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Chapter 19: Scene 69: Your mother and I want us to be a real family.


       I lope up to the pay phone and do just like I'd played out in my head every day I've been here. I plunk in my quarter, give information Norman's name and Philmont County and call collect .

       "John? It's me, Lori. The lady said did I want to talk to John. John? Is that you?"

       "Hi, Lori. Is Mom..."

       "Nick. It's John on the phone. John, can you come home? We live in a new place, but it's a ranch , too."

       I cut her short. "Lori, put Mom on the phone. Please, Lori!"

       "She's not here. She's over at Mrs. Roberts' place, taking her some food 'cause she's sick. John, Norman's going to 'dopt us."

       "He's what?"

       "He's going to 'dopt us. Nick and me are going to be his real kids. And we're going to have two grown-ups for brothers. One lives in Seattle and the other lives in.... Nick where does the other one live?"

       "Give me the phone." They scuffle over it and Nick wins. "Hi, John. Norman gave me a calf of my own. I get to take him to the county fair. Can you come home when I show him?"

       "Nick, what did Lori mean? Why did she say Norman's going to adopt you? People can't adopt kids that already have a father. They have to be orphans ."

       Nick yells away from the phone, "Norman, we're not orphans are we? You can so adopt us."

       I yell into the phone for him to talk to me. Adopt? What about Johnny? They can't make it so we're not his kids ... can they? "Nick, come back. Tell me what's going on."

       Then I hear his voice. Norman's voice. "John, where are you? Your mother isn't here. Tell me where..."

       "Never mind. I'll call her later."

       "Give me the number. I'll have her call."

       " Portland . No number."

       I start to hang up, but he's still talking. "Where in Portland ? Do you know how worried she's been about you? What you're putting her through?"

       "Yeah, Well, you can tell her I'm doing fine."

       "She'll just be gone a few minutes. Or I can give you the number there."

       "No. Tell her..."

       "At least let me explain about the adoption ."

       "Explain? You bet. Like explain how you're taking over our whole family. What about Johnny? He's their dad."

       "Your father agreed to sign the release papers. He's not able to contribute to their support. He hasn't seen them since they were babies. Says he's satisfied this is what's best for them." Norman spits it out fast, like he knows how close I am to hanging up. "Your mother and I want us to be a real family. We want you to be part of it, too."

       "Me? Get adopted at fifteen? In a pig's eye."

       "We'll talk about it when you come home."

       "I got no home now. Bye."

       "John, don't hang up."

ThinkLink: What do your senses tell you about this scene?

       "Tell Mom..." I want to tell her I miss her, but I can't say that to him. "Tell her I'm OK." Then I do bang the phone back on the hook.

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 Updated on 5/13/04

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