In a moment of terrible clarity, Kerrie Ann took in the squalid scene through the cops’ eyes. She saw her daughter—really saw her—for the first time in weeks: how dirty and unkempt she was and how thin she’d gotten, her ribs sticking out of her narrow brown chest like rungs on a ladder. She saw the stain on the seat of her underpants that had come from not wiping herself properly and have no one to do it for her, the crust of dried food around her mouth. When had she last fed Bella?
Kerrie Ann saw the Children’s Services logo on the card and felt herself hurtling back in time. The old nightmare playing itself over, this time with her child. Her thoughts returned to Lindsay. She still couldn’t get over the fact that she had a sister. Even weirder was that she had no memory of her. How was it possible for those years to be a blank slate?
Her counselor at the clinic, Mary Josephson, a recovering heroin addict with twenty years of sobriety, suggested she call Legal Aid. Days later she had a court date. But that was only the first step.
Kerrie Anne soon discovered that good intentions weren’t enough. Her resume, which listed only a string of short-term jobs, was hardly an incentive for anyone to hire her. The part-time job at Toys “R” Us was the best she could do until she got her GED and some kind of occupational training. And without full-time work, how could she afford an “appropriate” place to live? Life was a series of dominoes: Knock one down, and the rest followed suit. If she could just get her legs under her…
Which was where her sister came in. Lindsay was the only card she had left.