Tash was tough. But she was scared. And alone.
She’d come home from school to find the apartment empty. All that was left of her mother was one word scrawled on a crumpled napkin that said sorry. Barbie Campbell had packed up and gone.
Tash sat down on the wooden chair with the wobbly leg, knowing just how to arrange her weight so that the chair wouldn’t collapse under her. Think, she told herself. Make a plan. But she felt like her brain was filled with jello and any thoughts she had got lost in the sticky sweetness. She hated jello.
Sitting there on that rickety chair, Tash tried to take stock of the situation. She wouldn’t be able to stay in the apartment, that was for certain. They were already a month behind on the rent and old Mr. Kennedy had threatened eviction if they didn’t pay by the end of the week. Tash didn’t have the money.
She stood quickly and moved the chair so she could stand on it to reach the old pencil case she’d hidden above the cupboard in the kitchen. Tash found the vinyl pouch, but she knew before she opened the zipper that there was nothing inside. There had been only thirty dollars; all that was left from her last pay. Oh Mom, why?
Tash stood in the middle of the shabby room, closer to tears than she could ever remember. But this was not the time to cry.