A Powerful Water Heater

February 25, 2020

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She had good memories from her seventh birthday. All was right in the world. There was a cake with candles and even ice cream. She had a new sweater and pink tennis shoes with those curly laces.

Then that baby sister came. Money got tighter than ever before. Mom and Dad fought more and more. Food was hard to come by and empty liquor bottles lined the kitchen counter. The years turned sour and when 16 came there was no car with a ribbon in the driveway.

But there was school. It was the one constant in the world. And school was a safe place for her and baby sister. When baby sister hit nine-years-old, it was time to go. Mom and Dad wouldn’t notice. They were never sober.

So, one week before her seventeenth birthday she convinced an apartment owner to let them move in. She worked in housekeeping at the neighboring hotel and they both rode the bus to and from school. A local church had a backpack program and she was able to hide the reality from the world.

Then the water heater broke. Baby sister didn’t like cold showers.

Words did not give away their secret, but smelly clothes, dirty feet and greasy hair did.

Baby sister was all she had, and she knew a leaked secret might cause her to be taken away. But with the help of that ever-present school, some funds from Care For Kids and the love of the people in this special place, baby sister and her brave adulting big sister found a way.

She graduated. She is attending OTC. Baby sister is still with her and hot showers create fabulous mornings filled with hope.

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