I (Ani) contacted the Welfare people and they arranged for me to live with a family and paid me a small amount of money for necessities. I ate with the family and had a small bedroom and my own bathroom in the basement. I also got my first paying job and managed school and the job until the summer break.
At this point - the management whisked me off to Toronto for 'management training' - even though I was only 15. I worked in different locations around Ontario for the rest of the summer and then moved back to the same city where my family was located. I had my own little bachelor apartment and was still working for the same company and engaged to the same boyfriend. I was fairly content and had built something of a little life for myself when the following happened.
(another excerpt from The Wailings - my book in progress.)
It was 5:28 pm when the phone rang abruptly in the little bachelor unit. Ani stretched across the couch and answered it with a grin, expecting Rick on the other end of the line.
“Ani? It’s your father.”
Ani froze in her attempt to light a cigarette, absently setting both the cigarette and her lighter down on the coffee table. Her heart pounded in her throat and she could feel the fear of anticipation welling in her stomach. Something must be wrong for Jerome to actually be calling her.
“What is it Dad?” she asked unsteadily.
“Well Ani. It’s your Mom.”
Ani took a deep breath to try and steady herself and blew it out raggedly. She watched her hand shake as she reached for the cigarette and lighter again.
“You see,” he continued, “we had to put Snoop down earlier this week and your Mom is having a terrible time trying to deal with it. She cries all the time and I can’t seem to help her in any way.” He took a deep breath himself then continued. “I’ve been thinking it over and I think that if you come home she might be able to forget about the dog.”
Ani stayed quiet a few seconds as tears welled in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. She had loved their dog Snoop. He had been part of the family for fourteen years and it was hard to imagine him gone.
“Look Ani. You think about it. I have to go. I don’t want her finding out that I asked you to come back.”
Ani slowly hung up the phone.