“Were you serious, when you said you wish to adopt all seven of them?” He asked her later that evening, when he found himself thinking back on it while going through the papers he needed for Monday’s meeting. The week-end had gone in one swoop and he’d completely forgotten about it. He’d finished his coffee and returned to the kitchen to get some more despite the late hours, figuring it was only fair he’d have to suffer from his forgetfulness. He filled his cup and then caught himself witched by woman’s work, mesmerized how easily she did it and then he’d remembered her admission.
“Yes, I was.” she looked disturbingly peaceful, but her eyes stayed on her hands.
“Your brain is short of few screws.” He decided, after staring at her for a good minute while she continued pairing the socks. “I mean it – have you any idea what it takes to take care of all seven? With their needs, their medication, school schedules, practices? Have you won a lottery, ‘cause that’s what it would take in your conditions to get them!”
She kept ignoring him, but he saw her chest rise and fall more rapidly now, her lips locking tighter and her shoulders squaring up. “I’m not talking this, or next year. But I can’t leave them there.”
“Maybe they are better where they are now? Have you thought about that?” Then he remembered she would know exactly what that would be like for she came from that system! He bit his lips.
“Exactly why I don’t want them there. We could have lived together and have our family as we were and they broke it up. All I wish is to bring us back together.”
“Who is they?”
“Social ministry. They cut our family up and scattered us, when all we needed was stay together. We always had each other’s backs. It breaks my heart, when I think about it.”
“Don’t you have more specific enemy? Ministry is like saying devil caused it.”
“Yes I do, his name is Brennan McClendon, he wears tartan belt and his fake accents makes your ears run muck. It’s not about whose fault it is. We’re rough patch of grass – we’ll survive them all.”
“That’s not what I mean – you have no steady job and your income can hardly cover your own needs. You can’t -”
“How do you know about my financial state?”
He paused. “I had you investigated before I called you for an interview.”
“It’s standard procedure.”
“Whatever!” She dismissed him. “I know what it would take. I’ve been reading up on it since I learned about closing down the orphanage. I know it looks like a pipe dream, but I won’t give up!”
“You’re twenty! It’s insane! You’d have to take care of 7 boys, whom half are toddlers!”
“I’m too young, so it’s weird to think about adoption?”
“You still refer yourself as a child like them! Can you imagine the immense responsibilty for the next thirteen years? What if you meet someone you fall in love with and have kids of your own? You think somebody would take a woman with seven kids on?” She glared him down in silence. He sensed the heat which wasn’t emanating from his cup. Darn, he was blushing. “Don’t sacrifice yourself like that! You can’t pull them into poverty based on slim chance. Children don’t grow on love and air alone!”
The front door opened. Maksim saw Urmas first, followed by Ergo and Jevgeni and shut up instinctively, trying to even out his breathing. God, he was so angry! He saw frown building up on both boy’s faces, their eyes following their sister. When had he began referring to her as their sister? Laura was upset, but when she turned and saw the boys, she froze for a second before quickly retreating to the bedroom closest to the kitchen, leaving Maksim alone with the boys and Urmas.
“Your sister is emotionally too involved to see reason, she should learn to distance herself on her tasks.” He announced on their questioning looks, knowing it made no sense to them. He didn’t wait them to understand, couldn’t care at that moment, and followed Laura, closing the door behind him quietly. She had grabbed the nearest washed clothings and kept wrapping them into neat heaps by different sizes. He wanted to make amends, to apologize, but he didn’t know how.
“I’m doing this, because when I don’t see them, they’re always there, in my mind and I can’t stop worrying how they are if I don’t see them.” She said after a while, when her breathing had calmed down enough to form words. “I’m not saying it sounds insane, but I’m not giving up. Not as long as I have the slightest chance to keep us together. They’re my family and family stays together, despite their past or their future.”
Like talking to a wall.
Her shoulders slumped slightly. “Don’t tell them about it, please? I don’t want them to…” He waited, allowing her to gather her thoughts. “I know my chances, ok? I don’t want them to feel guilty if while I’m working on this somebody offers to adopt them. If it’s a good family, I don’t want to stomp their chances or them to say no just to be with us. But if they don’t get adopted, I rather we grow up as a family rather than feeling like they belong nowhere,” her voice dropped, “cause that feeling sucks.” She paused. “But don’t expect me to give up!”
Maksim tried to think of something to say to make her see reason, but he understood this could never be so clear cut as it was for him. He didn’t have to think about seven little brothers nor did he have any others to worry about, who wasn’t able to stand up for themselves. Did he have anyone at all, who mattered so much?
He left, taking his papers with him and quietly disappeared back in his room.