"College Girl"

She'd been saving her money now for six years. It was in a bank account and she kept the book hidden. The monthly statements came to her post office box at Mailboxes, etc. and she never told anyone about what she was doing because she knew if she did...they'd find a way to get her money.

THEY were her Aunt and cousin of whom she'd lived with for the past eight years...since the 4th grade. She felt like Cinderella except at least they cared about where Cinderella was. Her Aunt and cousin didn't. They thought she was off doing what her cousin was doing...messing around with boys and goofing off.

She wasn't.

She'd been working since she met Mrs. Breedlove down at the old folks home. At first it was for a little cash every now and then...and when she was old enough...Mrs. Breedlove put her on the payroll and she got a check just like everybody else. Seemed wrong getting paid for doing what she loved doing. Seemed wrong getting paid for caring for those she loved.

They were her family. She had 21 grandparents. 15 grandmothers and 6 grandfathers.

She knew she was blessed. Cuz she could be like her cousin.

She'd saved $38,684.62. And she was going to college. She had a partial scholarship Mrs. Breedlove helped her get and she was leaving in two weeks. Two weeks to freedom. To a brand new her.

She'd had it all planned all of her life. She was going to go to one of those salons you saw on tv and get her hair done up real good. She'd been letting it grow...keeping it up in a bun for years because she wanted it to be long enough for the perfect college girl ponytail. Then...she was going shopping. She had a folder full of clothes that looked like college girls should look like and she was going to get everything she needed. She'd picked out her comforter set and towels and had them on layaway at TJ Maxx. Sure...she could have bought it already...but she didn't have anywhere to keep it.

She'd pick it up on her way out...in her new car, a second hand Volkswagon Beetle that looked just like a college girl's car should look.

She was ready.

She got to work that day early as she always did and she checked the schedule to see who would be on today. Noting that she was doing recreation that day, she went to the supply closet and got out a few games... Bingo, Connect Four, Checkers, Chess and went to the reck room.

When she opened the door they all yelled "SURPRISE!" and she cried and cried and cried.

She left that day of her going away party with a fist full of cards stuffed with money. About $300 extra dollars she hadn't counted on to add to her stash.

She was ready.

She was going to college.

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