Still at Your Door: A Fictional Memoir by Emma Eden Ramos
Publisher: Writers AMuse Me Publishing
Published: February 22nd, 2014
YA — Sabrina “Bri” Gibbons has only a few short minutes to pack her things and help her sisters pack theirs before running with their mother to the bus that will whisk them away from Butler, Pennsylvania, an abusive relationship, and a secret that none of them wish to acknowledge. She was not prepared, though, for her mother to drop them on the streets of New York with the promise that she would be right back. Haunted by the sight of her mother running back to the cab, Bri, with Missy and Grace in tow, settles in with their grandparents. Thoughts of her present and her future collide with memories of her past, her dead father, and her mother’s bizarre episodes. She watches her sisters struggle with school and acceptance, all the while knowing the lack of any sense of security will make it impossible for them to carry on as ‘normal’ children. She finally lets her guard down enough to allow someone else in and sees a faint glimmer that her dreams might be attainable. Disaster strikes again, this time targeting her sister. Is it possible for Bri to find that balance between her dreams and her family’s realities?
About the Author:
Emma Eden Ramos is a writer and student from New York City. Her middle grade novella, The Realm of the Lost, was recently published by MuseItUp Publishing. Her short stories have appeared in Stories for Children Magazine, The Storyteller Tymes, BlazeVOX Journal, and other journals. Ramos’ novelette, Where the Children Play, is included in Resilience: Stories, Poems, Essays, Words for LGBT Teens, edited by Eric Nguyen. Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems (Heavy Hands Ink, 2011), Ramos’ first poetry chapbook, was shortlisted for the 2011 Independent Literary Award in Poetry. Emma studies psychology at Marymount Manhattan College. When she isn’t writing or studying, Emma can usually be found drinking green tea and reading on her kindle.
The engine rumbles beneath us as we say goodbye to the gray ramshackle we’ve come to accept as our home. Grace taps her fingernail against the chilled car window. She blows warm breath on the glass and, before the moisture can evaporate, draws a tiny heart with a smiley face in the middle. Missy sits with her legs up, her forehead pressed against her knees, the music from her headphones competing with the asthmatic car engine.
“Mom?” I whisper, reaching across the cup holder where an opened twenty-four ounce can of beer has been sitting for almost a month. As I brush Mom’s cheek, sticky residue from her foundation sinks between the cracks on my index finger.
She turns to me and smiles. “Yes, Bear?” I see she is only ten miles above the speed limit.
“What do you want me to tell Grandma and Grandpa?”
“About what?” Her eyes are level with mine, but I know she isn’t really looking at me. I’m more like a blank screen, something stable and empty for her to project on to. Once again, I point to the purple ring under her eye.
“Oh.” She pauses and, for a moment, reverts back to the road. “Remember when I played Blanche? You remember, in A Streetcar Named Desire, back when we lived in Roanoke.”
“Yes,” I nod. “I remember.”
“Grandma and Grandpa came to see me then. They sat with you and Missy right up there in the front row.” Tilting her head back, Mom shuts her eyes as if to hold the memory still: keep it in present time. “Your daddy carried Missy backstage afterwards. I don’t know if she ever got to see my final fight with Stanley, but you, Bear, you stayed awake for the whole show! That’s why we’re going to New York now.” Mom takes hold of my hand, her bony fingers disappearing into the spaces between mine. I try not to flinch as the tips of her nails dig into my palm. “All we need’s a little time and money, Bri.” She pauses, then swivels, looking back at Grace and Missy. Both have dozed off. “Time and money.”
Feet up on the dashboard, I take my journal out from my beat-up knapsack. I’m fifty pages into this one already – fifty pages of thoughts, hopes, stories, some real, some made up. New York, I write in sprawling letters. New beginnings?
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