Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FAMILY (01/21/16)
- TITLE: Just a Number
By Bonnie Bowden
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By the age of thirteen, I had been placed in over fifteen orphanages and group homes. In the beginning, I tried to be the perfect child, so someone would decide to love and adopt me into their family. I even imagined my parents whom I named Timothy and Anne would one day find and claim me. I named my mother after the smart and spunky orphan in the book, “Anne of Green Gables”. But when that didn’t happen, I decided not to pretend any longer.
My nickname, B.B., stuck because other people were afraid of the sarcastic, steely comments that would shoot out of my mouth at any given time. Once I even told my caseworker, “Look, lady, I don’t need your attitude, I have one of my own.”
Even though I wasn’t into lying, I wasn’t afraid to steal when necessary. I started by taking candy bars and small food items, but I soon advanced to swiping clothing and electronics. The bigger the challenge, the greater the thrill I felt. In fact, I once persuaded a store clerk to load a stolen gaming system into the back of our group van. I figured it was no big deal since stores were greedy and won’t miss the items anyway.
My luck ran out when I decided to have a few drinks before my shoplifting expedition. I was so inebriated that I took unnecessary risks. I thought I was being so nonchalant when I cut off the tags and slipped the pair of shoes into my large handbag. But suddenly, I heard the buzzing alarms and was lead off in handcuffs by the police and taken to the Juvie.
Once inside the detention center, the guard took off the handcuffs and said, “Please remove your shoes, belt, jewelry, and other belongs from your pockets and then walk through the metal detector.”
“Whaat iiif I doon’t wanna?” I said as my words slurred together.
“Then a padded cell awaits you until you are able to do so,” the guard said.
Before I took my shower, I was given a gaudy yellow sweat suit to wear. The number, 11025-440 was stenciled across my shirt. Once again, I was reduced to just being a number like a tiny star in a vast galaxy.
As I sat down on the hard cot, I remembered a time I had visited a church near one of the many houses I had stayed in. The pastor talked about becoming a brother or sister in the body of God. I had memorized the verse he used out of the book of Isaiah. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” I wanted to believe what he said was true, but how could God love someone like me; someone without even a real name.
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