His cerulean blue eyes bore into me, like he knew every secret that I had. It was so quiet that I could almost hear the beating of my own heart. Why was I so nervous? This was just old Bill, he didn’t really know all, I scoffed to myself.
My parent’s thought he would talk some sense into me, but I didn’t need anyone to do that. I was doing fine.
Old Bill stoked the fire and didn’t say a word. He hadn’t said a word since I had come and the silence was getting to me. What was keeping me there? I could just get up and leave, but…then he would look at me again and I would freeze.
“Say something, old man! Why the silence? You think I am a loser, right?” I found myself lost again in his cerulean blue eyes. He remained silent,much to my growing frustration.
“Fine, you don’t want to talk, I will. You all think you know me, but you don’t. No one knows nuthin!”
Again he stoked the fire, making the flames dance high. I wished that my soul felt free enough to dance like that. I had been through so much I didn’t know if it was possible anymore.
Bill was chewing on a long piece of licorice and he watched me as he chewed.
“What!! What do you want? You all don’t really want me. I am the hopeless one. Thats what the social worker said when she didn’t think I could hear her. My foster parent’s just took pity on me. I mean they sent me to you, so apparently they are having second thoughts. Wouldn’t be the first time someone has given up on me.”
Where did those words come from? I wasn’t planning to tell him that. I felt a lump growing in my throat. No, this wasn’t happening. I was tough!
“Do you know how many foster families I have been through? People want cute babies, not troubled 14 year olds like me.” I looked down at my shoes.
After a few minutes I raised my head and old Bill wasn’t looking at me anymore. His eyes were focused on some pictures on the wall. He kept staring, so I grew curious and got up to take a look.
It was an old black and white picture of a group of boys that first caught my eye. One boy had his head circled by pen and…Bill was written by it. That must have been Bill when he was young, a school photo probably.
My jaw dropped. I had just noticed the name of the building that they were posed in front of, The Thunder Mountain Boys Home. Bill had been a foster child too!
I looked at the other photos decorating the wall. Again a group of boys, some old faces and some new. Every photo was like that, but one thing remained the same. Bill was in every photo until he was 18.
I knew that he had gone off to war at the age of 18 and came back with the purple heart, but never knew his background. He had spent his whole life in an orphanage!
Bill was chewing on his licorice looking at the fire, paying me no mind.
I really did like the Jamesons, I didn’t want to leave and I think they liked me too. Something inside me sprung up, maybe I could make this work. If old Bill could earn the purple heart, I could try harder to let my walls come down. Just maybe the Jamesons could be my forever family, if I would give them a chance.
I smiled, and walked over to old Bill. “I am going to be leaving now. Thanks for the chat.” For the first time that day I saw his mouth crinkle into a smile, which lit up his eyes. He slowly nodded and I walked towards the door. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be forgetting our conversation for a long time.