2014-2015, Short Story


Featured in 2015 Spring Issue of Rambunctious

By Elizabeth Sabatino, ’18

My heart beats faster as I pull the beaten wooden frame of the window upward. A cool gust of nighttime wind blows my hair out of my face and sends chills down my spine like it’s forbidding me to go any further. I swallow fear like a pill and tell myself this is for the better.

The few stars in the sky seem so close, like I can reach out, take one, and save it in my pocket for later. I feel a pang of jealousy; they are out there in the universe, not trapped and sheltered from the world. They are free. Free from the bonds and chains of foster care that keep you hidden. As I look out at the night’s sky, I see the tops of trees of the small forest and even farther, the bright lights of the city.

I take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other out the window. My sweaty palms cling to the sides so I will make as little noise as possible when I climb out. Finally, I feel steady enough and I stand up, the wood of the rooftop easily holding my weight. My heart lurches with both excitement and fear.

As quick as I can, I shut the window closed as if nothing had ever happened. I quickly look back inside to check if the other girls had heard me. They were, thankfully, asleep in their bunk beds with quilts pulled up to their chins from the lack of a heating system. One set was empty, though. The top bunk belonged to the little eight-year-old who was adopted yesterday. That is when I realized that adults didn’t want a teenager. They want a child they can take care of for a long time, not send to college after a few years.

I turn back around, vowing to never look back. With a deep breath, I start climbing down the old building. I have no fear or worry since I practiced my game plan after dinner just to make sure it was safe. The protruding rocks and bricks that it was built out of stick out like your average climbing wall. They are all shapes and sizes but large enough to hold my sneaker up. I slip on the second to last one sending me falling a mere foot to the ground.

I shake it off and slowly sneak toward the front of the building. The instant my foot touches the gravel driveway I break into a sprint down to the pavement of the road and head towards the direction of the city I had seen earlier. The wishes I have always thought of as impossible fuel my body to go faster. I smile at the thought and close my eyes.

A family.

A home.