Fourteen year old Sally stood quietly in front of the fogged window listening to the rain, or heaven drops as she liked to call them. It had rained during her parents’ funeral on her seventh birthday and though most folks took that sort of thing as an omen of sadness, Sally didn’t. Instead she felt like the rain was a happy event and that the falling raindrops were her mom and dad’s tears showing her that they were still watching over their little girl.
Reaching out her right hand, she placed the tip of her pointer finger on the cool, damp, foggy glass. Moving it along in a squeaky rhythmic motion, she wrote out a short phrase that often haunted her thoughts.
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NOBODY LOVES ME
Sally was alone on her birthday once again as her lips trembled and her cheeks turned the shade of rose. She was an emotional wreck and it took all of her strength to hold her feelings down, imprison them within her. Walking over to an empty bed, Sally raised her eyes to a drawing made from colored pencils that was pinned into the wall above it. The picture was of two girls holding hands, Sally’s name was above one girl and Jessica was above the other. Jessica had been like her sister for nearly a year until she was taken, stolen away by a loving young couple and now lived the life Sally dreamed of.
Strolling over to her bed, Sally slumped on its edge and peered at an envelope with her name written on it that layed on a small table next to her. Taking it, she opened the sealed envelope and pulled out a folded piece of paper. On the front in big balloon style letters was Happy Birthday Sally.
Opening the paper, the inside simply read, Love Sally.
The sound of the door creaking open behind Sally would normally cause her to whip around in anticipation, but instead she remained motionless facing away from whoever had entered the room.
“Are you okay dear?” A sweet voice filled the air with a hint of age in its tone, that Sally immediately recognized as Miss Howard’s.
Sally didn’t respond even though Miss Howard was the kindest, most gentle person she had known since coming to the orphanage at age seven.
“If you need anything let me know. I know it hurts dear,” Miss Howard’s words were meant to be comforting, but they tore Sally’s emotional wound open even more.
Footsteps approached her, stopped and a hand settled gently on her right shoulder.
Arching her neck, Sally looked to Miss Howard who wore a warm smile and was the only constant in her life. Sally noticed the woman’s right hand tucked behind her back and that her gaze shifted to the window where the words had begun filling in with moisture and condensation.
Sally felt embarrassed and parted a small smile as Miss Howard brought her right arm forward. In her hand was a small gift wrapped box which Sally took and placed onto her lap.
“Thank you,” Sally said politely. Miss Howard squeezed her shoulder, walked away and left the room closing the door behind her.
Sally set the present beside her, crawled onto the bed accidently kicking it to the floor, curled up into a fetal position and closed her eyes in hopes of sleeping the dreadful, awful day away.
Sally had awoken some time ago as her plan backfired on her and sleep came and went like the differing ferocity of rain outside. Bored, she simply refused to move from the bed and instead stared at the ceiling forming pictures on the rough white paint and pretended it was a large connect-the-dots page. She created animals, landscapes and even an image of two adult stick figures on either side of her own stick figured self. A family, that was all she wanted and nothing more.
There were times when her hopes dashed from her like a galloping horse when other girls would be adopted instead of her or during long stretches when no adopters would even request to see her. Often Sally felt she wasn’t worth anything and that there was something wrong with her that she didn’t know how to fix. Yet, whenever it rained, no matter how sad Sally was within herself, the heaven tears of her parents refilled her with hope and encouragement.
But today being her birthday and also the day her parent’s funeral occurred, Sally’s state of depression couldn’t be undone even by the rain she had come to cherish.
A light knock alerted Sally from her daydreaming state. Not wanting any visitors, she turned away onto her side, frowned, and cuddled herself into a ball with her back to the door as it opened.
Instead of Miss Howard’s voice which she had come to expect more often than not, the sound of a younger, smoother, softer voice filled the empty silence of the room.
“Hello Sally,” curious as to whom the voice belonged, Sally flipped over to see both a well-dressed woman and man smiling at her.
For a moment Sally thought she recognized them, but could not remember from where, or when. Sighing, Sally knew the ritual and false hope these visits brought her so she turned away from the couple, sat on the side of the bed and stared at the fogged window where her written words no longer existed.
“Are you here to view me?” Sally’s words were empty and hollow as she heard them approach and sit next to her, one on each side.
“No,” the man said to her in a kind manner.
“Oh, I see,” Sally hung her head in defeat. “Well, if you change your mind, I promise I’ll be good and be on my best behavior so you will want me and…” Sally crossed her arms, shook her head and sniffled as she just wanted to be left alone in solitude.
“And what darling?” The woman caringly asked her.
“Nobody loves me,” Sally moaned, slouched completely over and buried her face in her hands.
Her long brown hair hung over her like a shield and she felt safe within it. Sally hoped when she emerged from her mask of hands and hair that she would still be staring at the ceiling making animals and imaginary worlds out paint dots. But instead, a voice filled her head and the words it spoke made her disheartening thoughts disappear.
“But we do love you,” said the man as Sally felt him rub her back gingerly.
“And we’re taking you home. Happy birthday Sally,” the lady’s words along with the man’s tore down Sally’s emotional wall she had built up over the years as the woman’s soft hand brushed Sally’s hair behind her ears.
Bolting upright, Sally removed her hands and looked back and forth to the woman and man. Now she remembered them, from over four months ago, Alison and Ted. She thought they had liked her at the time, she liked them both, but they never returned after a second visit. Like normal, Sally thought she was not the kind of daughter they were looking for. She never was the one anyone wanted, until now. Her mind raced with a joy and glee she had not felt since her parents were alive.
“You want me, you like me, you really do?” Sally spoke with enthusiasm.
“Yes sweetie, we do and we love you,” placing an arm around Sally the woman hugged her deeply.
Sally’s eyes widened, filled with salty liquid and she grabbed both of them in her arms hugging her new parents. Bringing her arms back around she cupped her hands under her chin right as a single tear dropped into them.
Heaven’s tears, she thought and smiled widely. Looking upward Sally imagined she could see through the building and clouds to heaven where her mother and father smiled at her while crying tears of love down upon her.
This was their gift to her. They wanted her to have the right parents. Outside the rain began to fall harder than Sally had ever seen it before. She knew what it meant.
Jumping from the bed, Sally raced to the window and began writing on the foggy, squeaky glass. Removing her finger, she stepped back and into the loving arms of her new family who embraced her. On the window were written three simple words.
I AM LOVED
“Is this yours?” Alison asked her pointing to the floor where Sally noticed the unopened gift from Miss Howard.
Retrieving it, Sally tore off the wrapping paper revealing a small wooden box. Words were etched into the lid which read:
To Hold All Your Hopes And Dreams Sally,
Love Mom And Dad
The box was her seventh birthday gift from her parents. Sally remembered seeing it, with many others, sitting on the table waiting to be opened a week before her birthday the day her parents died. She looked around briefly for Miss Howard, but didn’t see her. She wanted to hug her and thank her for everything. Sally latched onto Alison and Ted and never wanted to let go.
But Sally didn’t see Miss Howard who took care of her like she was her own child, peeking around the corner of the door grinning while crying tears of joy.
Copyright©2012 Craig MacLachlan