Jean knew that it wouldn’t be long before she would seek her revenge from her foster parents who had two dirty-looking sons. When the authorities came, she gave her word and off she went to another family.
Jean constantly picked her teacher’s brain to learn new vocabulary. This time around, she learned a new phrase ‘look at the bright side.’ So, when she moved to a new foster family, Jean kept repeating it to herself, “look at the bright side, I get to choose between families.”
The women with the child service authorities told Jean that her mother was working on sobering up and getting a job so that she could have her custody back. Jean wasn’t very sure if that was a nice idea.
This time around, she had to move to the north of the state, so she couldn’t go back to her old school, which meant no Rachel and no Miss Mini. That part disturbed her down to her bones because this time around she had to be between complete strangers including a new school. And there was nothing more unnerving than making new friends.
Just as she feared, no one wanted to be Jean’s friend. So, she sat at the back of the class, half of the time itching her head to make sense of the new people in her surroundings. Her new family gave her a little room with everything pink in it. They also got a set of pink sneakers and that’s where Jean got her name, ‘the girl in the pink shoes.’ Nobody at the new school called her by her name. Everyone called her the girl in the pink shoes.
Some would say, “Hey you, the girl in the pink shoes, give me your pencil.” Others would say, “Ugh… no! It’s not pro-noun-ci-a-tion, it’s pro-nun-cia-tion.” There was always some fault that they would pick in her language or vocabulary. Jean gave up learning new words too. At that time, she had no one to tell her the meaning of ‘decipher’ and nobody to tell her a good synonym for ‘amazing.’
She would sit in her pink room all day and miss her friends. She even missed her fat teacher. But she didn’t fear anything. She was just waiting for another bright flip so that she could go back to her old school and be the person that she was. She waited in silence.
When the time came, Jean complained about the family again. She continued to so for a long time until she lived with a new family in every few months. Some were good, they would let her have pizza and cookies. They even let her scoop a bite of rice in a bite of milky bread. Others were outright rude, blaming her for any harm to their fuse bulbs or for termites in their cupboard.
Those kind of people reminded Jean of her parents who fought a lot. They fought each other and screamed at Jean too. At one moment, they would thank the God for having Jean. And, at other times, they would question about her existence, never bothering about her hearing it. Jean just rolled her eyes back then.