It was her birthday, this one was worse than all the
others. Ok, she was being dramatic. Her 7th
birthday had been the
worst. It had been the one about a month after her dad had left.
Her mom had picked her up from school. She didn‟t ask how her
day had been and had been quiet.
Her mom was a beautiful woman and at 30, she looked young
for her age. In the last ten years she had aged 20 years. She
was still beautiful but the last ten years had been hard on her.
Her husband had left and emptied out the bank account. The
divorce had been brutal and in the end she only wanted it to be
over. He had threatened to take her and Ally away from her mom.
After that she had just agreed with everything. They shared
custody now but that was only in the legal sense. She hadn‟t
seen her dad since that day when he had left. She had been
sitting in the kitchen eating her cereal in between what was
left of 2 six packs. Empty cans were all that were left. Her mom
was clearing them off as she was eating and tried to hurry her
along. The bus would be there in a few minutes and she hadn‟t
brushed her teeth yet.
Her dad had walked into the bathroom from his bedroom when
she had walked out of the bathroom. He had mumbled something
which could have been directed at her but more likely than not
was just a grumble about his hangover. She pretended he had
noticed her and it had been a “good morning”. Then her mom had
whisked her out the door and to the bus stop. When her mom
picked her up he had been gone. Her mom had not wanted to talk
about it but a few days later he still hadn‟t returned.
Then her birthday came along and she had expected to see
her dad again, but he hadn‟t been there when she had gotten home
from school. Nor had he called. In fact she had never seen him
since, but on her birthday it had been the worst. He started the
divorce proceedings and her mom had not had any money to hire an
attorney. He demanded custody and she fought him. It had gotten
really ugly and they finally agreed they would share custody.
Her mom had given up all assets to agree to this. She could not
bear the idea of letting go of her girls and knew that the only
reason he would not go lower than shared custody was so he
didn‟t have to pay child support. She had been right.
He had never contacted her or the girls again. Last she
heard he was living in Downtown Chicago now and was making the
third Mrs. Brown‟s life a living hell. Her mom and she had
spoken about him but never around Ally. Ally had been only just
turned three when he had left and did not remember him at all.
They had agreed that it should stay that way and whenever she
asked about her father the response had always been that things
just hadn‟t worked out and he had gone back to where he came
from. This wasn‟t a lie but they had always made it sound that
he had moved very far away. Chicago was an hour south of
Milwaukee but Ally didn‟t need to know that an hour drive was
too much of a bother for her father to come see her. She had
finally given up and had stopped asking.
After he had left a lot had changed. She had had to grow up
fast. She needed to help around the house more. Her mom had
already been working full time but it was not enough to make
ends meet. She usually left early in the mornings to work the
first shift at the plant. When done with that she would come
home. After a while she started picking up some shifts every now
and then as a waitress to make things work. Then some more
shifts. Now she had extra shifts almost every night. She took
care of her kids but didn‟t have much time to spend with them.
Things had been hard in the last ten years but they had made it.
Not much glamour but they were getting by.
Kim had woken up early that morning and it had paid off.
She had managed to see her mom just before she was out the door.
Her mom gave her a kiss and told her happy birthday. Then she
was out the door. I‟ll be home tonight, than we can celebrate!
She had said on her way out, so far not too bad for a birthday.
She had woken her sister up and had gotten her ready.
She loved Ally but longed for not always having to take
care of her. Ally was without worry and always saw the lighter
side of things. This was nice at times but can be really
annoying too. Ally had made her a button to wear for her
birthday….great she thought, just what I need, another reason to
be a social outcast at school. But she had put it on.
She would be safe on the bus since most of the kids in her
grade were not riding the bus anyway. They were seventeen and
riding their cars or would be picked up by one of their friends.
They lived in Wauwatosa (Tosa for short). There was a split
street, if you lived on a street with a number higher
street you were probably wealthy, if you lived in one
lower than 60th
street you lived in an apartment where the rats
were wealthier than the people that lived there. The school
district only went to 55th
street. She lived on 56th
the majority of the school was from the wealthy area and she was
not. This had made her an outsider at school.
She so longed to be popular but with her young appearance
and always wearing hand me downs that weren‟t even in fashion
when they were purchased while everyone else was wearing the
latest styles and most expensive brand names. She hadn‟t fit in.
Same thing with boys, they didn‟t even seem to notice her. She
cursed her small breast. Why would anyone want to go out with
her? She looked plain and dressed plain and everything about her
was plain. Her last name was Brown. How much more plain could
you get? It was way to common of a name be interesting, but as
common names went it didn‟t even make the top 3 of most common
names in the US. It came in tied with Jones for fourth. Another
way not to be special she thought.
Now she was seventeen and still riding the bus. At sixteen
you still had an excuse not to be riding the bus anymore, too
busy of a social life to take care of getting a license or
waiting for the new model of a certain cool car rather than
allowing your parents to buy last year‟s model for you. Neither
of these things were problems she had encountered but at least a
few others were still riding the bus for those reasons at age
sixteen and she had been able to blend in with them. That cover
was gone now. She and Ally got picked up at 7:13 am by the bus.
Being at the very end of the bus route they were always the
first ones on. The bus would make its round then drop Ally and
the other middle school students off at the middle school then
drop the rest off at the high school. By the time they arrived
at the high school the bus was virtually empty. Most of the
other kids would be driving to school in their Acura, Lexus or
an occasional BMW that their daddy got them for their sixteenth
birthday. If they didn‟t have a license yet they would be picked
up at home by a friend that did have a license or by their mom‟s
whom clearly were too busy with socializing that they didn‟t
have time for a job.
The ones that still did ride the bus were usually dopers,
kids whose parents were both way to important to take time out
of their days to drop them off at school and who lacked the
social skill to have friends to pick them up, the earlier
mentioned kids that were too busy to get a license or were
waiting for the next year‟s model car to come out and finally
the kids that sat in the bus because either their car was in the
shop or they were grounded and had their cars taken away. Their
moods usually foul having to deal with the inconvenience.
At school she would make the walk of shame off the bus, but
as always Annie would be waiting for her at school. Annie was
her friend at school. Annie would not have been one of her first
choices in friends. Sure she fit all the physical requirements.
She was pretty with blond hair and a great body. At the beach
all men and boys would stare at her. She was also from a wealthy
family. Her dad made good money as an executive for an oil
company. Annie hated that part of her family. She herself was an
eco junkie. If her dad would not have had such a polluting
occupation she might have been different but she somehow seemed
to have vowed to make up for his ecological crimes.
When she had turned sixteen last year he had offered to
take her to the car dealership and she could pick out her
birthday present. He himself was a Mercedes fan and had told her
she could have one too. She had declined. Kim had been shocked.
Even at their wealthy school a Mercedes would have been one of
the more desirable cars in the student lot….It would have been
the nicest car in the faculty lot for sure. Then her dad had
tried one more time. He had taken her for a test drive in a
Toyota Prius. Surely even she could not object to an ultra clean
hybrid car. But she had gone into a speech about the
environmental damage the plants created that manufactured the
batteries that went into the car. The speech had lasted the
whole test drive. She had told him she liked the car and really
like the gesture and the fact that he had put some thought into
She didn‟t need a car. She lived a block away from school
and busses to the mall (which she rarely went too) ran every 30
minutes from the corner of the street. If he really wanted to do
something for her birthday he should make a donation to an
environmentally sound cause. So he had made a donation in her
name to a foundation that travelled to the shores where oil
spills had take place to clean up the oil drenched birds that
washed up on shore. She had told him it had been her best gift
ever and radiated with truth when she said it. Sure he was the
big oil man but he was proud of her and she had influenced him
in his work which had benefited the environment and with that
also the company‟s reputation. He could learn a lot from her.
Annie could have had it all. She had the body, she could
have had the car and wear the latest fashions. But Annie
preferred to walk and buy her clothing from a thrift store. So
Kim and Annie dressed the same, Kim out of need and Annie
because she wanted too. Kim would not have taken this high road.
She would have been in the “in” crowd. Hang with the
cheerleaders and the jocks and be popular. Annie had no desire
for that, she liked the nerds.
Annie had had a big crush on Matt since junior year now.
She didn‟t dare to ask him out and Kim never saw the attraction.
He was a science geek. Always playing with his computers and
seemed like a walking encyclopedia. He was not bad looking but
he would not be a tie to the popular crowd and thus she had
never encouraged Annie to act on her crush. Annie could do so
much better. Being her only friend Annie automatically had
become her best friend and Kim had to admit that she was a lot
of fun and she never had to be embarrassed about her life around
Annie. In fact Annie was what got her through the day at school.Chapter 2:
Most days after school Ally would go to Mrs. Simons. Mrs.
Simons was a retired kinder garden teacher. Her husband had
passed away 5 years earlier and she lived in the same apartment
building as Kim and her family. Mrs. Simons had started doing
this shortly after her mom got divorced and needed to go work
more and more. She had felt sorry for Joan and had offered up
her help. Joan had first resisted but really couldn‟t afford a
sitter or afterschool care. So she had accepted. Payment was
generally in Christmas cookies and such.
As time had gone on Kim had gotten old enough to stay by
herself and did so more and more. At fourteen she had felt too
old to have a sitter. Now she only visited for a moment after
school to see how Ally‟s day had been but then she usually took
off. Not because she disliked Mrs. Simons but more because she
was a teenager and had places to be and things to do. She really
didn‟t but should at least make an effort at pretending that she
Yesterday had been fun. It had been her seventeenth