TITLE: Greetings From The Miracle
GENRE: Young Adult
Charlene shows up late. How late depends on when you start counting. If you start fifteen years ago, when she loaded me into an infant seat and went off to rob Jake’s Deli with my father, then late can’t cover it. Grammy always said her girl Charlene was never cut out to be anybody’s mother.
But if you start counting fifteen days ago, when Charlene was released from the women’s jail up in North Jersey, a girl like me starts thinking. Fifteen days to come and get me? Not so bad. Especially if I count all the times I was sure she’d never show up.
But she does --knocking on Big Foster’s door like she’s right on time. I let her in, thinking there’ll be a social worker behind her. There isn’t. Only Charlene, whispering, “Get your things now, Dee Dee. We’re leaving.”
She hugs me quick, as if it’s our once-a-year Christmas visit and the guards along the wall have coughed up enough holiday spirit to look away for two seconds. In prison there’re lots of rules for visiting your mother, like no touching and no wrapped presents. At Big’s, my foster home, I have one rule. Don’t call me Dee Dee.
“I go by Deena now,” I tell Charlene.
She isn’t listening. Her eyes dart to a rusty Buick running at the curb. A boy, not much older than me, sits in the driver’s seat.