3. Where is she?
I walk Thalia to school in silence. I don’t go to school anymore. The school wasn’t very happy about it but personally I don’t see how an education will put food on the table for me and Thalia, so I spend the rest of the day trying to find work like I always do. Hardly ever do employers pay you in water but money still helps to buy food and other supplies. We were probably supposed to tell the authorities that we had no one to look after us, but if they ever got word of our predicament they would split us up and put us in foster homes. I could never let that happen to little Thalia.
As I walk back along the same dry dirt paths to pick up my sister I wonder if, even after a whole day of school she’s still mad at me for making her drink the water. At first glance it would seem a stupid argument, to fight about a measly half a glass of water but when you are working your butt off for just this and it’s the most important thing in your life next to your family, it really sets the scene of how hard we have it here.
After waiting at our meeting place for about 15 minutes I start to get impatient. After another 10 I start to get worried. Usually we’d be almost home by now and she still hasn’t emerged from the school. A wave of dread fills me. Was she so mad about our argument this morning that she’s run off? Or could the authorities have finally gotten a clue of us? Surely they’d have told me, right? None of these possibilities matter right now though, my little sister is missing and I don’t know where she is.
I rush up the steps and through the school to her classroom, half expecting to see her standing there chatting away to one of her friends. But she's not. She’s gone… she’s gone. As the full reality of it sets in, I sink to my knees beside her desk. She’s gone. All I can think about is how she likes her toast burnt and the way she gazed at me with her big smiling eyes just this morning. I can almost see her standing there in front of me. But of course she’s not, she’s gone. my eyes well up with tears and I bury my face in my hands. It’s strange how at the worst of times like these, the most random and small memories come to you. Even though they are small, to you, right then and there they seem hugely important.
My sadness turns to rage and then someone’s screaming, and I’m only vaguely aware that it is me. I’m not angry at Thalia, or anything she’s done, I’m angry with myself. This is all my fault, I think, which sends me screaming again, I get a few dirty looks but right now I couldn’t care less. I can’t Imagine never seeing my sister again, never seeing her dazzling smile again, so I have to find her. I’d rather jump into the depths than lose my sister… Wait! The depths! After our argument this morning I’m certain that’s where she would have gone. The one place I told her never to go.