Daniel Wilmar

Verge of leaving a foster child center.

Recent Stories

Published: Oct 08, 2020

He's a Screamer

He screamed today. At the top of his lungs. I mean it; he screamed today. One of those fits that you cannot predict or stop once it's begun. You've got to let it run its course. I always ask him about them later. If you ask too soon, he'll call you names, kick you, punch you. He knows the problem he has, but he does not know how to stop it.

I'll say, "What happened today?"

He'll say, "I don't know."

"You know you can't act like that."

"Yeah." His eyes aimed at the ground, searching for ants. "I know."

"What can we do about it?"

"I don't know."

We've had this discussion a number of times, more than I can count. Round we go without any improvement.

Published: Sep 26, 2020


Daniel sat at the board waiting for his opponent. It was the final game of the day and he was playing black. His record would say he was better with the white pieces but he preferred to play with the black ones. Reacting to the other player's moves was somehow easier than pushing them around, dictating their next moves. He had trouble finding the plan, and seeing several moves ahead.

He wondered where his parents were at that moment. Were they even alive? The adults could not or would not reveal his true past. Often he imagined they thought it would destroy his hope for the future, but he did not see it that way. Daniel expected a lot of himself and knowing about his past would tell him what his weaknesses might be. He could then avoid those same issues that had plagued his parents, whomever they might be. This was his strength in chess; and he expected it to be the same in life.

Published: Sep 08, 2020

What About the Rain

The rain fell. It had been falling for days. The drip off the roof sounded like a shower in progress. The gutters were tilted and the water rushed down the shingles over the side straight to the ground. Outside his window he could see into other parts of the building, it curved back toward itself, jutted away at sharp angles, and formed a lose shape with many sides.

Daniel didn't feel sadness in the rain, though many around him did. They felt attached to the sun but he wanted the sun to stay away. It was hot and unyielding. Often the children were sad when the day was rainy and they were forced to stay inside. This he did not understand and the drip of water from his hair and nose, the cling of his clothes, the squishy suction of his shoes reminded him that life could be fun and strange.

Published: Sep 03, 2020

Happy Unpleasant Birthday

I was seventeen at the time, approaching eighteen, wondering if I would feel different, if anything would suddenly change to mark the passage of another year. Up to that point none of my birthdays had meant anything but another moment spent within the walls, confined by time, people, rules, objects, my own thoughts. At the home, your birthday consisted of a cupcake with a single candle on the top, unlit. The other children stared with jealousy, attacking notions behind their eyes. I knew the emotion all too well, having felt the same thing.

Eighteen was different, there was no cupcake, there was no child. You were an adult, which meant you were not there. It had happened six times during my life at the home. Each time the excited talk, the questions, and the desire to break free. And that's what they did. The night before they stayed out all night, breaking the curfew, and never returning at all to accept their punishment. Adulthood meant you could leave; and six out six possible times an eighteenth birthday came that was the outcome.

Eighteen meant I could leave, but would I.

Published: Sep 01, 2020

Joan and Avery

Joan was a lovely girl just admitted into the ward along with her younger sister. Both had fiery hair and orange complexions peppered with brown freckles. They smiled willingly and approved of all kinds of breakfast cereals so long as they were allowed to eat it dry, that is with the milk in a glass on the side. I could not guess their exact ages but they certainly were not out of primary school. They would join me in the fall at the education building for basics in math, reading, and writing.

The sister was shorter and skinnier, her clothes often hung about her body like a flag on a windless day. Her name was Avery. She stayed close to Joan and wouldn't speak without looking for formal approval.

No one could say for sure why they came to our house for children but they story was nearly the same for any of us ... deceased parents.