I remember walking up the stairs–the tunnel vision of being in complete disbelief of what was happening and trying not to cry. My hands shook, my breathing was shallow. My head was hot and my heart was beating so hard I could feel it in my throat. It was in that moment that I began to panic and sweat. I can remember asking myself, “What did I do wrong? What am I going to do? What is happening? Where am I going?” over and over again.
Downstairs, I could hear the police officer growing anxious and yelling at me to hurry before he came up got me. I grabbed my old backpack and filled it with a couple shirts and a pair of pants. I grabbed my journal that would be my life support for the next few years. At that moment, I still believed that what was happening to me was unreal. I had no idea what was going on.
The officer yelled at me again to come down the stairs.
I grabbed my winter coat and slowly, very slowly made my way down the stairs. I was hanging my head in shame–tears were streaming down my face and yet I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. Crying was more shameful. Crying was a sign of weakness.
That’s when I saw the other officer.
She was standing at the front door. I could see her blonde hair through my dark brown bangs that covered my hanging head. She said something to the other officer and then led me out the front door. She must have sensed me crying, something must have told her to not treat me like a criminal. She had me sit in the front seat next to her. She started the engine and pulled out of our apartment parking lot and onto the highway.
I didnt want her to see me cry, even though I knew she could hear me, so I looked out the passenger side window. I was sobbing so hard I was moaning. Everything looked surreal as my eyes welled up with tears and then gushed over. I had no idea what was happening and I had no idea where I was going. I cried so hard I had a hard time breathing.
I watched as her squad car passed buildings, shopping centers and residential homes. Each view obscured with more tears. I clenched my fingers to my backpack and tensed my legs together. At that moment I felt that my entire world had been taken from me. I honestly thought I had done something to deserve this. I knew it was my fault.
Then, we pulled into a driveway in front of an old, bricked building that looked like a school building. I had calmed down a little at this point, and I asked her where we were. She should have told me were at a prison.
We had arrived at the State Home for Children.
To be continued, next week…