Amanda Dolan | Myfanwy Kinder
Look at her, sitting outside talking to another client. What does that even mean? I can’t even focus on my video game, because she’s on the patio laughing at his stupid jokes. I’m unsure why we’ve been here for the past week; this is the longest we’ve stayed in a place like this. I hate it. This isn’t home. This is one of Nanny’s many rooms.
We used to live in Calabasas. I had a playroom and toys that kept me busy while Nanny had work meetings with men. That little green room was my own personal space. Now, I stay in a new bed every few days. Nanny says we’re travelling to save money for a new house. She says the old house had too many problems, but I’m starting to think there’s more to the story than she’s telling me.
I trust Nanny; I do. I know she cares about me. After all, she told me she would buy me an Xbox for my birthday. That’s why I didn’t feel bad about her selling all of my Star Wars figures. She told me she needed the money to save for a new house with a bigger playroom.
On the bright side, Nanny told me school ended early this year. It’s weird, though; I see the school bus in the neighborhood every morning and afternoon. I’d be real pissed if I had to go to school during break, like they do. I always thought school ended in June. It’s March now, but I’ll take it. She told me not to tell anyone about the early break. I guess she doesn’t want me to make them jealous. This break has been really boring though. I’m sick of being left alone while Nanny goes on business dinners. I’m sick of getting locked out of the room each time she asks me to go get some ice on the third floor. I swear, I’ll knock a million times before she finally answers the door with her client.
This life is getting old. I’m 10. I shouldn’t be locked in a hotel room all day while Nanny cries on the phone to her mother. She cries all the time now. I used to think it was because she hurt her arms, because they’re always bleeding. I ask her a few times a day about it. I don’t know why she’s scratching her arms so much. It’s usually when she’s in a bad mood.
“Nanny just has a rash,” she says. “I’m alright, Jimmy.”
I don’t know what to think anymore. I do know that I hate when she calls me Jimmy. My name is James.
Today, Nanny told me that she thinks she’ll make a lot of money. Maybe we will be switching hotels tonight. Anything is better than sleeping in the car again. The seats in that car anger me. They’re way too hard for my liking. Mom left the car for Nanny when she moved to Ireland last year. She said she needed to get away. I miss her sometimes, but we’re both well aware that she’s a shitty mother. Anyway, a tow truck dragged the car away last week. Nanny said it’s because she parked in a wrong spot, but something tells me that’s not true. I hear the way the hotel lobby staff talks about her. She’s lying to me.
My mom may not be around, but I know my dad loves me. He’s probably missing me right now. He moved to Austin in a hurry. I don’t blame him—Mom sent him packing. She tried to keep me from him. She told me he couldn’t take care of me the way Nanny could. I believed that at first, but now I’m realizing how far from the truth that is. This hotel isn’t my home. These green-striped bed sheets would never be my first pick. Living out of my Star Wars suitcase pisses me off. I want my toys back. I want food that doesn’t pass through a fast food window. I can’t do this anymore. If that phone didn’t charge us every time we picked it up, I would call right now and tell him to come get me.
You know what? I don’t care. Nanny’s too busy giggling on the patio again. She wouldn’t notice the dollar charged on her account until she tries to checkout anyway. I think it’s worth a shot. I need to start living.
Let’s see what Dad can do.