The Back Seat | Short Story

Eleven years, nine homes and nine different families all ending with me in the back seat of Macey’s car. Macey was my youth aid, she found families she thought would suit me and my needs best, yet she was always the one who would be there when they didn’t work out.
“Lena come on, tell me what is up.” said Macey.
I was silent, determined to not speak to her. For someone who knew me so well she really had no clue on who I needed by my side.
“Lena you can’t keep quiet the whole drive, come on tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”
She was right, it was a four hour drive back to Auckland and I needed to tell her how awful it was. I needed to tell her how controlling they were or how they used to ignore me unless we were out, like I was an accessory. Instead I had settled with, “They’re okay, they didn’t talk much.”
“Is that it? They didn’t talk much.? Lena come on you were there for four months, something must have happened for you to call me. Please Lena just …” Macey let out a long sigh, as if she had been holding her breath all her life. “Just don’t shut me out again Lena.”
“They just weren’t the ones, okay?” I couldn’t tell her just how unhappy, I’d felt like one of the lost boys from Neverland. I knew she wouldn’t take it well, Macey was sensitive, she was like a moth to the light, curious enough to ask or get close but too fragile to stay. At times I had to question what really drove her to become a youth aid, even more so what made her want to be my youth aid? She treated me like her daughter and always looked out for me.

We drove through Pureora forest and all I could see was the dull pastures and the way that they moulded into the forest row after row as if they were meant to reside by one another. My mum was from here, that’s all I really know about her, I don’t have a name nor a memory of her. The town had no more than 1,280 people and I felt envious that these people who were strangers to me would have known more about her than I did. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was where she ran to when she had left. I’d often think of all the places she could have gone and the people she would meet but this place of all had made the most sense. I missed her, I couldn’t remember what she looked like or the way she spoke, I was only three years old when she had left me, I don’t know who my dad is either, I was told he had left before I was born.

Against the backdrop of night I always found Auckland City to be captivating. The bold lights scattered through the city as if to replace the stars. People lurked through streets from all walks of life, dragging their confessions behind them linked one after the other hoping to leave them in their wake, would this be me or am I destined to wander the streets at night alone with nobody to confide in? Would I ever truly find my place? I had so many questions racing in my mind but the most prominent and most asked was who is she?

The group house greeted me as a old friend, even though I knew Daniel awaited for me behind the closed door I couldn’t help but feel a sense of belonging which seemed to be a rare feeling in my concise life.

“I’ve done all I can Lena, but you have to try too!” His voice was a whirlwind of anger and disappointment. Daniel was our house leader, he helped all the kids that walked through his door as best as he could so for him to tell me he’d done all he could do was devastating.
“What do you mean? You obviously haven’t because I am still here! I am still alone.”
“Oh Lena sweetie, you aren’t alone. You will always have us, I’m sorry please try to understand.” Macey always tried to reassure me but not this time. I felt broken, as if the sheer hope I had held on to all these years had just wiltered away. My knuckles were white and and my face red with rage, the walls screamed my echoed cries back at me, tears clouded my eyes and I hit the ground as if I was drawn to it. This was it then, I was destin-.
“Lena we found your mother.” Daniel was so abrupt it was if his words reached out and slapped me, my face was a canvas of emotions not knowing which to paint. He got down on the floor next to me and rested his hand on my shoulder and looked to Macey.
“Macey, this has gone on long enough! Look at what you have put her through” Daniel was furious. How was this Macey’s fault? She has done nothing but help.
“Lena darling, I am so sorry.” I’d never seen Macey so worked up, you could hear her quiver and quake.
“Lena it’s me.” Macey couldn’t look me in the eyes. What was her? Confusion took over and a pit formed in my stomach.
“I was just so young and I wasn’t ready for a baby, neither was your father. I tried. I really did but I couldn’t face telling you the truth.” this time Macey looked me straight in the eyes. Was this right? Did my ears deceive me or have I finally met my mother?

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The Back Seat | Short Story

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