i’m julie and i’m 14, my world is turning around and i feel like im slipping into crazy like a snap of my fingers. im a spinning top, out of control, like all my colors mixed together: the colors green, yellow, red, orange, so fast yet i can see the the colors like the threads in my brain have gotten twisted and i can’t untwist them. i stopped speaking a few weeks ago, mom and dad been beating me, they were drinking all the time and throwing glasses across the room that shattered like angry chimes, i’ve been pretty much taking care are of myself for a long time now.
i ran away a few days ago and im not sure they even know i’m missing. i brought only my secret box that i’ve had since i was a child. i keep my favorite top, a letter from my brother, brian, a seashell, red fish candy, and my flashlight that makes me feel safe.
mom and dad once let me play with their bright colored pills like they were marbles on the old, scratched wooden dining room table. i got smacked real bad when they saw i scratched my name and brian’s and a heart on the table. i had big red welts all over my body. cops came and brian and i were sent away for a few days but then we had to go home. i miss my older brother brian but he went to college a long time ago, wherever that neighborhood is. i still write him a lot but he doesn’t answer me.i thought he loved me for real like i loved him.
nobody knows this secret room, except brian. we found it many years ago but we didn’t tell anyone. my stomach makes noise and i eat a graham cracker and suck on it slowly and i have a bottle of water. daddy hits both mama and me a lot, he hits me with a belt and i’m never sure why. it hurts too much.
i fell asleep, cuz my head was hurting so bad, i thought i heard voices coming towards me so i hid extra special deep. ever since mama burned my hand on purpose on the stove the nice lady visited, she said she was finding me a new home but not if she couldn’t find me. i was shaking so hard i couldn’t stop. she left but some hours later i heard footsteps again but not hers, unless she changed her clickety -clack shoes.
it was late and someone walked right next to my exact hiding place. i got ice cold with fear. i heard breathing, right down low where the secret lock was and i heard someone say my name, i was terrified, what if it was daddy again? “Julie, honey, it’s Brian, your brother, no one else is here, just me. I promise. Please come out.” i wasn’t sure if it was a trick so i stayed. He softened his voice, barely a whisper and said “Julie, it’s Brian, I swear. Please come out Julie I came here as soon as I found out, I’ve been looking for you for years. I’m so sorry sweet Julie, I just got your letters because I moved a few times, but the second I got them, I flew down here and called the police on mom and dad. I swear Juls, I have never lied to you before, have I?
“Julie, he whispered, I’m going to prove it to you with a letter, ok? Read it, tell me what you think”he slipped the letter by the one opening that was very narrow. i looked at the letter and it was some legal paper that said i was going to stay with brian and his wife deborah. brian had gotten married? and he was my legal guardian now. is it true? i asked brian. “Yes, it’s true, you goofball, now get out of there, come with me and give me a big hug.” So I crawled out and Brian picked me up and we hugged for a long time. We were both crying too and he said he had to fatten me up. He told me to pack my things, we were never going to come back here. our old mom and dad were in jail. Tonight we were staying in a hotel (a real hotel) and i asked him if I could jump on the bed. Tomorrow we were flying to my new home, Deborah would be my new mom but I could call her Debbie if i wanted to and the best news yet, I was going to be a big sister!
i thought i should tell brian that i was feeling crazy before, real crazy and he laughed, he said he felt the same way when he was with mom and dad, they were bad people and did bad things. he promised if i still felt crazy he would take me to a doctor but as soon as he said it, i looked up at him and grinned. the next thing he said was, “Darn, I’m hungry, let’s go somewhere to eat, sis.” and wasn’t that the nicest thing in the world to hear.