Morning brought sunshine to the thin curtains at the window in my room. I woke to the aroma of coffee sifting in under the closed door. The java joined with sausage and the scent of something sweet–my stomach growled and my mouth watered.

I stretched out my arms and legs, sat up and pushed myself to the floor. The kitchen was abuzz with voices. I could hear Johnny and Gus discussing something. I imagined Aunt Margaret at the stove, cooking breakfast. I donned my robe, tied the sash tight and left the room.

My favorite people in all my world were seated at the kitchen table yakking, drinking coffee, being family. Tears burned my eyes. I brushed at my face and tried to compose myself. Can this be my life? Is happiness in my future? I dared not dream. I’m just gonna live it, I thought, take it as it comes.