By David Bullit
I can’t really say where my distaste—that’s a good word—my distaste for Kasey came from. Maybe it was because of how differently our parents treated us. Actually, that’s not fair. My mom treated us differently. The first time I can remember knowing that there was a difference between Kasey and me was at our sixth birthday party. I wanted to have a party in our yard, with games and squirt guns and treasure hunts and piñatas. Instead, as usual, my mom got us what Kasey wanted. We had one of those lame little girl parties where some otherwise unemployed misfit dressed up as Jasmine from the Aladdin cartoon movie showed up and helped all the girls with their hair and makeup. Kasey was happy as a fucking clam, sitting with all of her boring and perfect little friends getting their nails done. Of course, my mom was right next to Kasey the entire time, laughing and smiling, like some big puffed-up six-year-old princess wannabe. All the while, my dad roamed around with one of those old-style video cameras making home movies that no one ever wants to watch. I spent most of the afternoon brooding, eating cake and sitting by myself. In one of my early exhibitions of what would later be diagnosed as oppositional defiant disorder, I refused to invite any of my friends to the crappy party. Not that I had many friends.
At some point as the festivities came to an end, I was able to lure one of Kasey’s better friends, Christine, out to our shed in the back of the yard. All of Kasey’s friends thought I was weird and I am sure that some of their parents told them to stay away from me. Christine was a bit of a dope, though, and when I whispered to her about the Aladdin carpet in our garage, she padded into the shed behind me like a golden retriever puppy.
Some things you can’t forget.
“It’s over there in the corner. Aladdin’s carpet.”
“Really? Where? I want to see it and take it to Jasmine so she and I can go for a ride!”
“Keep walking. It’s pink and purple.” Couldn’t help myself.
She kept looking. “Where? I don’t see it.”
“Over there past the lawn mower thing.”
Christine did her best to find that carpet in the shed that was barely lit with just a little sunshine poking through the metal roof.
“Oh, yeah. There it is. Yay!”
She was so excited that for a second I can remember thinking well, maybe there is a magic carpet.
I scampered out of the shed, slammed the door shut, and locked it.
When Christine’s mom showed up to take her home, all hell broke loose. No one knew where she was; my parents scurried around the house, inside and out. I waited a few minutes, then snuck back to the shed and opened the door. Guess she couldn’t take a joke.
Jess Porter spent her childhood bouncing from therapist to therapist and prescription to prescription. An outcast at school and a misfit at home, the only solace she ever found was in her relationship with her dad, Tom. Now he’s dead.
Feeling rejected by her adopted mom and her biological twin sister, Jess runs off to South Florida. But she can’t outrun her old life. Watching the blood drip down her arm after her latest round of self-inflicted cutting, she decides her only choice is to find and face what frightens her most.
Because I Had To takes the reader inside the worlds of adoption, teen therapy, family law, and the search for a biological family. With a cast of finely drawn, complicated characters, it asks us to consider: can the present ever heal the past?
David Bulitt was born and raised outside Washington, DC. A father of four and divorce lawyer for 30 years, he lives in Olney, Maryland with his wife, Julie, their two dogs and any of his daughters that drop in at a given time.
To read more about David Bulitt, upcoming appearances and his first novel, CARD GAME, please visit www.davidbulitt.com
Because I Had To
With finely drawn characters, takes the reader inside the worlds of adoption, teen therapy, family law, and the search for a biological family.