Beckham O’Neil

I dug the cheap worn out spikes into the track. I was balancing on the balls of my feet in an athletic position. My body tensed up, getting ready to take off on my command. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My legs pushed off and in a split second I was gone.

I lived for the rush of running. The adrenaline that coursed through my veins as my feet pounded around the track. The wind pushed my body, trying to slow me down. My breathing became short and fast. I couldn’t help but smile as I completed the lap; I knew it was a personal best. I looked down at the watch around my right wrist. I had run it in 47.32 seconds. A whole two seconds faster than my run last week. I guess my anger helped me run faster.

I downed the water bottle and started heading home. Well, I guess it wasn’t home anymore. After my encounter with Carroll, I had grabbed my spikes and walked to the track. A good run always calmed me down.

“Beckham, sweetie, I’m really sorry about all of this.” Carroll, my fifty-something year old social worker, put a comforting hand on my shoulder, trying to ease the blow. The crazy red haired woman was always nice to me, even if I wasn’t nice back.

I shrugged it off, “I don’t care.”

Her huge brown eyes gave me sympathy, “Mr. and Mrs. Sheppard just can’t handle a seventeen year old boy right now, not with the new baby on the way.” That and the countless things I had gotten in trouble for.

I kept my face straight, my blue eyes cold. I crossed my arms, “Fantastic.”

“But, there is a family that is willing to take you. If you want to go.”

“I guess I don’t really have an option, now do I?” I held back on more sarcastic comments.

She smiled, “Okay. Well, I brought you some bags,” She held up a box of black trash bags. I hated that they made me put my stuff in garbage bags, as if my stuff was garbage, as if I was garbage. “I will be back in a little while to pick you up.” She got up and walked over to the door, but before leaving she turned and looked at me, “I have a feeling this next family is going to be the last.” I didn’t really trust her feelings, considering every time she said that, I ended being shipped off a few months later.

I walked through the door of the small two bedroom house and made a bee line for the second bedroom. I pulled all of my clothes out of the drawers and the closet and stuffed them into the trash bags. I pulled all of the books and CDs off of the shelf and dumped them into a separate bag. The only thing I placed into the bags gently was my spikes. As I was packing, Landon came in. He had been my foster father for a whole three months. He was in his early thirties, with light brown hair and blue eyes.

 “Hey, Beck.” He tried greeting me in a friendly way, but I didn’t respond to him. I didn’t even stop packing. “Look, man. I’m sorry about this.” He put his hand on the back of his head. He realized that I wasn’t going to say anything to him. “Okay. Well, if you need me to help you with anything just let me know.” He awkwardly walked out and I moved on to packing my stuff in the bathroom.

 An hour later Carroll was back, ready to take me to my next home. Landon and Mary Sheppard walked us out to the car. I threw my garbage bags in to the back of her SUV. I leaned against the car as Mary apologized once again to Carroll.

“It’s okay, Mary, Beckham understands and he will be perfectly fine with his new family.” They were the same words she said to every couple that no longer wanted me. She shook Landon’s hand and gave Mary a small hug.

Mary gave me a sad smile, “Good bye, Beck.”

I didn’t say anything back, I just turned and got into the car while Carroll turned the key and the engine roared to life. Carroll pulled away and I watched the small house get even smaller in the distance.

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