Saturday, February 14, 2009


One of my roommates is an orphan. Her parents died when she was in college with her brother at 19 and her sister at 16.

The situation beckons a consideration of the systemic arbitrariness that left her and her brother to fend for themselves (she had to drop out of college to support herself) while her sister became a foster kid. Fast forward about a year and L, the twenty one year old works full time for a grocery store so that she can pay off debts (from a bout of shopping addiction that left her thousands in the hole), and save up so she can afford to adopt her little sister. She recently found out that her brother was living in a homeless shelter, so she invited him to move in with us. Today her sister came for a rare visit. I wonder if its the first time they've been together since it happened even though they've lived with hours of one another.

The contrast of the three of them is remarkable as the sister spends breakfast sharing wild stories of drunkenness and sexual scandals. L tells her sister she's getting involved with dumb shit. But she listens. I've only talked briefly with the brother, but he comes off as a high school kid--laid back and unambitious.

I think about what it means that they're foster kids... about which statistics they'll end up proving right. I want them to have more of a chance than they do.

The similarities between her situation and mine have not been lost on me over the past couple of months. The sense of having now where to turn if things go wrong. Of not having the time or patience to deal with people our age who can't get that. Maybe I haven't talked to her about personal stuff because I don't know if she'd appreciate me comparing our situations.

I can't help myself.

I've lived with L and I've never heard her laugh as much as they do together.

I remember growing up jealous of my friends with fucked up childhoods that brought them closer to their siblings. Why did mine just make me further from everyone? Why does it still?

Last week, I went on a field trip, and I had no idea who to put on my emergency contact form.

L would never tell me, but she worries. She worries like I worry about my brother. She worries like she has a reason to...

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