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Broken Love Story (Love 3) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:53:35

“Hey.” Crystal walks to her, whispering, “You hungry?” Hailey looks around the room at the table that my parents set, then spots the brown paper bag on the counter. She turns on her feet, going straight to the brown bag. My eyes find Crystal, and we both take a big inhale.

The sound of the crinkling bag fills the silence of the room as the four of us stand, waiting for her to fall. Waiting to catch her.

Opening the bag, she takes out his watch first, and looking at it causes the sobs to rip out of her. She brings the watch to her nose to smell it, her other hand gripping the counter for support. I step forward but stop when she sets it down. I don’t see what she brings out next because the tears block my vision.

“This isn’t his.” She turns to us, showing us a black iPhone. “His phone was white.”

Crystal walks over to her, this time to help her stand. “Maybe it was put in there by mistake. Here, let me plug it in, and we can see who the phone belongs to.” She grabs it from her and walks over to the wall charger, plugging it in.

Hailey finally finds his phone. Running her fingers over it, she closes her eyes as tears drip off her chin, almost as if you left the faucets running. “We took this picture last week after he got home. He was gone for a month this time. It was the longest he was ever away.” She looks up at us, the hollowness almost too much to bear. “How did this happen?” She looks at each of us separately as she waits for an answer. My mom and I are brushing our own tears off our face when the buzzing on the counter starts.

Hailey walks over to the phone and picks it up. Her face goes white, whiter than it was, her lips almost turning an ash. Her hands start shaking, shaking so much the phone slips out of her hand and lands right in front of her feet, the screen shattering. Little did we know that shatter would change the path of everyone’s life.

“Let’s go, guys, or we are going to miss the bus!” I yell up the stairs toward my girls, Liz, who is eight, and Daisy, who is five.

“The bus is going to be here in two minutes!” I yell again, walking back to the kitchen and picking up my now cold cup of coffee.

I pick up my phone to check for any missed calls or messages, and the only thing that greets me is the picture we took two months ago. Our four happy smiling faces when Eric and I had just found out we were expecting baby number three.

While I sat on the toilet in our bathroom, a whole mix of emotions coursed through me. I always wanted a big family. Doesn’t everyone who is born in the system wish for everything they didn’t have?

I never had a mother; I never had a father. I never had siblings; I never got into a fight with my sister because she borrowed my clothes and didn’t tell me or vice versa. My parents were out there somewhere, or maybe they weren’t. I had no idea.

My mother was a crack addict. I know that for sure because I was born a crack baby, which is the reason I didn’t get adopted right away. No one wanted the burden of the extra care; no one wanted to be the parents to “that baby.”

So although I grew up and the crack left my system, I was never adopted.

Foster parents weren’t willing to take me either. Nope, I was the lucky one who was always in the group home for unwanted kids. I kept my head down, and my mind on the prize. The prize that when I turned eighteen, I would leave that roach-infested home and be able to create my own perfect life.

The day I turned sixteen, I got a job at the local diner. I busted my fucking ass to work and maintain a GPA of three point five. When college came around, I knew that if I didn’t qualify for assistance, I would never be able to attend. With rent and all that, I knew I couldn’t do it. That was the first time in my life I regretted ever being born. Although my GPA was high enough to be accepted, the fact that I had no money coming in meant that the loan was denied. So after sobbing into my pillow for a straight six hours while I asked God why he hated me so much, I got my journal out and made a plan. I would graduate; it would just take me a long fucking time. I would take two courses a semester, and eventually, I would graduate and become a social worker.