We invited our neighbors over to ring in the new year with us. . . a Self-made gift to the PTA, her husband (king of the sofa), and their 13 year old foster child, Danny. We have lived side by side in relative harmony for something like 12 years; living in a town with one stoplight and more bars than people. . . inviting them over was just the polite thing to do.

They have always been a little off in the raising of their children, and in fact have gone through 4 or 5 foster kids since I have lived here. They do things like make their children sit outside (in what used to be a pigpen with a tin roof) in 80 or 90 degree weather with nothing to eat or drink for DAYS, or if they do something "bad" they make them walk the 3 and a half miles to school (in January. . .in Montana. . . when the windchill is -20). The sick thing is, that for them, bad is if the poor kids eat an apple out of the fridge without asking first, or if they forget to mow around a tree in the front yard, or if they get a drink and don't put the glass directly into the sink (God forbid that they use more than one glass in a day). My parents have called the social workers on them any number of times for their methods of "punishment." (Their last kid, Justin, walked 27 miles from their house to a town 3 towns away, to get away from them because they locked him out of the house, and refused to let him shower.)


So today, when Danny (who is a shy introverted kid, and spends 3/4 of his existance buried in a book) made a half hearted attempt to counter a sarcastic remark by me (about the fact that my family was watching bullriding on television, what a waste of time), his foster mother DRAGGED him OUT of the room, and into the kitchen. He started to halfway argue the point, and even told her that what she was doing was unnecessary. She ignored him when he apologized, and when he finally sputtered out that she should back off before he called the authorities himself, She said,"They won't take you back, kid. No one wants you the way you are."

I swear, I could have killed that woman where she stood. I can see how a person like that could ruin a child's life. Hell, He is 13! What on earth could she possibly be talking about? No one wants him?

I have never, EVER felt so much compassion for someone. All he needs is some love. . . he is a great kid, and someday, if they don't fuck up his mind too badly, He might just get out of there.

I have never wanted so badly to love someone, and give them what they deserve, instead of what gets randomly dished up by life.

This one's for you, Danny.

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