Caitlin | Teen Ink


February 3, 2011
By EmilyGrace BRONZE, That town, South Dakota
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EmilyGrace BRONZE, That Town, South Dakota
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Favorite Quote:
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot: Christian martyr in Ecuador

Hello again, this is Caitlin. Today I have made a decision that I am going to move on with my life. Every day I walk through the city streets, waiting for someone to want to get to know me. Wanting someone to come and ask me my name or how old I am, but for the past few months it seems like people don’t even know I exist! So I have decided that tomorrow I am getting out of this town and going to my dad’s house. I really wish that the people in this town the best of luck on whatever they are doing that is so important that they don’t even notice me! ☹ Anyway, I hope that they will learn to be more accepting in the future of new individuals that appear in their town, and if I ever decide to come back, I hope they will accept me and invite me in so I feel welcome.

Yesterday I know I said I was going to leave today but my mom is staying home sick so I have to take care of her and make sure she doesn’t get drunk and do something stupid. I am going to go to my dad’s house in Branson, Missouri. I am leaving for sure in two days so we have time to get ready. I say we because I decided I am going to bring my little sister, Josie, along on this trip. I wouldn’t want to leave her alone with my mother. Josie always has to hide and that is why she is so quiet. I can hardly get her to talk to me. Diary, you know why I am leaving from my previous writings but my mom will probably never know. Since my mom and dad got a divorce in 1993, my mom doesn’t know where my dad lives, but I do. Every month he sends me letters about where he is living or where he is working. My mom doesn’t know a thing about these letters because she is too lazy to go and get the mail in the morning. I haven’t seen my dad since their divorce, but I will be glad to get away from my mom. I really wish that my mom would grow up and learn how to be a loving, and caring mother instead of making Josie curl up and hide every time she walks through the door. Josie has seen what has happened to me when she comes home and I am accidentally in her way. I think my mom has even forgotten that she has another daughter besides me. I am going to take my sister with me because if I didn’t, she wouldn’t have anyone to take the beatings for her and she would hardly be able to live through a year with that kind of treatment. I told my sister about leaving the house tomorrow morning before my mom wakes up at 11 o’ clock a.m. I think Josie is in the basement packing all of her few belongings. She is 9 years old. I was only 9 when it happened. My dad went out one night and he saw my mom at a bar. She was sitting next to a large, mean looking guy. My dad was pretty strong so he went in there and told her it was time to go. Well, the other guy didn’t like that his new “lover” was being taking away by my dad. He got up and tried to grab my mom but in his state of drunkenness he grabbed a support pillar that he thought was my mom. My dad picked my mom up and ran out of there trying to avoid a fight. That night, my mom was really mad at him because she said that he didn’t let her have any fun. I thought it was a good thing that he got her out of there before she did anything bad, but she just kept hollering and so in the morning my mom told my dad that she wanted to get divorced. That morning she went and got the legal papers for a divorce. I wasn’t exactly happy about this, but I wasn’t devastated because I was sure I was going to get to stay with my loving father. Somehow my mom got the legal papers to keep me and my sister. When I heard about what had happened, I was not in the least bit happy and neither was my dad. He tried to let us stay with him, but the authorities just wouldn’t allow it. So 7 years later, I am running away from home to go find my father. I feel kind of bad for my mom because I am the one who pretty much ran the house and took care of her, so now that I’m leaving I don’t know how she’ll survive. I hope that if she really needs help, she will get in touch with my dad somehow.

Today I am packing so I am ready to leave. Josie is also packing her stuff, a few outfits of clothes, a blanket, and an old teddy bear. That teddy bear was mine when I was little. My dad gave it to me right before we left, so every time I look at it I would think of him. I gave it to her so she would know that I really trusted her and wanted her to know I still loved her. I am packing all of my clothes, some blankets, and in a separate bag all of the little food we have at the time. I kind of feel bad because I am taking from my mom and I am also taking some money so we can provide for ourselves on the trip. Josie is done packing. so I am going to make sure that she has all of her stuff and that she has it hidden away so my mom won’t find it. Good-bye for now, but I will make sure to write before I leave in the morning. We won’t be too hurried because Mom wakes up really late. Talk to you in the morning!

This is it. My little sister and I are just moments away from leaving. I am all packed and ready to go. I have all of my belongings packed in one bag and in another I have packed all of the food that we have right now except for a few things that my mother can eat tonight for supper. I also have some money that I have been saving up from various jobs that I have worked at over the years. I also have some of my mom’s money and I kind of feel bad about that because it feels like I am stealing. Oh well, I probably will be glad that I have it after we have traveled for a while. I am also taking my mom’s car. She has a pickup truck, so I am not too worried about that. I have my route all planned out. Today we will drive to Oklahoma City and spend the night there in the cheapest hotel that we can find. Then tomorrow, hopefully we can make it up to Springfield. On Tuesday we will drive straight south to my dad’s house in Branson, Missouri. If the trip goes as planned, we should be safe at our new home by Tuesday afternoon. It feels weird to call his house home since I haven’t seen him in 7 whole years! It sounds like my little sister is ready to go, so I will talk to you when we reach Oklahoma City. Wish us luck!

We made it to Oklahoma City. Our ride here was pretty uneventful except I got pulled over by a police officer for an age check. That really scared me. My first thought was that my mom had told the police to be looking for me, but I dismissed that thought as soon as it was in my head because she probably won’t know we are even gone until she gets home from work tonight. Then I thought I might have been speeding, and that was a scary thought because that means I would have to pay a fine and that would use up a lot of our money that we need for gas and food. I didn’t think that I was speeding because I was being extra careful not to go too fast so I wouldn’t get pulled over. When the officer came up to my window, I was probably shaking really bad and I think that made him be a little more kind. When he asked to see my license, I got kind of scared because I thought I might have forgotten it at my house. It was still in my wallet so that relieved me. When he saw it, he said, “Okay thanks. I was just doing an age check. Sorry for wasting your time.” That relieved me so much that I let out my breath a little too nosily and so he heard it. He looked at me a little strangely but then walked away. That wasn’t very good because now he will remember my face and if for some reason someone is looking for me ( my mom?) and if they give them a picture of me, he will recognize me and probably will be able to locate me. That was about the only exciting thing that happened on the way here. We have just checked into our hotel and are now getting ready for bed. Josie has asked that I brush her hair and tell her a bedtime story because she has heard other little girls talking about their moms doing that and since our mom is a drunk, she hasn’t ever had that pleasure. I am really excited. If everything goes as planned, in two days we will be settling into our new beds at my dad’s house. I am getting homesick just thinking about it. I can’t help thinking about what my mom is thinking about right now. Is she sad or happy? Mad or excited? Inside I hope that she is really sad and she misses us, but deep down inside I have a feeling that she hasn’t even noticed that we are gone yet. If she hasn’t realized it, when will she? I am going to go brush Josie’s hair. Then go to bed. Talk to you in the morning.

It is only 7 o’clock but my sister and I are both awake and getting ready to go. After we are all packed, I am going to go down and check out of our hotel room and get back on the road. Last night I couldn’t get to sleep for a while because I kept thinking that for some reason the city of Keller was really disturbed because of something, something that I did. I can’t think what it might have been except, well maybe. No, nobody noticed me. Of course they aren’t looking for me. It was just a thought. But there was that one girl... One day I was walking by the empty lot that all of the town kids play at. As I was walking, one of the kids kicked a ball and it landed on the street pretty close to me. I thought about picking it up and throwing it to them, but I dismissed that thought immediately. A little girl about Josie’s age ran to go get it. As she bent down to pick it up, our eyes met and I guess nobody told her not to act friendly to me. She looked at me and gave me a friendly smile that seemed to last forever even though it probably only took a few seconds. When she went back to play, everybody walked over to her and it looked like they were talking… about me! They kept looking over at me with odd expressions on their faces. It couldn’t be; that was only one time and it was a long time ago. They probably have already forgotten about it. But then there was that article in the newspaper.
By Reporter Peter Johnson
Usually, as the local kids are out playing games in the empty lot, a strange girl will walk by all alone and not try to participate in anything or get the kids’ attention. She has been doing this for a few months, but last night for some unknown reason, she didn’t appear on the street at all. One of the witnesses of this is Josiah Peterson, one of the kids present last night. “While we were in the middle of a game, someone yelled out that this girl hadn’t passed by yet.” he said. For these kids this was quite strange because she always comes down this street in the evenings. The kids decided to go and look for this “unknown” girl. They went running down the streets asking anyone and everyone if they had seen this girl. Everyone had noticed that she was gone and they didn’t know where they went, so they said no when the kids asked them if they knew where she was. The kids decided to go check the park and the church, but she was nowhere to be found. This search is still in session and if you have any information about her, please call your local newspaper.
That makes me feel really good, but I am sad that it took my disappearance for them to notice me but they didn’t really see where I was. They just noticed where I wasn’t! Oh well, if they had noticed me earlier, they would have said something to me. Josie is all ready to go and soon we will be on our way. I will try to talk to you when we get to Springfield.

I am really creeped out about what I have found out. On our way to Oklahoma City I noticed a big, black pickup truck following us. I didn’t think much of it because a lot of people were driving on the same road as us. Only, I noticed the same truck was still following us. I stopped at an old gas station and the truck followed us there. I looked over at the person in the truck, and I tried to see her through the window of her car but because the windows were tinted I couldn’t make out any of her features except that it had to be a female. I got a little worried then, and I started to watch the truck more as we traveled. When we pulled into Springfield to get something to eat, I noticed the same black truck was driving by. As we stepped into the restaurant, I saw that the truck had turned around and was just pulling into the parking lot as we were opening the door. This was really scaring me, but I was also getting really annoyed by this person. I mean, she has been following us for a few days and she won’t even let us see who she is! I was contemplating whether or not to wait by the door to see if she got out of her car and if so, go out meet her face to face. I realized that it would be way too dangerous if I did, so I just watched to see if anybody got out of the car but after a few moments Josie came up to me and asked what I was doing. I didn’t want to tell her because it would probably scare her, and I don’t think that she needs anything else on her mind right now. Unlike me she actually had some really good friends and having to leave them all of a sudden has put her in a really down-cast mood. I feel sorry for her even though I never felt a true friendship since I was in 3rd grade and that was only for a few months because I had to move with my mom after their divorce. I had promised Josie that I would not let her grow up like me and she wouldn’t have to suffer all the pain that I had to suffer through but here she is, having to leave her parent when she is only a few months into her 3rd grade year. I just hope that the outcome of this move for her is much, much better than the outcome of my move when I was her age. Getting back to the story, after she asked me what I was doing I just said, “Nothing,” and told her that we were going to just go and get some food at the store and then eat it somewhere else. Luckily the truck wasn’t following us as we left, and I didn’t see it while we were at the store. On our way home from the grocery store, I started to think about what were the most important questions that needed answering.
1. Who is the person that is following us?
2. Why is this person following us?
3. What is it that set them on our trail?
I think that those are the most important questions and I can’t even start to guess what the answers are to any of them. We decided to eat at our hotel instead of anywhere else. We drove to our hotel and ate our supper. Obviously it wasn’t the greatest supper I had ever had, but it would do. Once we were done eating, we decided to go to bed. It was only 7 o’clock, but we were both really tired. Sleeping would probably also helped me to sort out my thoughts about this” stranger in the black truck.” I am hoping to be able to talk to you before we leave in the morning for my dad’s house. I am so excited! If everything goes as planned, in the next twenty-four hours I am going to be sleeping in my new bed at my new house with my new parent! He isn’t exactly my new parent, but you know what I mean. Thinking like that will probably keep me up all night but whatever. Good Night!

As you can see, we didn’t quite make it to my dad’s house today, but we are almost there! Nothing happened today except the normal stuff. We woke up, drove, were followed by the mysterious truck and went to our hotel to sleep. The reason we didn’t make it to Branson is because half-way there, our truck got a flat tire. but it turned out that it had a hole in it so we had to go and buy a whole new tire and that took a few hours. The tire cost a lot of money so now we don’t only have enough money for a few more days. That means that if we don’t make it to my dad’s house tomorrow, we have to sleep in the truck and that could be risky with this black pickup truck always following us. They may not be dangerous, but then again they might be looking for the right moment to capture us! Wow, I better stop thinking like that or my worry might show and Josie would see it and ask me what is wrong and then what would I tell her? Someone is following us? No that would only scare her. Oh well. As you might have noticed, it is almost my 17th birthday! If all goes as planned, I will be having a birthday with my dad. I am actually starting to wonder if my mom really likes it without us. If she hasn’t come looking for us yet, will she ever come? I don’t know, I guess I kind of want her to look for us. I don’t want her to forget about us; I want her to show that she really does care about us. I might have been just wishing for that stuff, but I now realize I really, really want it to happen. I will write to you in the morning.

Today we are hopefully going to arrive at my father’s house and we might just be spending the night there. I am really excited because as you know I haven’t seen him in almost 8 years. I guess it isn’t as exciting for Josie because she doesn’t remember him because she was only a year old. I am really excited, and I hope that he is there when we get to his house. I brought along his last letter because it told me what his exact address is, 313 Maple Avenue. I am not really sure what part of it’s on but once we get there, I can ask for a map of Branson. I will talk to you when we stop next which will hopefully be when we are in Branson and are on our way to go and see my dad.

We’ve made it to Branson! Everything here is big (compared to my town at least). All of the buildings are big, the cars are big and even a lot of the people are big. We are at a restaurant eating lunch. After we finish, we will try to find a gas station so we can find a map of the city so we can find Maple Avenue. I just can’t wait to finally get to see my dad. I can’t help thinking that something is going to go wrong. My dad isn’t going to be there or he is really different from what I remember him to be, or worse. Maybe he won’t want to keep us and then he might send us away. Back to where we came from! No. I can’t think about that stuff right now. I will just have to follow this through and hope for the best. But then there is the problem with this mysterious woman that has been following us. I think that once we reach my dad’s house, she will have the sense to leave us alone. We are just about done with our lunch so I will talk to you whenever I have the chance to.

I don’t really know what to say. It has been a long time since I wrote to you, but so much has been going on and I was so confused that I didn’t even think about writing to you. I will do my best to tell you what happened. I might as well start when we were on our way to a gas station. We were driving around town looking for one that had maps of Branson. As we were driving around, I saw the same pickup truck that has been following us this entire time. It was parked in front of a gas station, so I decided to park in the parking lot across the street. As I was pulling in, the front doors of the shop opened, but since the pickup was in my way I couldn’t see who it was but whoever it was got into the pickup truck and drove away. I almost started to follow it, but I decided to see if the gas station had a map of Branson first. Josie and I walked into the store and asked the cashier if they carried any maps of Branson. They did, so I sat down on a bench and started to look for Maple Avenue. It was close to the middle of town and that meant we were close. I thanked the man, and then we went and got into our car. As I was driving towards Maple Avenue, I noticed the pickup drive by slowly but I was too excited to be so close to finally finding my dad. I kept driving up and down Maple Avenue but there was no 313 Maple Avenue. Then I noticed that the pickup was following me a couple block s behind. This scared me because I thought they might be someone who is trying to find out where I was going to spend the night. I tried to get them to stop following me by suddenly turning the corner onto another street but they still followed me. I decided to just find my dad’s house really fast and then drive around town for a little while and then go and see him. I kept driving up and down Maple Avenue, but there wasn’t any house with the address of 313. It was almost supper time so I decided to try to get away from this truck. Once the truck wasn’t following us anymore, we drove to a restaurant. I was starting to get worried because our money was about to run out. As we were eating, the same pickup pulled up. I was watching it really closely to see who would come out. This was definitely the most surprising part of the entire trip. You will never guess who stepped out of that truck. It was my mom!!!!! I wasn’t happy surprised; I was horror-filled surprised. When I saw my mom, I almost fell out of my chair. I looked over at Josie and then I pointed to mom. A look of horror came over her face, and I am sure that I had somewhat of the same face on. She walked up to the door and just walked in. I hardly recognized her. She was wearing clean, nice clothes for once and they weren’t even stained with alcohol. She did have bags under her eyes and she dragged her feet a little. I could tell that she hadn’t given up drinking completely, but she at least was trying. I started to get worried because I didn’t want her to see us. We started to get up so we could hide, but before we got anywhere she looked straight at us and then she smiled. It wasn’t even a mean smile. It actually looked liked she cared about us. She kind of awkwardly walked over to us. I was really confused right then, but I did what I used to do almost every day. I got up and stood in front of Josie to protect her and somewhat keep her out of view but my mom didn’t look mad; if anything she looked rather happy. She uncomfortably sat down and she couldn’t really look at us straight in the eyes.
After a few moments, she said,” I have to apologize for how I treated you the past few years. I was hurting really bad inside and the easiest solution seemed to be to just get drunk and forget about everything else.” What she said was not at all what I was expecting. I was still a little wary, but I did loosen up a little and start to listen to what she was saying. She continued, saying, “After you two left that morning, I realized my mistake and I guessed where you were going and I decided to follow you.”
This confused me greatly so I asked her,” How did you know where we were going?”
After a few moments of silence she quietly said, “It was me who was writing those letters to you, not your father.”
“What!” I said a little too loudly because a few people looked our way. I didn’t want to believe her. I didn’t want to think that I had been tricked, that the only sure thing in my life was a fraud.
My mom looked at me and said,” I know that this isn’t what you want to hear right now but yes, I was the one writing those letters every month. I wanted you to have some joy in life even if I couldn’t provide it myself. I decided to pretend to be your dad. I could tell that you missed him a lot, and I wanted to give you hope that someone really cared about you.”
This confused me because how could she have written those letters? She was always drunk or she was at work. I asked,” When did you write those letters and how can you expect me to believe that you cared enough about us to write them in the first place?”
She had to think for a while before answering,” I wrote those letters to you whenever I had a little bit of spare time at work. I realize that you must really hate me for what I did to you and Josie. I was so mad at myself for getting drunk again, and I guess that I always took it out on you guys.”
I wasn’t all that satisfied with her answer because it wasn’t a good excuse that she was mad at herself so she beat her children. I told her this, but she just apologized. Then I asked her,” If it really was you writing to me, then what happened to my dad?”
As I asked this, mom started to get teary eyed. This worried me a lot. After a pause so she could regain her composure, she said,” It was only about a year after we got the divorce. I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t think that you needed any more pressure on you right then. I am sorry that I haven’t told you yet, but I guess we had to talk about it sometime. One day as your dad was driving to work, a semi-truck unexpectedly pulled around the corner. It wasn’t your dad’s fault. He was at a stop sign. No one else was there at the time; he had the right of way. He started driving across and a semi was speeding down the same road, and since your father was looking at the road ahead of him, he didn’t have enough time to react. The semi crashed into him at 50 mph in a 30 mph zone. The semi ran over your dad’s car, crushing everything that was inside...”
I just couldn’t believe my ears. My dad was dead! “So everything that I thought was true over the past few years, getting letters from my dad, you were a selfish, abusive mother, and my dad was actually alive, has all been wrong?!?!?!?” I think that maybe the second statement that I made might have been a little too hard on her right then, but at that moment, I thought that she deserved it. I thought differently later, though, after I had cooled down a little bit. While this was all going on, Josie had sneaked off to another table and sat down. Quiet and unnoticed as usual. At this moment she did something very unexpected and undeserved, I thought, on my mom’s part. She came over gave my mom a kiss on the cheek and sat down on her lap. I almost screamed at her. I know why she did that. Because she has spent almost her entire life hiding and she hasn’t had to suffer the pain of being beaten up by mom. I got really mad at her and I told her to get down because I didn’t want her to get hurt. Obviously this was a little uncalled for because it wasn’t my right to tell her to get off of her mother’s lap just because I was mad at my mom. It was as if I was jealous of her for getting to do what I have been longing to do for so long but have never gotten to do because I was too scared to even get close to her for fear of being struck. My mom had a weird look on her face, but it wasn’t a look of anger or fear or even bewilderment. It was a look of joy and it looked so strange to me because I had never seen that look on her face before. I just sat there for a moment.
Josie looked at me and said,” Caitlin, why don’t you just forgive her?” Then I looked at her weird and said to Josie, “Are you out of your mind! This is the woman that has beaten and bruised me for your sake and you are asking me to forgive her because of what she did to me because of you!! Well get this, I am not going to forgive her because I don’t think that she deserves it. I am not in a forgiving mood!” I think she was shocked and hadn’t realized that I was actually getting beaten, at least 75% of the time because of her. The mess she made, the noise she was making, or the food she didn’t make. I could tell she realized this because she got this ashamed look on her face.
My mom stepped in here.” Caitlin, I am so sorry about what I did to you. I cannot find the right words to say to you that can show you that I really am sorry.” This is where I made a mistake. I said to her,” I don’t care about either of you anymore.” And I just walked out of there. I didn’t say anything else. I just walked out of there leaving Josie in the hands of my mom. I hopped into the car and started to drive away, but I had hardly any gas. I tried to find a gas station that was really close on the map but I couldn’t find one. So I decided to just walk around town for a little bit. It would actually decrease their chances of finding me and it would give me time to think. I started walking towards Maple Avenue just because I still didn’t want to accept the fact that my dad was dead. Once I had almost reached the end of the street, the famous black pickup started driving down the street. Instead of the impulse to run and hide, an overwhelming sense to step in front of the car right as it was about to reach me came upon me. I had noticed that they hadn’t seen me yet, so I hid behind a parked car until the pickup was close enough that they couldn’t stop if I ran out towards it. When they were almost close enough, I realized what I was doing but for some stupid reason I pushed that thought away as I dashed out in front of the car. I don’t know why I did that to this day but for some reason I did. Mom realized that she was driving straight towards me. She slammed on the breaks and swerved to try and dodge me, but she was too late. She hit me at about 25 mph and I now know that that accident caused me 5 broken ribs, a badly injured left hip and leg, and, hopefully not, maybe a lifetime in a wheelchair! ☹ I also have a pain in my right side. I found out that after my mom hit me, I blacked out. My mom, thinking I was dead when I didn’t respond, called the hospital and they came with an ambulance and picked me up. When we got to the hospital, I had to go into the ER and find out what was wrong with me. Other than the things I listed above, I also had a minor concussion, bruises all over my body and a horrible, throbbing headache. The doctors say that the concussion didn’t hurt me too bad. I am now on medication for the pain and I feel like a mummy because of all the casts that I am wearing. Both my mom and Josie are sitting here beside me. My mom thinks that it is all her fault because she didn’t stop fast enough. I have been in the hospital for 12 days now and am aching to get back home. During that time period, I have sat in my hospital bed, played games with Josie, and have gotten pricked and prodded on almost every place you can imagine. Once I do get home, it will be very awkward living with my mom again after I tried to run away from her. I still have a lot of questions for her though. I am really hoping that I will come out of this hospital without being in a wheelchair. The doctors say that if I am lucky, I will be out of here within the next few days. I would have already died of boredom if it weren’t for Josie. She and my mom are staying at a hotel just across the street. Every day after she gets up she comes over here and she plays games with me. We usually play card games. One of my favorite games that we have played is called “war”. I like this game because you can never know what is going to happen next. It is almost time for my check-up so I better go now. Bye!

You know what I just realized? Today is my birthday! I had completely forgotten about it since of all of this stuff that has been going on. It just didn’t seem all that important compared to everything else. I guess everyone else forgot about it too. Oh well … I will just keep quiet and if anyone remembers then good for them, but if no one does, then it is alright by me. Nothing much has gone on today except that Josie came over here at about 10:30 and had to leave to go eat lunch about 20 minutes ago. I had chicken nuggets for lunch today. One of my favorite things about being in the hospital is that you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to cook or clean or do the laundry or anything. Everyone is taking care of you and all you have to do is lay back and get better. I am expecting some nurse or someone to come in to get my lunch tray, and then I will ask them if I can watch a movie. Another great thing is that I have a TV and a DVD player in my room and that means that whenever I feel like watching TV or a movie, I can just call in a nurse and ask them to either find a movie that I can watch or turn on the TV. I will see you later because I think that I hear the nurse coming down the hall.

I guess everyone didn’t forget about my birthday today. When I wrote earlier I told you that I thought that it was the nurse coming down the hall, it was really my mom and Josie! They came and brought balloons and cake and ice cream, and they even brought presents. Most of them were things that I could do to pass the time, like movies and games but some of them were really nice. My mom got me this really nice I-pod and sweet little Josie had actually listened when I had complained about how I hated that during the night it got freezing in my room. She went out and bought a big, fluffy, warm blanket and some cozy pajamas. It was so sweet of her to think about that, and I told her that I would try them out tonight (if the nurses think they are sanitary enough) and tell her how they worked in the morning. It turned out to be a really great day. My mom just left to go and see if it was alright for me to wear my new pajamas and if they could wash the blanket so they knew it was clean. Josie is looking over all the stuff Mom got me. Most of the stuff consists of card games and board games but some of them are electronic games like Hangman and some word games like Scrambler where you have to unscramble the words and then there are other games like Tetris. That game is really fun. Josie is over there playing it right now, but once she is done I am going to ask if I can play. What I can’t figure out is how my mom could afford all this stuff. It’s not like she had all that money before she left, and she has been on the road following us the rest of the time. Unless she saved up a lot of money when she and dad were still married and kept it all these years. She might have done that. That is also another thing that I am wishing to ask her about. Josie is now done with the game and is moving on to Hangman. I will hopefully talk to you in the morning.

I am not feeling that great today. Last night, before I went to sleep, the doctor gave me some weird pill that was supposed to do something for my headache. I think it worked for my headache, but it made my stomach hurt worse. I told the doctor this, but he just said that it was a reaction to the pill and that it should go away really soon. I believed him because he is the expert here and I trust him. Even though he said it would go away, I am still worried a little bit because the pain has been increasing and right now it hurts really bad! It has moved to my right side of my stomach and I hope that it goes away really soon. I almost asked him for some pain killer, but then I thought that that might hurt my stomach even more. I got really bored today because Josie and Mom had to go somewhere. I think they went grocery shopping and so I haven’t seen anyone in almost 2 hours. I think I am going to call a nurse and ask her to come up here so I can talk to her. Hey, it’s better than nothing. Talk to you later.

I did actually ask a nurse to come up and talk to me. I didn’t really know what to talk about, so I asked her to tell me about one of her most interesting cases. She couldn’t really answer the question because she had only started working here a few weeks earlier. She did however tell me about the worst case she had seen. Apparently someone had been working at a construction site. They were building a big metal frame for something. Someone that was working on the top of it had somehow knocked one of the big poles off of its rack. It fell and hit someone on the head and knocked them unconscious. They were immediately sent to the hospital, and at that time she was just a nurse that went and got stuff for the doctors. She was passing by an empty room and she decided that she should clean it because she didn’t have anything else to do. While she was cleaning it, another nurse came in and told her to finish up really fast because they had a patient that was in need of some immediate help. She was just finishing up when the patient came in. It was a male. He was about 6’ 5’’ and was a heavier man. His legs were twisted up in weird angles and they were all bruised and his head was smashed on the top. She said it was a really upsetting sight, and I am not going into much more detail.
Then she just stood up and said that she had to go. That was all the excitement of my day. I found out that the guy died later that day. They said he had a little girl who was about Josie’s age, and he had another daughter who was only 8 months old. I can’t believe how hard that would have been to lose a father before you really knew him. I guess Josie had that happen to her too. I will talk to you in the morning.

I haven’t really done anything today because I have been really, really tired. That is weird because I got a lot of sleep last night. I have been really bored, but I did play some of the games that I got at my birthday. Other than those things I have just slept. I will talk to you when I can.

I am still tired today, but the doctor can’t find out why. He thinks that I have just been lying around too long and that I should try to walk around a little more. I would try to walk more, but my stomach hurts really bad when I do. I think I should probably tell a nurse this.

I talked to the doctor about why my stomach hurt and he said that it was because I might have the stomach flu. I really hate this because this means that I will have to stay here even longer. I am not feeling that good so I can’t write that much today. I am going to go to bed right now so I will talk to you in a little bit.

Today I am feeling a little bit better so I will tell you what has been going on. My doctor took another test to make sure it was the stomach flu, but I guess it came back negative. This got him really worried so he did a bunch of tests to try to find out what I have. He is really worried that some kind of infection is growing somewhere in my stomach. I really hope it is something that we can get rid of fast. I am not all that tired right now, so I guess I will try to walk around like he told me to. Nothing has really gone on today except I got a few more tests done. Talk to you later.

I used to really hate shots and I still don’t like the thought of shots, but I have gotten over the fear of needles being poked into my skin. I have gotten so many shots over the past week that I don’t even care anymore. I am still not feeling that great, and the doctor hasn’t found out what I have yet. I can guess that he thinks that I have some really bad infection growing and that is why he keeps telling me not to worry about anything and he keeps talking to the nurses in hushed tones after he takes a test on me. I want to know everything, and I am going to ask him to be straightforward about what is going on with me. I will hopefully get to tell you something by tomorrow.

I feel as if I am going to die, and I guess I just might. I talked to the doctor about what I actually had and I am not very happy with what he told me. He said that they had been taking these tests to see if my appendix had burst and had started an infection. That would explain why my stomach hurt so bad. Then he said that the last test that he had sent in had come back positive. That is a really bad thing if you didn’t know. That means that, yes, my appendix did explode and it is right now sending out a very harmful, possibly deadly, infection. This is horrible news because this means that if I am not lucky, I will soon die. I am crying as I write this because this means that most likely I will die and I will never be able to spend another day with my sister Josie and I won’t be able to see my little town of Keller again. I am about as sad as I can get because I can’t do anything about it. I will try to talk to you when I can get a hold of myself.

I am hoping that my mom and sister will come here soon. They haven’t come for a really long time. They do call me and send me letters, but I want to see them in person. I do understand that they can’t come here every day, but they should at least come here once a week. I still have that pain in my stomach and I am feeling bad because I haven’t told my mom and sister about my stomach yet. It isn’t exactly my fault. They haven’t been here for a while and I want to tell them in person. I am really tired so I am going to go to sleep. Talk to you later.

My mom actually showed up today. I guess that she and Josie had drove back to Keller and had fixed up the place and tried to air it out. My mom didn’t smoke, but our house still smelled really bad. She said that they did this so that by the time I got home, the house would be a better place to live. Josie was glad to get to see some of her friends. I feel really bad that I may not even get to go and see the house since it looks so good. I told my mom about what the doctor thinks happened. She was really shocked. Then she started crying and I felt really bad that I hadn’t told her earlier. I think that she felt bad because she hadn’t visited me for a while. She promised me that she would come here every day. Josie was still asleep and she didn’t want to wake her up, but she said that she wouldn’t let her sleep in anymore so she could come and see me. I hope that they stick to their promises. I asked that my mom tell Josie because I don’t think that I could handle seeing her reaction if I told her I might die soon. The thought of that still scares me a lot. I know this probably sounds corny but I DON’T WANT TO DIE!!!!!!! I feel as if I am not going to get to do anything ever again. I know that it is possible that I will survive and I keep hoping for that, but with this pain and everything else that is going on, I don’t think that I should get my hopes up too high. Now if the doctor comes and tells me that there is a treatment for me that works on 99.9% of patients, then I might get a sliver of hope. I am not hoping for much except that I am able to at least go back to Keller and see our house. I might even want to just jokingly walk on my old route down the street and see what happens. I am going to call a nurse up to see if my doctor is able to talk to me about some questions I have. I will talk to you whenever I feel like it. I am sorry if my entries get shorter and shorter. I am getting tired more easily now, so I can’t write and much as I used to be able to. Bye.

Today I have actually gotten a little boost of energy and was able to take a short walk through the hospital. As I was walking, I noticed some of the people in the rooms. Most of them were the elderly but I walked past a room that had a little infant in it. It wasn’t on the floor where babies are born, so I knew something was wrong with it. I tried to take a closer look, but a nurse came out of there with a very solemn look on her face. She came up to me and asked if I was related to the child. I said no, and she started looking around for someone who was. I peeked in over her shoulder and there was a machine that read the baby’s heart rate. As I was looking over her shoulder, the heart beat was very faint. Then it just stopped. I knew enough about that stuff to realize that this meant the baby had died. I had started crying because here there was a tiny little baby, one of the most adorable things I had seen and it was already dead. Here I was complaining about not being able to live the rest of my life, but this baby wasn’t able to live any of its life. The worst thing I think is that its parents weren’t even around when it died. They didn’t get to say goodbye. They didn’t get to hold their baby one last time before it took its final breath. This really got to me and I have been thinking about it all day. I don’t think that I will ever complain about not living any more if I keep thinking about the baby. I was crying when the doctor came in. He thought something was really wrong with me and he started asking me all these questions. I finally got him to slow down and I told him about the scene that I saw. He just looked at me and smiled. He said that it is really tough to have to see those young lives lost every day. It hurts him too, but he has learned to control his emotions on the outside even though he is crying on the inside. That was the only thing that happened except that my mom and Josie came in. My mom slowly opened the door and Josie rushed in and jumped up on my bed and hugged me. I could tell she was crying because my shoulder started getting wet. My mom pulled her off of me and told her she might hurt me. That scared her and asked me if I was okay. I told her she didn’t hurt me and I was actually doing great that day. I didn’t want to tell her about the baby because that would just make her cry even more. I have noticed that since my mom caught up with us, Josie has been talking a lot more. I am really glad that she started talking again. I enjoy hearing her voice often. I have written a lot and am getting tired. I am going to go to sleep.

I guess all of my energy was used up yesterday. Today I am just exhausted even though I slept for like 13 hours. You would think that I would be well rested but I’m not. I am more tired than ever. I can’t write very much, so I will give you a really quick rundown of what went on today. First my mom and Josie came. We just talked a little; then I had to take a nap. After I woke up, I watched a movie. I guess I fell asleep during the movie because the credits were rolling when I woke up. A nurse came in and took the DVD out and shut off the lights to my room, and since I didn’t have anything else to do, I fell asleep again. So I have slept about ¾ of my day and I am still tired. I am going to take a nap, and then I will talk to you when I wake up.

I’m sorry that I didn’t get to talk to you last night but I was too tired and I slept through the entire night. I am not as tired, but I am still really tired. Nothing has gone on today so I can’t really write anything. I will talk to you later.

I don’t know why, but I started thinking about that baby that I saw a few days ago. I was mainly thinking about what I could do to get rid of that thought. I thought that, if I actually grow up, I might try to become a doctor. I think it would be really good for me to be able to help people like me get through whatever they are sick with. Now I have a good reason to fight through this. I hope that I will make it, so I can help people. I don’t even care what will happen to me in the near future or what I will have to go through as long as I make it through and am able to still become a doctor. I am going to talk to my doctor, Mr. Philips, soon and then go to sleep. See you later.

Yesterday I talked to my doctor and after he was done checking that I was doing everything that I should be doing, I asked him if it was still possible that I could live through this. He replied right away, “It is very possible that you could survive this with some affects to your body, but there is a chance that you might die.”

I was really sad and I looked down at my hands. He quickly said, I think just to give me some hope,”There is a chance that you will live your life as if nothing had happened. Your broken bones are healing up very quickly. Since your hip and leg have healed so well, there is almost no possibility that you will have to be in a wheelchair. Don’t lose hope. Fight to the end, whether you have to give up living or if you survive without a scratch. I want to see you get through this struggle, and I am going to do everything that I can to make that happen.”

After he said this, I actually had a little hope of surviving and I remembered that I had a future and I obviously needed to survive to do what I want to do later in life. I hope that if I do make it, I will be just as good of a doctor as Mr. Philips. I will talk to you tomorrow.

Guess what? I have some really great news! My doctor said that since I was doing so well that I could leave the hospital for a few days! I think it is great, and now I have some energy. This is great news because my mom is taking me to a vacation spot that we went to when my mom and dad were still married. It is a nice relaxing cabin that is in the middle of the woods. I really liked that place because it is by a lake that my dad and I used to fish at. I also like to walk along some of the nature trails and see all the wildlife. We are planning to leave in two days so we can get ready. I am really excited, and I hope that the trip will help me heal. I will talk to you whenever I can.

Since it takes so long to get to the cabin, my mom decided to leave this morning so we can get unpacked and rested for tomorrow. We only went here a few times and Josie was never brought here, so I was hoping that I could walk around with her on some of the trails. I am really excited and hope that this trip will make me feel better, not only, physically but mentally. I will hopefully talk to you when we are all set up at our camp.

We’ve made it to the camp! It looks just as I remembered it: the cabin right next to a little clump of berry bushes, a stream running along the edge of camp, and a few signs that tell you about all of the flowers and trees. I must say that this is one of my most favorite places. We have already got settled into the cabin and we are getting ready for bed. The cabin has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and one little kitchen. It reminds me of my aunt’s house. She lives all by herself so she doesn’t need a very big house. I really like her house too, but I have only been there once. Josie and I are going to share a room and my mom is going to have the other room. Tomorrow we are going to go on a few trails and then, if we have time, we are going to go to the lake. I am anxious to get to the lake because I have had some really great memories there with my dad. I hope I have enough energy. I am really tired, so I am going to bed. I will talk to you in the morning.

Today is going to be a really fun day. I have noticed that they have made some new trails since the last time I was here but in all, there are only 6 trails. We are going to walk through about half of them, and then we are going to go to the lake. I am glad that we came here. I was getting really tired of having to be in the hospital for so long. I hope that by the time we get back to the hospital, I will be healthy enough to go home and all this stuff with my appendix will be healed up. When I was in the hospital, I guess I kind of forgot what it was like to be outside. I will talk to you when we get back today.

Tomorrow I am definitely taking my journal along. There were so many cool things to see along the way that I hope I can remember them all. The first path that we took ran alongside that river so I got to see a lot of fish and we even got to see a beaver’s dam. It was really cool. We sat and looked at it for a little while, and then a beaver actually came and swam into it! I was really excited that I got to see it and I was glad that Josie got to see it too. After a while the trail crept away from the river and then nothing else really happened. I am glad that I didn’t get tired. The second path was really pretty. The trees that were lined up along the sides of the path were all in bloom, and most of them had really colorful leaves. I wished I had had a camera. There wasn’t much on the third path that we took except we saw a few deer off in the distance. I was getting tired by this time, so we had to take breaks more often. Once we got to the lake, I was pretty tired out so we just sat and rested while looking at the birds on the lake. That was my favorite part of the day because we all got to see the sunset over the lake. It was such a beautiful sight. This is another reason that I love coming here. There is always some come kind of really pretty scene at one part of the day. Tomorrow we will go on the other trails, and I will bring this along so I will be able to record everything that I see. I am really tired so I am going to go to bed. I hope that I can get up early enough in the morning so we don’t have too late of a start in the morning. I will talk to you tomorrow.

Today we are getting ready to go on the rest of the trails, and then once we get back we are going to have a campfire and roast hot dogs over it. I hope that I won’t be too tired to fully enjoy it. I will write whenever something interesting happens.

We were walking along the first path and right there in front of us was a doe and her fawn standing in the middle of the path. It was a really precious sight. My mom accidentally stepped on a twig and that scared them off, but I will still remember the picture.

Nothing really happened on the second path so I can’t really tell you anything.

Oh my goodness! This is by far my favorite path that we have taken. It was just like any of the other paths that we had been on except for the end of it. It was a breathtaking scene and I am never going to forget it. We were walking along and were almost to the end when Josie heard the roar of water. It wasn’t a soft trickle; it sounded like a waterfall! We ran ahead to the end of the path just to find the most beautiful picture I have ever seen. There was a waterfall that fell into a small lake. There were beautiful trees and bushes and flowers that were spread all over the area of the lake. This is definitely my favorite place yet. I don’t remember ever having come here before, and I wonder what my dad would have thought of it. I remember him as one who liked to find these beautiful places and spend the whole day there. I am going to mention to my mom that we should have a picnic supper here, but first I am going to take a little nap so I am well rested before we have supper.

That afternoon when Caitlin lay down, she would not get up again. Her doctor was right when he said that it was possible that her appendix had burst. It had exploded the day before she went into the hospital and she had a very bad infection growing around where her appendix used to be. It was eating a hole in her colon and that was very deadly for her since it was not treated soon enough. When she fell asleep, her mom didn’t want to wake her up so she had Josie stay with her while she went to go and get their supper ready. When she came back, she asked Josie to wake Caitlin up so they could eat. After Josie had tried for a little while with no luck, Josie told her mom that she wouldn’t wake up. Her mom rushed over to her and checked to see if her heart was still beating. It was but very faintly. This frightened her a lot, so she immediately called the hospital to help her. It took them 2 hours to get there, and by that time Caitlin was dead. Her mother was very sad and Josie was just devastated. They kept asking if somehow they could bring her back. But they could tell by the look on the doctors’ faces that there was nothing they could do.

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