Friday, September 11, 2009

Visiting Shana's

Briar Rose: Becca
A Child Called It: Dave

Two weeks after Becca returned from Poland, she received a call from Shana and Sylvia. “We wanna know about Gemma too!” exclaimed Sylvia. They were both upset that Becca hadn’t tried to contact either of them since she got back. She had meant to, she really had, but being exhausted and jet-lagged, she hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

“We’re getting together at once,” Shana said as a statement, not a question. Finally, after a long time of listening to her sisters’ bickering over the phone, the three girls agreed to go to Shana’s.

Six days later, Becca was standing on Shana’s front porch. She rang the doorbell, and moments later Shana arrived at the door. She walked in to find not only Sylvia and the kids, but also another woman and who Becca assumed was her son. Shana introduced her as Tracy, her next door neighbor.

“This is my son, David,” Tracy said, gesturing towards the little boy sitting at her feet. “David, can you say hi?” There was something strange about David. He sat there, not talking, not responding to Tracy’s request. He had bruises up and down is body, and a large scar on his left arm. Shana must have realized that Becca noticed all these bruises, because she gave her a strange look like “don’t say anything.”

“So,” Sylvia began. “Let’s hear all about your trip to Poland.” Shana brought everyone out coffee and donuts, and as they ate and sipped their drinks, Becca made sure to tell them everything. She left out no details. She told them about Josef, about their grandfather, about Chelmno, Kulmhof, or whatever you want to call it. They sat there intently for a long time, listening to every word Becca had to say. Becca was shocked at how interested in her story her sisters seemed to be. They had never been supportive of her trip to Poland, and had never shown any interest in Gemma’s past at all.

When Becca was done, Tracy excused herself. “Well, this was fun, but I should be getting home now. Come on David, let’s go. It was nice to meet you, Becca.”

It took Becca just moments after they walked out the door for her to ask the question that had been on her mind all afternoon, “What happened to that boy?”

Shana and Sylvia looked at each other nervously and sighed. “Becca,” Shana began. “David is a foster child. His real mother, well, she isn’t very nice. Becca, David is one of the most severe cases of child abuse in the country.”

Becca was speechless. The next day at work, she decided to look up Dave’s case online. “Becca, is that work-related?” asked her new boyfriend and collegue, Stan as he was walking by. She told Stan all about David, and the two of them sat together reading everything they could find about the little boy. The things they read about him and his alcoholic mother had Becca in tears, wondering how anyone could treat their child like that. After that day at work, Becca never looked into his case again, but she never ever forgot David Pelzer.