Mary had repeatedly searched every nook, cranny, crevice and corner retracing her footsteps over and over again as she looked for it. It can’t be gone, it just can’t, so why can’t I find it? She asked herself over and over again.
She knew she’d returned it to her pocket that night in Carters restroom, because she’d looked at it their first night at Angelia’s, then had returned it to a pocket in her jeans.
She had received it on her tenth birthday. The man she’d gotten it from had warned her there would be dire consequences if she was ever caught with it. His exact words had been, “If you’re ever caught with this, you’ll be so severely punished you‘ll wish you were dead, so keep it well hidden and out of sight!” He’d then laughed as though the thought had given him great pleasure.
Now it was gone! What did I do with it? She asked herself repeatedly. What if someone found it and threw it away, no one would know how special or important it was, what if - - - ?
“Stop it!” she said, as she fought a mental battle within. You just stop right now. No one’s been here except Angelia and Michael and they would never do anything to hurt us. Why, they’ve been a blessing and you know it!
Where would we be if not for Angelia? She could have thrown us out into that raging blizzard, the night she found us asleep in her living room, but she took us in and not only fed us, but clothed us as well! Mary told herself sternly as she looked down at the maternity shirt and jeans that fit her better than anything she had ever owned.
Angelia had taken them from the closet in the room where Mary slept. Seeing the questioning look on Mary’s face, she stated only that the clothing belonged to her employer’s daughter, and she was welcome to wear anything she liked in the closet.
Michael could have insisted on taking Billy and Kimmey to the hospital, instead he’d treated them here. If he had persisted, how could I have stopped him? No, they wouldn’t betray us, even if they found it. She told herself firmly.
Still the only-thing she owned, that linked her to her home and family were now gone.
So why hadn’t they returned it to her, if they had found it. She sure hoped they didn’t think she’d thrown it away.
I guess I’d better wait until after dinner to ask Michael if he’s seen it. She thought, as she opened the door to the room Kimmey was occupying.
“Mommy! Mommy! Look at my room! Isn’t it the most beautiful room in the whole wide world?” gushed Kimmey. “And Mommy, the Angel said I could wear any of the clothes in the closet that I wanted too!"
"Look, Mommy, see my pretty ’jamas! Guess what, Mommy! The Angel told me this could be my room. She said, I could look at the books and play with any of the toys that I wanted to play with!"
"It’s so nice here. Are we in heaven, Mommy! Can we stay forever, Mommy?” asked Kimmey, looking expectantly up at her mother.
Kimmey now had roses in her cheeks and looked as if she’d put on a little weight, whereas just a few days ago she had been so very scrawny and sickly. How can I tell her we’re not staying? It’ll break her heart, but we can’t. Mary told herself firmly. I have to find my photo, then we’ll have to continue searching for my family.
“I don’t know about staying for good Kimmey.” Said her mother, “but we’ll be here for a while, how about you put on this robe and come to the table for dinner?”
Billy was in the highchair playing with several toy cars as she entered the room. At the sound of her voice, he said, “You get sick too, Sissy?”
“I was sick, but I’m much better, now,” said Kimmey. She was so happy to see him that even though the highchair tray poked her in the face she give him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“Are you still sick?” she asked Billy, “Maybe if you’re all better you can play in my room after supper, can he Mommy?”
Kimmey, seeing the don‘t go there look on her mother’s face, said to the room at large and no one in particular, “We’ve never had a room all to ourselves before, have we Billy.”
Mary couldn’t decide whether to laugh or to cry at Kimmey’s audacity. She did neither; instead, she picked Kimmey up, gave her a big hug and sat her in a chair at the table.
“We’ll see,” was all she said, as she looked at their excited little faces. This was the first time in their lives, her children had been given anything that they could call their own. Always before they’d had to share everything with the fifty or so other children that resided in children‘s quarters, p-25-c which was the group they had been assigned to at the commune.
Although Mary didn’t want her children to think of the bedrooms as theirs, she just couldn’t break their hearts or crush their joy at being given a room all to themselves, not tonight anyway.
How can I take them away from the very people they’ve grown to love and trust? Can I just yank the only secure home they’ve ever had out from under them? She asked herself. She didn’t know, she only knew they’d have to leave soon. They were becoming too dependent on Angelia and Michael. If she were ever going to find her home, they’d have to leave soon and start the search again.