Chapter 1: A Purpose

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Do you know that feeling that you get when you flip off something into water? Like when you're tubing and you just completely wipe out. And how, just for a second you're so disoriented and that you have no idea which way is up or down. That's the feeling you get when your life is disrupted and everything you know suddenly changes. You're disoriented and lost, stuck trying to make sense of what's happening.

This is how I felt when I turned eighteen.

Cheryl my foster "mom" cooked me a "you're out of here" breakfast. It's my birthday and I get the boot. Great. It's not that I loved Cheryl or anything, she hardly tolerated me. I didn't want to stay and be a burden to her anymore, but I had no idea what to do next. I had nowhere to live, and barely enough money to get by on. I took my bags to the door, and accepted an unemotional hug from Cheryl. "Good luck out there," she whispered.

"Thank you," I gave her a small smile.

Waving awkwardly, walked to my car parked on the street. After throwing my bags in the trunk, I hurried to the driver's seat and slammed the door. I couldn't bear to watch the mixture of pity and relief on Cheryl's face any longer. Speeding away, I took a deep breath. The smell of the car filled my nose, and relaxed me. It still smelled like Linda, my foster parent before Cheryl. Linda was a little old lady, who had been kind of quirky. She believed in everything supernatural, never missing an episode of Paranormal or A Haunting. Linda was the best foster mom by far. She was the closest I came to having a foster family that felt natural. All the others were ok, none were too bad, but Linda and her cat Mitten were the only foster family I really loved. I ended up with Cheryl when Linda died. Linda had been old; with a number of health problems. I missed her a lot, and was shocked when she gave me her car in her will. She left me Mitten too, but Cheryl didn't want a cat in her house. I had left Mitten with the foster care center. Realizing I didn't live with Cheryl anymore, I decided now I could go get the cat. I quickly turned the car around.

The receptionist greeted me as a walked in, "Happy birthday Macen!"

"Thanks, can I talk to Beverly?" I asked referring to my foster agent.

"Sure dear, you know where to go."

I knocked on Bev's office door and was pulled into a hug.

"You're out of the system! I've already got your papers filed. Are you excited?"

I stared at the papers, Macen Kale Hartford stamped across the top. "Definitely!" I lied. I didn't mention how clueless I was; what would Bev do about it? "I was gonna get Mitten."

Bev smiled, "She's in the pet center, but wait a minute Macen! I have something for you."

"Like a birthday present?"

She laughed, "No, nothing like that. It's the box of stuff from your old house. You know, before your mom...passed."

I didn't know what to think, "Why has no one told me about this?"

"We don't usually give them to foster kids; it can cause depression. Once you're eighteen it's legally yours. Anyway here you go." She handed me a medium sized box with more stuff inside than I had expected.

My hands shook a little as I tucked it under my arm. "Th-thanks."

"Keep in touch Macen, and let me know if you ever need anything."

I nodded and hurried out heading for the pet center. Mitten floated toward me as I opened the door. she immediately began to purr and rub my leg. I picked her up and stared at her funny little face. She had one blue eye and one amber one. Looking at her made me ache for Linda. I left the Foster Center and hurried out to my car. As soon as I started the air conditioning I opened my mom's box.

Most of what was inside was pretty basic. String bracelets with beads on them. A drivers license with her full name on it; RENÉE ABIGAIL HARTFORD. There was a gold ring with a little blue jewel. I absentmindedly slipped it on my finger. A single photo of her smiling with her hand on her pregnant belly, and she was beautiful. Light brown hair and happy eyes. At the bottom of the box there was a dark leather-bound book. I opened it to the first page, dated May 29, 1994:

Today was the last day of school, and I have no idea what I'm going to do now. Gran thinks I should go to college, but what for? So I can work in some stuffy office and be miserable for the rest of my life? No thank you! We had a big argument and I don't want to go home. We made a deal, I have a year to do whatever I want with my life, and if I don't have anything by the end of it, Gran gets to call the shots. Whatever. I'll show the old grouch, there's no way I'm going to fail. Then she'll know how wrong she was.

I was shocked by the end of the entry. Here was a door to my mother's whole life, a mother I had never known. And now here I was with her story in my lap. I hungered to know more. I turned to the next page, eager to keep reading.

June 1, 1994
I've spent the past few days driving around in search for a job. I've barely been able to eat because I need most of my money for gas. I'm hungry, tired, and in need of a shower. Still, there's no way I'll call Gran. My life is going to take a turn for the better; I can just feel it.

June 2, 1994
I drove last night until about 1 am. I came to a tiny little town called Devils Backbone. Kind of a spooky name. I was so tired, so I stopped at this big hotel, The Cavern, to stay the night. That's where I am this morning. Not sure how I'm going to pay my bill, I haven't gotten that far yet. I'm praying I won't have to call Gran.
-Later-
I was just down in the lobby and saw a help wanted sign. I asked to speak to the manager, and it turns out they're looking for a maid. Now I have a job, and a way to pay for my stay last night. Plus a place to live! Take that Gran! As an added bonus the manager is hot as hell! He's young, with this dark hair and a great jawline. Not to mention his eyes! They're this piercing dark green, just so beautiful. He hired me right on the spot.

Somehow I had never really considered what my mother's life was like before she had me. I had this urge to be where she had been walk where she had walked. I knew that I had to find this town and this hotel. Like her, I finally knew what to do. I was going to follow in her footsteps. I plugged the coordinates into my phone; to my surprise it was only about four hours away from where I was now. As I set out to find this town I felt tingles up my spine. I had a purpose now, and I was loving it.

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So I finally decided to start something else! I actually had a different story in the making that was nothing like this one. I had four chapters of it, and when I clicked on them the app deleted them! I was so mad! But instead of trying to rewrite it, I decided to do something completely different. So tell me what you think!

-cc

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