“All right, children, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Mrs. Fields asked her kindergartners. Emily’s hand shot high, “Yes, Emily?”
“I want to join the circus and be a high-wire performer.” The class laughed. One of the boys scoffed, “In your dreams.”
Since then, Emily had become the school weirdo, the class clown, she even got the most possible going to fail at life spot in the yearbook. She had no friends and everyone teased her, not only for that memorable answer in kindergarten but also for her cat-like eyes and mouth. All those comments and the teasing pushed her to the brink. One night a week before her eighteenth birthday, she got into an argument with her parents – the topic was none other than Emily’s life after high school. “If you don’t stop treating me like a child, I’ll go find a family who will.” Those were the last words Emily said before slamming the front door.
She didn’t return home that night. “Where do you think she’d gone?” Her mother asked the next morning. She and her husband had stayed up all night waiting for Emily to come home.
“I don’t know,” Emily’s father replied, shaking his head, “but fourteen more hours and I’m reporting to the police.” Fourteen hours had gone by and Emily still hadn’t showed up. Her father filed a missing persons report with Emily’s photo, height and weight, and a list of Emily’s favorite places.
Fourteen-hundred miles away, Emily lounged on the sofa on a bus. Around her, a clown was removing his make-up, her high-wire partner – Alberto – was nursing his feet, and Stephanie – an acrobat – was standing tall against the kitchen sink. Emily had no wish to remove her cat-like makeup or nurse her sore feet. For once, she was fitting in. For once, she was happy. For once, she was with her true family.