady was tugging on my hand, drawing me away from her down a long hallway past a lot of closed doors.
I looked back at Foy and caught a last glimpse of her blue dress that mama made out of an old shirt; she didn’t turn around and wave at me like always. My stomach feels all wriggly again; I don’t mind too much when mama and daddy leave us ‘cause I always have Foy with me, but she’s gone too, and I don’t know where or how to find her.
Before I can think about this, the new lady opens a door to a room smelling of cooked food and full of tables and chairs of different sizes. I’m left standing by the door while the lady goes into the kitchen to talk to a dark lady about me. I pretend not to care but listen anyway.
“This the little gal I was told to look after?” the dark lady asks, staring at me and sounding mad.
“She just came in, so she’s probably hungry, some soup and bread should set easy on her stomach,” said Mrs. Green. “I was told that it was quite an ordeal to get the three girls into the car. The middle one threw a huge fit and tried to bite, so I imagine this one’s upset at being separated from her sisters,” she added. “Don’t give her a bath tonight, there’s time for that when she’s settled down some,” instructs Mrs. Green.
“Yes Ma’am,” mutters the other lady.
“Nina, this nice lady is Mrs. Washington; she’ll show you where you can sleep tonight and I’ll see you in the morning,” she says, motioning for me to join them in the kitchen.
“Well then, I’ll just leave the two of you to get acquainted,” says Mrs. Green before cheerfully slipping out of the kitchen, leaving me alone with a stranger even bigger than the fat ladies at the churches.
“Do you like beef stew,” she asks, striking a match to light the burner under a pot.
“Uh, huh,” I mumble.
“Why you’re all legs. We’ll just have to fatten you up,” she laughs, lifting me onto a high stool.
“Child, you sure got pretty brown hair; with them green eyes and that white skin, you’ll be a real looker when you get growed up,” she says, ladling soup into a bowl and setting it down in front of me.
“Where’s your family,” she asks, sitting down next to me and propping her elbows on the table.
I pick up my spoon, but before I can take a bite, I notice the soup. The floating white lumps in the water look like rocks. Next to them are little orange and green things floating around with some bits of brown stuff.
“I asked you a question child. If you’re gonna get along around here you’ve got to pay attention when you’re spoken to,” she snaps.
“Now, where’s your family?” she asks loudly.
“I don’t know,” I mumble, starting to cry, losing my appetite.
“Ssh, don’t cry honey, you’ll wake the other children,” she chides.
“You haven’t finished your soup. Well let’s get you tucked into bed,” she says, setting the dishes in the sink.