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An Essay by Julie Fonda (1 Viewer)

A

Authorette

"Kaitlin"


By Julie Fonda

467 Words







Little Kaitlin is an old soul. She is small, and she is young – somewhere around eight years old – but her childhood was over the day that her little brother, Michael, was born.

Michael is a terror. He is ADHD and ADD and SED and LD and probably a whole lot of other “D’s” that have yet to be discovered. Most of the time, Kaitlin is in charge of Michael because he is too much for their mother to handle. Michael is a drug baby, born addicted to methamphetamine.

The children’s mother is young and attractive, has bleached-blond streaks in her long, straight hair, and wears very tight clothing. She has money and a brand new car, an expensive hairdresser, and a manicurist who files her long acrylic nails by hand, instead using the electric sander they use in the cheaper nail salons. The children’s mother is high class.

The problem is that Kaitlin and Michael’s mother has “picked up” another case. Drug possession, this time. And trafficking. She is doing her jail time on week-ends and attending lots and lots of twelve-step recovery group meetings during the week, dragging her children along for lack of a babysitter. She goes to meetings because the Court is making her.

While the children’s mother sits in her meetings and whines about the disaster of her life, Michael runs wild and screams like a banshee every time someone tries to get him to sit down and be quiet. He won’t play with tinker toys and he shakes his untamed head of hair and bounces up and down in the chair that he is finally made to sit in. His mother expounds on how she always picks the wrong men to father her children. Her life would be better, if it weren’t for the men.

It stresses out Kaitlin when her mother places her in charge of her little brother. When Michael becomes loud and disruptive, Kaitlin tries to shush him and make him stop bouncing in his chair. By the end of a meeting little Michael will have usually worn himself out. He will lay his unruly head in his older sister’s lap and fall asleep standing up. When that happens, Kaitlin will sit on the floor and pull her little brother down into her arms and rock him as he sleeps.

Little Michael looks like an angel when he is sleeping, and Kaitlin wishes that other people could love him the way that she does. When the children’s mother has her next baby, little Michael’s childhood will be arrested, and he will become another child raising a child, just like his older sister.

Children should not know about prison terms and possession charges and drug babies and social workers and recovery houses. But, sadly, all too often, children do.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
a terriby sad, very 'affecting' piece!... there are a few small things i'd fix, if i were you, but the writing overall is pretty good... here are just a couple of the most glaring ones:

Kaitlin and Michael’s mother has “picked up” another case.

...that makes no sense, since from what follows, it seems to refer to having been 'picked up' [i.e., arrested]...

It stresses out Kaitlin

...should be, 'it stresses kaitlin out' to make best sense and read well...

what do you intend to do with this piece?... is it taken from life, or is it a fictional amalgam of so many true sad stories?...

love and hugs, maia
 
A

Authorette

Thanks

Maia,

Thanks for reading my little essay!

I am just starting to put together an anthology of different essays on the disease of addiction. Kaitlin is 100% true. (That poor little girl will be old way before her time.)

I guess that I have worked with addicts for so long that I often forget that they speak "another" language.

"Picked up a case" is a common phrase in the world of addiction. It is a way of disassociating from getting arrested for drug possession, trafficking, etc. and a subtle way of de-criminalizing it.

Instead of saying, "I got arrested for drug possession," they will say, "I picked up another case."

This phrase takes some of the seriousness out of the arrest and almost puts in in the category of:

"I picked up a piece of gum on the bottom of my shoe. No big deal."

Thank you for your suggestions. I will take them to heart.

Julie
 
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