Illustrated by Daniele Murtas
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Don’t wait. Do it now. You might not be able to do it later. You never know.
Take your time. Think about the consequences first. You can always come back and do it later.
My parents gave me conflicting advice over the years and now I’m conflicted. I haven’t seen them in the two years they’ve been in prison but I do correspond occasionally and they still give me advice and of course it’s still conflicting. They also expect me to send them goodie packages or a little money but neither is possible.
Don’t turn your back on people. Stand up to a bully first thing or the bullying will get worse. If someone asks you to share—offer to trade.
Use your time to improve your mind. Read and write. Keep to yourself as much as possible. Only make friends with people in power.
I’m living in a foster home until I’m eighteen and then I’m on my own. None of my parents’ relatives who I wanted to take me in would have me and the ones that would have me I didn’t want to be with. No one wanted me out of the goodness of their heart. They wanted me to quit school and work, hustle, steal or be a farm hand. There were other choices—none better.
I wanted to be with the doctors’ family or the teachers’ or my aunt and uncle who worked in a factory, but they were all afraid I’d corrupt their kids and taint their lives when all I wanted was to be in a safe place. Don’t they understand I wasn’t a willing accomplice to my parent’s burglaries?
This foster home is not a safe place. I’m with this family who take in foster kids as a way of making money. I have lots of chores and rules, don’t get any allowance but I am allowed to work for spending money as long as I give them half.
My parents get out in a year and a half but I won’t be allowed to live with them or see them unsupervised not that I have any great desire mind you. It doesn’t seem fair they’ll get out before I do. I have two years left until I’m eighteen and out of here.