Home Books Becoming Jessica – Carla Eatherington

Becoming Jessica – Carla Eatherington

My rucksack slips from my shoulder, but instead of catching it I let it fall onto the foam mattress with a muted thud. Standing motionless for a moment I exhale deeply before sinking down onto the bed beside it. As I land the acrid stench of ammonia wafts up, so I run my hand over the sheets to see whether they are damp or just cold.
What the Hell am I doing here?
Reaching into my jeans pocket, I withdraw a thin pouch of tobacco and rolling papers. I started smoking properly a couple of weeks before my sixteenth birthday and it rapidly became an area of discontent within my foster family. Holding one end tightly between my lips I search my pockets for a lighter. My ears prick up at the sound of a voice, the homeless shelter manager, growing louder as she approaches. Whipping the unlit cigarette from between my lips, I conceal it beneath a thin pillow. Glancing over my shoulder I see her walking side-by-side with a woman in her late forties who repeatedly dabs her eyes with a screwed up tissue.
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