The rain was falling through the whole night and the drops that fell against my window were loud enough to keep me awake. This was just the reality of living in the attic and the windows were let into the roof. In addition, I could hear the mice running over the wooden floors. A sigh escaped my lips and I tried to block out the noise by pulling the blanket over my head. Surprise... It didn't work. I was kinda used to the mice, but the raindrops sounded like gunfire tonight. I moved to lift my phone and check the time. It was nearly 5 am anyway. So I could just get up anyway...
I quickly moved to the bathroom just outside my room and washed my teeth and my face with the cold water out of the sink. The warm water had been broken for over a year, but the old woman didn't bother to get it fixed. The reflection from the mirror looked tired, the bags under the eyes were quite prominent with their black and blue colour, my brown hair was dull and nearly always tied up into a messy bun. I had no use for making nice hairstyles, they would just get into the way anyway. After getting dressed in my old clothes, I went downstairs and started the cleaning.
The old woman was so dirty, but told everyone that I was the dirty one. She told them I would make the mess and wouldn't clean up after myself, while she had to do it and cook for me and have a full-time job. Apparently everyone believed her, because I felt all the dirty looks and heard the whispers. Some of them even openly confronted me and asked me if I'm not ashamed of myself. You might wonder why I didn't tell them the truth, about mental abuse and how I was absolutely dependent on her. I had no one else.
My parents abandoned me when I was small and I entered the system. That meant I was handed from one foster family to another and all I wanted, was that one day I would get adopted. I was dreaming about this scenario a lot. How this beautiful couple would come in and the mother would see me, starting to tear up and say to her husband, that I just looked like her at that age and that it must be a sign. The dad was strong and caring and they took me home to a beautiful big house with a white picket fence and I got my own room. They loved me and I was happy ever after. The truth was different. The last foster family was the nicest of them all and I guess I could have been happy there till I was old enough to move out and live my own life. They sent me to school and really cared. Nearly as much as a real family would. But shortly before my 15th birthday, something terrible happened. My foster parents went on a date, like they did once a month, and left my two foster siblings and me in the care of a babysitter. Later that evening, the police knocked on the door and told the babysitter and me, the oldest of the foster kids, that our foster parents had an accident. A drunk driver ran over a stop sign and crashed into them.
While my foster father died instantly, our foster mother was in hospital with severe injuries. While we didn't know what would happen to us, the doctors then told us, that even if our foster mother woke up from the coma, she wouldn't be the same person as before. That means the accident left severe damage to her body and mind. The system once again scooped us up and we went back to the orphanage. While my younger foster siblings got easily placed into another family, I had to stay. Apparently, I was too old. Then the old woman came and took me home. She wanted an older girl that could help a bit around the house. It all sounded great. She told me about the cottage she lived in in the countryside and how peaceful it was out there. I was excited and then bitterly disappointed. The truth was, that she was looking for a little house slave. The cottage was run down, dirty and overrun by rats and mice. The peaceful setting was a lie as well. It was in the middle of a busy farm and my excitement about all the animals was quickly put out, as I wasn't allowed to talk to anyone who was working there. I learned after six months, that my old foster mother had woken up from her coma and I was hoping she would want me back. But apparently, her mind was gone and her sister had to place her in an institution that was specialised in looking after heavily disabled people.
The last three years, I worked hard while getting homeschooled and then, when I turned 18, the old woman told me to find a job. A real job where I would earn money. This idea had me excited. This means, I will soon be able to move out of here and have a real life! Reality was different again. I started a job where I had to call people and arrange payments. My wages were taken off me by the old woman. She told me, I can now start to pay off all the money I owed her for the last three years. Of course, she let me keep some, but it was just about enough to pay my phone bill and for the necessary things in life. But there was no money left to put aside, except for a few cents every month, which didn't really add up at all.
This morning, after I had cleaned the kitchen and downstairs, I went back into my room and put on my good work clothes, brushed my hair and put it into a high ponytail. I didn't want to leave it, as there was no cut in it. I haven't seen a hairdresser since I moved to the old woman. I didn't own any make-up, so I didn't have to bother with it. I just put on some earrings that I have owned for forever. By the time I went back downstairs, the old woman was already waiting for me. “Why do you always take so long to get ready? If you aren't ready to leave for work on time, you have to get up earlier!” Her watery blue eyes sent me piercing looks and I just mumbled and apologised and climbed into the car beside her. While looking out of the window and watching the beautiful Irish countryside fly past the window, I was once more wishing I would have a nice life, where I could travel and enjoy nature. But the smell in the car, that came from the old woman, brought me quickly back to reality. I sighed and looked at my hands, folded in my lap for the rest of the drive.