A Light in the Window

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Sidney, an orphan living at Sarah's House, has it rough. She suffers from depression. The only thing that gets her through it all is imagining a life with the family next door.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - A Light in the Window

Submitted: September 06, 2014

Reads: 319

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Submitted: September 06, 2014

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Chapter 1

 

At last the dishes were all rinsed and put into the dishwasher. My chores were done for the night.

I left the kitchen and headed down the hall towards the stairs.

“Sidney,” someone said after I had gone up a couple stairs.

I turned around and saw Mrs. Orion, the headmistress below me.

“Dr. Pierce is going to be here at seven thirty.”

“Yes, ma’am. Thanks for telling me.”

I went up to the second floor and pushed open my door. Then, I flopped down on my bed.

I hated seeing Dr. Pierce. I just wish they would leave me alone. My life is hard enough without the extra interference.

I sat up and stared out the window. My life would be so much greater if I could live outside these walls.

The light went on in the house next door. I could see a girl about my age in her bedroom.

If I was the girl’s sister, we would probably be settling down after a day at school. We would discuss friends, boys, and tell each other secrets that nobody else knew.

I closed my eyes and imagined myself living next door. I pretended that the girl’s name was Janessa.

“Sidney!” Janessa said excitedly as she came into the room. “You will never believe it!”

“Please tell me,” I begged.

“I have a date for the dance!”

“So do I!”

“We have so much to do to get ready. The dance is on Friday after all.”

A knock on my door interrupted my daydream.

I got up to open the door and found Dr. Pierce.

“Come in,” I said with a groan.

“It’s good to see you too,” Dr. Pierce said as he took a seat at my desk.

I flopped back on my bed. “And you would probably feel the same way if you were me. What made you get into psychiatry anyway?”

“My sister was bipolar and I wanted to help people suffering from mental illnesses.”

“Is your sister still suffering?” I asked curiously.

“She took her life a few years ago,” he said solemnly.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok. You didn’t know.”

“Is that why I have to see you? Are you afraid that I am going to take my life?”

“Surely you don’t want to live your life with the symptoms of a mental illness.”

“You don’t know what I have then?” I asked. I was hoping that I had an easily cured mental illness.

“I told you last week you have depression.”

“So I don’t need to see you anymore?” I asked hopefully.

“Don’t get your hopes up. I think you will benefit from counseling.”

“So what does this mean?” I asked.

“It means that you will continue to see me. Eventually, we might get you on some kind of medication.”

“Will the medication increase my chances for adoption?”I asked hopefully.

“Sidney, I think we both need to be honest here. You are sixteen years old. That is one strike against you. It also doesn’t help that you have depression.”

“We don’t need to tell anyone that I have depression.”

“Yes we do. What would happen if you got adopted and then your parents wondered why you were feeling depressed?”

“I would no longer feel depressed because I would have a real home. I will be happy.”

“Sidney, mental illnesses don’t work that way. They are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.”

“Are you sure talking to you is the best thing for me? It doesn’t seem like you are making me feel better.”

“I just wanted you to understand some things.”

“Just put me on some medication. I think it will be better for both of us.”

“How about I just come back in two days?”

“It’s not like I have any choice,” I said as Dr. Pierce stood up.

“I will see you in two days, Sidney,” Dr. Pierce said.

Once he was gone, I took another look out the window. The girl next door was also staring out the window. Rather than move out of the way or pull the curtains, she waved. I gave her a weak smile and waved back. The girl then shut the curtains. I suddenly felt alone again.

I don’t remember a life outside these walls. Ever since I can remember, my home has been at Sarah’s Home, an orphanage for girls.

Growing up at Sarah’s Home hasn’t been exciting, but at least I did have friends. Then, all of a sudden, I was ten and the oldest girl at the Home. Suddenly, it began real to me that I would always be an orphan. Now, I am sixteen and have a life of loneliness and depression to cope with for the rest of my life.

Even though it was only nine o’clock and I could still hear the two thirteen year olds giggling next door, I crawled into bed. I didn’t need to put up with life.

 

Chapter 2

 

My alarm went off at seven the next morning. Even though I had gotten ten hours of sleep and had slept like a log, I was still exhausted. More than anything, I wanted to stay in bed. Bed was a safe place. I didn’t have to deal with the world or my thoughts. Sleep allowed me to escape from reality. I knew if I didn’t get out of bed though, than Mrs. Orion would be knocking on my door.

I threw on my school clothes and brushed through my hair a couple of times.

“I was just about to come get you,” Mrs. McGuire, one of the assistants said as I flung open my door to go down to breakfast.

“I’m awake,” I said as I headed down the stairs.

“How are you doing?” she asked me.

“I’m fine!” I replied irritably.

“Of course everyone cares how you are doing, Sidney,” Mallory said behind me in a sickly-sweet voice. “We all want you to get well.”

“Shut up, Mallory!”

“Sidney!” Mrs. McGuire said firmly.

“Whatever,” I said as I rushed down the rest of the stairs without them and headed into the kitchen.

I was handed a tray with cereal, apple juice, and a couple of sausages. Then, I took my tray to a deserted table in the corner.

Mallory had been out to get me ever since I was told that I had a mental illness. Mallory is thirteen and the next oldest at Sarah’s House, next to me. She and her other thirteen year old friend Trisha feel the need to remind me that I will never be adopted. They don’t seem to care that their chances aren’t very good either.

“Won’t you please consider joining another group?” Mrs. McGuire asked behind me.

“I’m fine,” I replied.

“Can I join you?”

“Suit yourself,” I said, even though I wanted to be left alone.

“Is there anything I can do to make your day better?” Mrs. McGuire asked cheerfully.

Kill me now. Leave me alone. There were a lot of options.

“Just let me be alone with my thoughts,” I begged.

Mrs. McGuire left me alone and I ate my breakfast in silence.

A short while later, all of the girls started getting up and heading into the classroom. I reluctantly got up and dumped my tray before going to the classroom.

I headed towards the back of the room. The only problem is, Mallory and Trisha sit right in front of me. They stuck their tongues out at me as I passed.

I wasn’t going to put up with them. I picked up my desk and turned it around to face the back wall.

“What are you doing, Sidney?” Mrs. McGuire asked sternly.

Rather than try to explain, I turned my desk back around.

As soon as Mrs. McGuire was focused on the little kids, Mallory made an ‘L’ with her fingers on her forehead.

I grabbed my textbooks from where I store them on a shelf and slammed them down on my desk. Mrs. McGuire shot me a look but I didn’t care.

I opened my math book and started learning how to solve the problems in the next section. I was interrupted when a note fell on my assignment.

Are you all right? Is there anything I can do to make your life more miserable?

 

Mallory

 

I knew she was mocking what Mrs. McGuire had said to me earlier.

“What is that you have Sidney?” Mrs. McGuire asked.

“Just my math assignment,” I lied.

Mrs. McGuire came to the back of the room and took the note from me. “You will see me before lunch, Sidney and Mallory.”

“Yes, ma’am,” we replied.

I hadn’t even done anything and I was going to get punished!

I went back to my math problems. I was so angry that I was pressing my pencil into the paper kind of hard.

“You are never going to be happy,” Mallory whispered.

“Shut up, Mallory,” I whispered back.

“I can never be silenced. Just try and stop me.”

“Shut up, Mallory,” I whispered a little louder.

“Try and stop me. You are mentally ill. You will never amount to anything.”

“Why don’t you go and die, Mallory!” I yelled.

“Sidney and Mallory!” Mrs. McGuire said angrily. “What in the world is going on? Sidney, grab your books and go work out in the hall.”

I grabbed my pile of books and angrily went out in the hall. The only positive of this situation is that I get away from Mallory. The negative is that I was going to be punished.

And maybe Mallory is right. I have a mental illness. Maybe I won’t ever amount to anything.

I was finding it difficult to concentrate because of the anger I felt towards Mallory.

At lunch time, all of the younger kids starting heading to lunch. I gathered my books and went back into the classroom.

Mrs. McGuire pulled up two chairs at her desk and Mallory and I took a seat.

“What is going on, girls?” she asked.

I wasn’t going to give Mallory the satisfaction of tattling.

“You girls are the oldest in the school. You need to be good role models for the younger students. I expect you girls to act your age. It isn’t fair to the other students when I have to stop teaching to discipline you. You both will be working with the custodian tonight after classes.”

“Yes, ma’am,” we said together.

“Mallory, you may go to lunch. Sidney, I want a word.”

Mallory left the room without a look at me.

“Is there anything you would like to talk about, Sidney?” Mrs. McGuire asked.

“I’m fine,” I lied.

“Let’s go to lunch, then,” Mrs. McGuire said. She got up and left the room.

The tape on her desk caught my eye. The tape could help me feel better. It could help me deal with my anger towards Mallory.

I grabbed the tape and stuck it in my pocket before going to lunch.

 

Chapter 3

 

After school was over that afternoon, Mallory and I went to find the custodians. Mallory was instructed to clean the restrooms. I was instructed to vacuum the carpets in the main office, nurse’s office, and hallways.

I was angry at Mallory for getting me in trouble. I was mad at Mrs. McGuire for having to live here. I was mad at Dr. Pierce because I had depression. My anger intensified as I continued to vacuum.

If I had had to pick between vacuuming and cleaning the restrooms, I would have picked the vacuuming. It isn’t easy work though. The vacuum weighs a lot and because of that, it is difficult to maneuver around things. It is also difficult to get the vacuum out of the upright position.

As I was vacuuming the classroom, the cord came out from the outlet. Frustrated, I put the vacuum in the upright position and plugged it back in. Then, I struggled to get the vacuum down again.

“Everything going all right?” the custodian asked as she stuck her head in the room.

“Perfect,” I lied.

“The sooner you get done with the vacuuming, the sooner you can go up to your room,” I told myself.

I quickly finished my job and then went upstairs to my room. I was itching to get out the tape that I had stolen but I knew I needed to wait. I still had to help with dishes tonight because that is my daily chore.

I looked next door and sat the light on in Janessa’s room. I could see that Janessa was working on homework.

“Can you help me with this math problem?” I asked Janessa.

“I struggled with that one myself,” Janessa said after she had taken a look at the problem.

“I think this problem is similar to the one we did in class today.”

I flipped through my notes and found the example problem.

“Thanks, Janessa.”

“No problem, Sidney.”

The dinner bell rang then, bringing me back to Sarah’s House. Once I finished my dinner and the dishes, I rushed back upstairs and got out the tape.

Using the blade of the tape dispenser, I made several marks on my wrist. One was for Mallory, one was for being stuck at Sarah’s House, and another was for having depression.

I did feel better after that but I decided I would much rather go to bed. I wiped the blood from the cuts so that it would not get all over and then I climbed into bed, hoping to fall asleep quickly so that I could escape reality.

 

Chapter 4

 

It had been another horrible day. Besides the usual taunts, Mallory had decided to shoot spit wads at me. We both ended up working for the custodian again.

To make matters worse, Dr. Pierce would be coming in a few minutes so that we could talk.

“Come in,” I yelled when I heard the knock on my door.

Dr. Pierce came in and took his usual seat at my desk.

“So how is it going, Sidney?”

“Has Mrs. McGuire been talking to you?” I knew she had probably told him about the last two days. There was no need to repeat anything.

“I would rather hear it from you,” Dr. Pierce said patiently.

“What’s there to talk about? You probably won’t take my side anyway.” Tears were threatening so I turned my head so that Dr. Pierce wouldn’t see them.

“Why don’t you tell me what is going on?”

“It’s all Mallory’s fault that I have to keep working with the custodian. She keeps making comments about me having depression. And then today she was shooting spit wads at me.”

“And how did you respond?”

“I yelled at her.”

“Did you tell Mrs. McGuire what happened?”

“I don’t want to tattle. That would mean that I am sinking to Mallory’s level.”

“Have you tried ignoring her?”

“I would like to see you ignore Mallory. She is a monster.”

I wished Dr. Pierce would leave me alone. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts.

Instead, I pulled off my sweatshirt so that I would have something to hold on to rather than look at Dr. Pierce.

“What happened to your arm?” Dr. Pierce asked in concern.

Rats. I had forgotten that I had cut last night.

“It’s nothing,” I said as I tried to put my sweatshirt back on.

Dr. Pierce was too quick. He grabbed my arm and looked it over.

“What have you been using to cut?” he asked.

I pulled out the tape dispenser from where I had hidden it behind my bed.

Dr. Pierce held out his hand and I turned over the tape.

“We need to get these cuts cleaned.”

“They are fine,” I said.

Dr. Pierce shot me a look that let me know he wasn’t pleased with me and that I had better do what he said.

We both went downstairs to the nurse’s office.

“What is going on?” Mrs. Wilder asked. “Sidney, who is this?”

“I’m Dr. Pierce, Sidney’s psychiatrist. It appears that Sidney has been engaging in self injury.”

“Let’s see,” Mrs. Wilder said.

I held out my arm.

“What have you been using to cut?”

“The sharp part of a tape dispenser.”

Mrs. Wilder cleaned my cuts with alcohol and then bandaged them.

“You’re all set,” she said at last.

Dr. Pierce and I went back to my room.

“You aren’t going to lock me up, are you?” I asked quietly.

“Should I?”

“The cutting was just away to deal with my anger, frustration, and depression. Yesterday was the first time I had ever done it.”

“Sidney, if you ever feel the need to self injure yourself again, I want you to write about your feelings or else use a red marker to draw marks on your arms. I know that it won’t have the same affect as cutting but you need to do something to distract yourself from the desire to cut. I will be checking every time I come to see if you have cut.”

“All right.”

“I’m also going to talk to Mrs. Orion to see if I can get you involved in some kind of activity outside the House. I think it will be good for you to do something you enjoy and also get away from the people here.”

“Ok.”

“And please, if you feel the need to talk, don’t hesitate to call me anytime. I will let Mrs. Orion know that you have my permission to call.”

“All right.”

“I will see you tomorrow, Sidney. Have a good night.”

“See you tomorrow,” I replied.

As soon as Dr. Pierce was gone, I went over to my bed and stared out the window. Janessa’s light was on.

“You were amazing tonight,” I told Janessa.

We had just gotten home from the music concert.

“I was so proud when you played that trumpet solo.”

“You were also amazing tonight. That solo you sang almost brought me to tears.”

We both climbed into our beds, pleased with our performances and happy to have such an amazing sister.

 

Chapter 5

 

The next day at school, I was moved to a corner in the front of the classroom. I knew it was to separate Mallory and me. I also got the feeling that Mrs. McGuire knew I had cut and she wanted to watch me.

When Mrs. McGuire asked to speak to me before lunch, I knew it was about me cutting.

“Dr. Pierce talked to Mrs. Orion this morning,” Mrs. McGuire began. “He wanted to see if you would like to volunteer at the soup kitchen with him and his wife tonight.”

It would be nice to get away from Sarah’s House for a few hours.

“That sounds like fun,” I said.

“He will be here after school.”

“Thanks, ma’am.”

“Please go eat lunch. After you get done, go the nurse’s office and get your cuts cleaned.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I felt a lot like my normal self that afternoon. I was actually looking forward to going to the soup kitchen.

Finally, school was over. I rushed out to the main entrance and found Dr. Pierce waiting for me.

“Ready to go?” he asked.

“Yes. Thanks so much for inviting me. I am so excited.”

“Let’s go then,” he said.

We went outside and got into the car.

“Hi, Sidney,” a young woman up front said. “I’m Kyla Pierce.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said.

As we drove to the soup kitchen, Mrs. Pierce asked me questions about my life at Sarah’s House.

Once we arrived, I was directed to help serve food while the Pierces went to help with dishes.

“You might want to take your sweatshirt off,” a girl about my age said. “You don’t want to get soup on it.”

“I will be fine,” I said. I didn’t want her to see my cuts.

“You are going to get warm, standing over the soup. You aren’t going to be able to push your sleeves up when you have your gloves on.”

“Fine.” If anyone asked about the cuts, I would say that they were from a cat.

The girl handed me a pair of gloves and led me to the soup. She was going to be right beside me, passing out bread.

“So what is your name?” she asked.

“I’m Sidney.”

“I’m Sage Brachterra.”

I thought Sage looked kind of familiar. I don’t know where I would have met her though since I spend all day at Sarah’s House.

“How come I have never seen you at school before?” Sage asked.

“I live at Sarah’s House.”

“That would explain why I don’t know you. Is this your first time volunteering here?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think you will ever come back again?”

“I don’t know. I was actually invited by someone to come here.”

“You will have to beg to come back. It makes you feel really good helping others.”

People started coming in and Sage and I were too busy to do much talking. I could see why she didn’t want me to wear my sweatshirt. It was hot around the soup.

“So what happened to your arm?” Sage asked when at last there were fewer people going through the line.

“What do you mean?” I asked, feigning ignorance.

“I have never seen so many bandages,” Sage said as she pointed to the arm I had cut.

“Oh, this,” I said with a fake laugh. “I got scratched by a cat.”

“Must have been a pretty angry cat.”

“She got scared by a dog when she was in my arms,” I said. “It would have been kind of funny if she hadn’t scratched me.”

Sage started telling a story about how her cat liked to chase shadows. I could tell that she had swallowed my lie. Even though I had just met her, I felt kind of bad lying to her. Sage was the closest thing I had to a friend, besides Janessa, who was more of an imaginary friend.

That night when I got back, the light wasn’t on in the window next door. I didn’t care though. I had actually had an opportunity to live a real life tonight. I didn’t need to spend time trying to imagine a better life.

 

 


© Copyright 2019 Kimberly Adams. All rights reserved.

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