“At school we painted pictures,” he says.
“I can make super-sonic laser beams come out of my eyes.”
“Can I take Jasper out for a walk?”
Andy is annoying me with all his talking. I want to tell him to shut up but I won’t. He’s only seven years old.
Andy is my foster brother. He stays with my family on weekends. Mom and Dad decided to become foster parents since all their kids have grown up and moved away for university. I admire the fact that my parents are doing something for children who need help and love but it’s Christmas. I don’t want Andy around. I want my Mom and Dad all to myself because I’ve been away for four months and have a lot to tell them.
Andy never stops chattering. He follows me around telling me about his latest ninja adventure.
“Me and the ninjas hang out a lot. We just went and beat up some bad guys real bad. They’ve got blood coming out of their noses,” he says.
Andy’s mum doesn’t like him. In fact, she hates him. She never asks how school was or looks at him or kisses him goodnight.
He likes coming to our house because we don’t hit. He said that once. He likes coming to our house because we don’t ignore him. He said that too.
A friend and I were catching up during that same holiday Andy was part of my family. After Katherine and after our coffees, we found a kitten behind the café. It was a freezing cold Saturday and it took a long time to capture the baby. Every time Katherine and I got close she would dart into the brambles.
I managed to catch her when she climbed a tree and was too weak to get very far.
I put the kitten in the car and she howled all the way home. She was starving and wild and scared. At my house I gave her some warm milk and mush to eat. I cleaned her up and she’s beautiful. She tried to snuggle into my collarbone. She looked up at me asking for love with her enormous eyes. She made me cry. She made me put Andy into perspective.
Andy is like the kitten, abandoned and scared. He wants attention and love, except he’s not cute and cuddly. He’s a skinny little boy. He can’t fit into the nook of my shoulder. So he talks constantly to get people to notice him, even if all they’re going to say is be quiet.
After this revelation I try to be nicer to Andy. We walk through the woods together. I show him how to play the piano and how to build a house out of Lego. But he still keeps talking.