Window Smiles

Just as I thought, that family on the other side of the window talking with the nuns wanted to meet my brother and me. Why else would we be wearing our Sunday clothes and told not to run around? But as soon as Sr. Lockart left us alone, we did exactly what she told us not to do. We started running around and wrestling on the floor and we were going at it in full force. We were laughing and pulling at each other like two playful puppies you see through those windows at a pet store.

As I let go of my brother, he would try to pin me down while I was tugging him by his shirt attempting to bring him back down.We were laughing loud enough to catch the attention of the people with the kids on the other side of the curtain window. I continued to straddle my brother sitting on his stomach and happened to look up and see two girls looking back at me smiling.

So I got up and walked over toward the window with my brother trailing behind me to get a better look at them and see if they wanted to play with us. It started out with something like waving back and forth with the younger girl and myself. She seemed to want to play, but we were separated by the windows, and just waved and played peek-a-boo through the curtains.

The other girl was bigger and seemed older, maybe around twelve like my oldest sister Gloria. She was smiling as she continued to tease my brother through the glass by making hand gestures like she was holding a gun shooting at him, and my brother was doing the same back to her. I remember that so clearly as if I’m back in that room as I am telling this story.

Then it happened. The two glass doors suddenly opened up and startled me for a moment because I didn’t expect anyone to be walking in. I remember just standing there not moving, as if my feet were glued to the floor. I don’t even remember what my brother was doing because I was so focused on the face of the man who was looking back at me. He was tall with big hands and his hair was pushed back like my father’s.

I remember his voice was deep as he looked down at me and said hello. I didn’t say anything back. I looked up to the woman next to him and all she did was smile, and when she did, her eyes twinkled like stars. She had wavy dark hair. I remember her skin was a little dark like my real mother’s. But I still refused to say hello and that annoyed Sister Lockhart.

She reminded me that it was impolite not to say hello back. My brother on the other hand was more than happy to say hello. But what did he know? He talked to anyone he met and got in trouble for doing just that when we used to live on 17th street. My mother always yelled at him for talking to strangers by the front lobby where we played with my other brothers. So it wasn’t unusual for him to start yapping away to these people. But I wasn’t having any part of this.

I wanted to leave, and that’s exactly what I told Sister Lockart. But the young girl with the big smile came over to me and asked me my name. I was hesitant to say but told her that it was Michael and she said her name was Sandy. Before I continue, I will not be using anyone’s real name through my stories about this family. All names will be fictitious from here on out.

I have not been in touch with any of them for many years and I am sure we all will continue this practice for the near future. Besides that, I did received legal advice that it would be for my best interest not to use any names, including my family members unless I  receive written permission to do so. Ok, now that that is out of the way, let’s go back to the story.

As she introduced herself to me, the bigger girl walked over and told me her name was Linda and the tall big boy standing next to their father was Benny. He seemed quiet and didn’t say much. But the two sisters were more than happy to talk with my brother and me. The next words that came out of Sister Lockart’s mouth was something I didn’t want to hear.

She told  me that this family wanted to take me back home with them for a couple of days. When she said that, my stomach felt funny, and my body felt like my brother was sitting on me and I couldn’t breath. I did not want to go anywhere with them and you can bet your ass I wasn’t, so I took off out of the room and ran back to my dormitory leaving  my brother behind with that family.

I guess it was every man for himself at that point.  Take him; he’s the chatty one. He would go with anyone who handed him a box of cracker jacks, but not me. I ran so fast down that hallway and up those steps. I ran through St. Peter’s Dorm and opened up the door that led to my dorm and went right to my bed. I was getting out of my Sunday clothes before Sister Lockart arrived.

As nice of a nun as she was, I knew she was going to be mad, but I didn’t want to leave St. Michael’s home. So, I got undressed and put on my day clothes and laid on my bed pressing my hands over my ears, rocking back and forth like I usually did to calm myself down when I was scared. The next thing I heard was a voice calling my name while tugging at my shoulders.  I looked up to see Sister Lockhart.

She wasn’t mad at me like I thought she would be. She sat by my side as she held me telling me with almost a whisper that it would be fine. I just laid there crying. The last thing I remember asking her was…what was going to happen to me now?

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