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by Dahl Clark


my name is melissa and I am homeless. I donít know what homeless means though. I go to school with my friends up in the hotel room like they call it and we sit and talk all day. I heard that sometimes when you go to school there is a big round window where the sun comes in and shines. but the sun donít shine in my room. we donít have no lights and my sister sits next to me. sheís only three and iím five so I have to take care of her like mama says. mama sheís never here because she always busy trying to ask some pepol for something we donít got. mama hadnít been home for a long time now and my sister she sit beside me always and asks me when mama going to come back. she hardly can talk yet but she listen to me though. I tell her that mamaíll be back but I donít think she will though. mama donít feel to good and we donít got no daddy so my sister still sit with me in the corner and the light donít shine.

I heard one of those people that live around here about something I canít remember what they call it. old man upstairs say that its a day when a big fat man laughs and gives out presents. I never seen a fat man before cause everyone round here is real thin like. old man can see his bones and I ask him what a present is. he the only one that can remember round here so he tell me thats when someone spend money to give something to you for free and you donít have to pay for it. I donít think iíll get a present then because my sister donít have no money.

money is a butiful thing though. my sister she once found what old man call a penny. it was round and shiny. we save up five pennys and I put them in my pocket for good luck. they make noise in there. old man say that you find a hundred of them and you get a dollur. I donít know what a dollur is so I ask him evry day if I have one yet. its real hard to find pennys so I donít ever think iíll have a dollur.

yesturdy I went upstairs to see old man but there wonít nothing in his room. I saw a rat on the floor but that was all. lady across there say old man pass away. I ask her what pass away mean and she say that he found a better place to live where everything made of good stuff and theres lots of money. I ask her if it was made of lots of pennys and she say yes lots of them. I say to her I want to pass away to but she say that I donít want to.

my sister she always sit in the corner. she talk to me but she donít ever leave the room. I tell her about old man and she say she hope she bring back some pennys for her to see. she likes pennys lots so I go find some for her. there wonít much pennys so my sister she play with her cat. mama told me how to spell cat befor she went away so I no what a cat is. I donít never have to feed cat food because cat got lots of food. I tell cat not to eat all the rats but cat eat it anyway. cat get more to eat than my sister do but we canít catch no rats. cat never stay with us but to go sleep then one day we never saw cat again. lady across the room she say she eat the cat. she real thin than me so she eat the cat. my sister she got sad. everyone always sad but my sister I donít want her to be sad. mama she told me what love was before she went away so I tell my sister what love was. I love my sister lots.

my sister she donít got no name. my name is melissa but everyone call me little girl. donít nobody no my name I think. I donít no anyone else name either.

today the men in the good clothes came and put old lady in my room. my sister sit in the corner as always and watch them come in. the door broke off when they closed it so now we donít have no door. it got real cold then. old lady she was real nice but she wave her hands around lots and she donít ever look at us when she talk. but she talk lots though. old lady say her name was rachel. she got real white hair and she smile a lot. she ask my name and I told her my name. I say my sister donít got no name but she smile anyway.

rachel she was real nice. she say she canít see but she do fine though. she take care of both of us and no how to catch the rats even though she canít see. she sing for us too when we go to sleep on the floor at night. but befor we go to sleep she sits on her knees and folds her hands and whispers something. I ask her what she doing and she says that she praying to God. then I ask her who God is and she says that He loves us all and that if you pray to him He answers you. I think my room is the best room in this place because when you look straight up you can see the stars. the men in the good clothes donít never fix the ceiling anyway so we all look up at the stars. I donít know what stars are but they real pretty. we get plenty of water in here when it rain and everyone come in here to get some when it rain because they donít got no water in their room. but it get real cold sometime and we all lay over each other to keep warm. I felt real cold so me and my sister we prayed to God befor we went to sleep. I had so many things to pray about that I prayed myself to sleep. I wonder if God heard me because I didnít want to wake rachel. I wonder if heíd answer me because I hope he would. rachel she says he would so I felt happy.

rachel she tell stories to us at night befor we go to sleep. she tell us things I never seen like how if you get three dollurs you can buy a hamburger. I never seen a hamburger but she tell me what it look like though. she say it taste real good and it make your mouth water but my mouth too dry to water. I always thought that water come from the sky and that the men in the good clothes always lied when they say water comes from things called pipes. my mouth donít ever water. rachel she tell us about the outside. we never seen that either. she tell us what trees look like even though she canít see but we see them in our heads. she tell us all about the world and how big it is so that we always have good dreams at night.

then she tell us about how everyone on the outside wear good clothes. I ask her if they all as mean as the men that wear good clothes round here but she say that other people are nice. she tell us what happy mean and what laffing is and she laff for us to hear. I think laffing is a funny sound because no one laff round here and no one sing either. no one happy but rachel. I think maybe iím happy too but I donít no for sure.

rachel she getting real thin now. she canít catch no rats no more. light donít never shine in here and rachel canít see but she always no when the sun is up and when the sun is down. she tell us about familys and mamas and daddys but I tell her I donít got no family because I donít have a daddy and my mama gone. rachel tell us she would be our mama and I think I was happy then cause she smile and she real nice to us. I told her that I love her too.

then one day my sister she got up and walked out the room. she say rachel showed her how to walk so she met all the mans and all the ladys that live round here. everyone real nice to her and she made lots of frends.

the men in the good clothes gave us some food today. me and my sister we were out walking and rachel in the room when they put the food in. rachel she canít catch no rats so the rats ate the food. we were real hungry then.

rachel she told us a story tonight about the day when everyone give presents. she always tell good stories so we can understand them. my sister she sit in rachel lap just like rachel was our mama and listened to the story. rachel say that a big man named santa clos come down the chimney and gives presents to all the good children. I say that santa clos canít come because we donít have no chimney but rachel she say that he come anyway because we were good and we didnít do nothing wrong. rachel say that after tomorrow santa clos came but I donít know what tomorrow means or today or yesturdy so I donít know. rachel she tell us the story and we all listen.

she say that she had a present to give us even though she donít have no money. rachel she reach in her pocket and pull out a ten dollur bill she call it. she say that theres a thousand pennys in that bill and I donít even no what a thousand is but she say that itís a lot of pennys more than you can count. it donít look like there were any pennys in there, but she say so and I gave it to my sister. rachel she say she love us a lot just like we were her family and then we all fell asleep under the stars again.

the next morning it was cold and I woke my sister up. rachel she was asleep and she wouldnít wake up so I let her sleep. everyone they were hungry especialy me because the rats eat my food and I took my sister round the place to say something to her frends. the rats they looked real happy maybe because they were giving presents. maybe rats care for each other more than people do because the men in the good clothes they didnít come to visit us today yet. me and my sister were cold and we went back to our room but rachel she was gone. everyone they looked real sad like they always do but today they looked sadder than they usualy do. I ask the lady where rachel was at and she say that rachel she pass away too. she say everyone here passing away. I ask her she coming back isnít she? but lady she say no. she tell me that rachel gone off to a better place. I was angry that rachel didnít take me with her and she didnít say goodbye. I wished I could pass away too. my sister she missed her real bad and I thought I heard God walking in the room so I prayed real hard and asked him to make sure that rachel is real happy and has lots of money. I hope rachel says hello to old man for me because I didnít tell him goodby before he pass away. I miss rachel lots too and me and my sister we both prayed to God even though we hadnít seen him yet and then we went to sleep.

today was the day that santa clos came but we didnít see him. I wished rachel was here so she could tell us stories again. the men in the good clothes they came and gave us some food and we were real happy. the rats they didnít get none this time. we eat the food and felt better but it was real cold and my sister she didnít go walking today. it was real dark in the room today and I waited for santa clos to come but he didnít never come but the men in the good clothes came back though. then there was a nice lady who gave me and my sister blankets and told me that she was rachel friend and she would give us a house to live in. I ask her what a house was and maybe she didnít know because she cryed and she gave me a hug. but she say that we were going outside and that rachel she wanted you to have a good house with trees and where the sunlight shines. so me and my sister we went outside.

I thought I passed away when I saw the sun outside because it was so butiful. me and my sister we went with the nice lady and she say her name was rachel too because she related to rachel. she told us what a car was because we never seen one befor but it wasnít wet or hard but soft. there were lots of trees and it was warm in the car and me and my sister we were real happy. I think that maybe God was with me in the car because I was real happy. I still never seen him but I think he still there anyway. I love God and my sister she do too. rachel she didnít have no money but she love us and I pray that night and told her hello. rachel the nice lady she give my sister a name and she call her rachel too because she like that name. me and my sister we went to sleep and we prayed to God. I think he heard us because heís special. thatís the best present I ever had.