The Color of Nothing Coming Soon
That probably didn’t seem like much of a choice to Darla, but she came home with me. Before meeting with her in the homeless shelter, I hadn’t seen her for about two weeks. She’d lost weight and looked childlike to me.
Having Darla move into my home required adjustments for all of us. She and my daughter were the same age. Initially, Darla moved into the top bunk in Dani’s room. Was Dani pleased about this? I don’t think so, which is not to say she had no sympathy for the situation. She also had no choice.
What I remember about that time, is we were throwing a huge open house a few days after Christmas. Darla had to change schools. I went with her before the judge to determine the outcome of the charge of domestic violence. Darla’s story about that was that she and her mother quarreled over putting batteries in a Christmas decoration. It didn’t work and when one or the other tried to grab it, her mother got hit with the decoration, the batteries, or perhaps Darla’s hand or elbow. I only ever got Darla’s side of the story and she may have downplayed it to make it more minor than it was.
I do recall going to the courthouse where it seems we spent most of two days. They tell you to be there at a certain time but what they don’t tell you is that the cases go before the judge alphabetically. Because Darla’s last name began with W, we were among the last to be heard. Why did we go two days? Because Darla did not want to plead guilty. She didn’t think she’d done anything wrong. She and the public defender finally decided to take the path of least resistance and accept the charge. Darla was placed on probation and required to do community service.
By now I began to see that Darla did not want to take much responsibility for anything. I rearranged my house so that what was the dining room became a makeshift room for her. I found that she sneaked out at night. She smoked cigarettes. (And weed, but I didn’t know that for sure at the time.) She slept a lot and used the phone a lot. Back then I got call waiting. Initially, I helped her arrange community service. Dropped her off and picked her up. But after she failed a drug test (for marijuana) and received more probation? I stopped helping her.
In truth, I’m not sure anything
I did helped her.
She needed expensive dental work and to have her wisdom teeth removed. I wasn’t working at the time and had no money of my own. I remember telling my husband about what the dentist had said and he just looked at me and said, “I’ll pay for it.”
As things began to deteriorate, my husband always said, “We got her too late.” Maybe he was right. By the time I met Darla, her path was already set. I couldn’t have kept her from making the choices she did no matter what. But I tried, because at the time, I didn’t know that nothing I did was going to change anything.
She continued to sneak out. Her friends were questionable. Although she could have done well in school, she didn’t apply herself and didn’t seem to care what kind of grades she got. She slept a lot. Eventually her mother told her she could come back home. But she didn’t go right away.
The Color of Nothing releases December 1, 2021, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.