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Three Little Words

224 pages
Sixteen-year-old Sid barely remembers his birth mother and has no idea who his father was. Raised on an idyllic island by loving foster parents, Sid would be content to stay there forever, drawing, riding his bike, hanging out with his friend Chloe and helping out with Fariza, a newly arrived foster child. But when a stranger named Phil arrives on the island with disturbing news about his birth family – including a troubled younger brother – Sid leaves all that is familiar to help find the sibling he didn't know existed. What he discovers is a family fractured by mental illness, but also united by strong bonds of love and compassion. As Sid searches for his brother, gets to know his grandmother, and worries about meeting his biological mother, he realizes that there will never be a simple answer to the question, Am I my brother's keeper?
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three littlewords
sarah n. har vey
Copyright ©2012Sarah N. Harvey
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Harvey, Sarah N.,1950 Three little words [electronic resource] / Sarah N. Harvey. Electronic monograph.
Issued also in print format. isbn 9781459800663 (pdf).isbn 9781459800670 (epub)
I. Title. ps8615.a764t47 2012jc813’.6 c20129022632
First published in the United States,2012 Library of Congress Control Number:2012938211
Summary: When Sid leaves his foster family on their remote island home in search of the mother he doesn’t remember and a brother he’s never met, he’s illprepared for the surprises he finds.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover artwork by Mike Deas Design by Teresa Bubela Author photo by David Lowes
orca book publishers po Box 5626,Stn. B Victoria,bc Canadav8r 6s4
orca book publishers po Box 468 Custer, wa usa 982400468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
For Robin Stevenson
Have a Heart
îd, tîs îs Farîza.” S Sîd ooks up at te sound o Megan’s voîce.Se îs standîng în te kîtcen doorway, er and restîng îgty on a îtte gîr’s ead. he gîr îs wearîng a ong baggy gray T-sîrt tat stops just sort o er knees.Her eet are bare and dîrty; Lakes o sparky purpe poîs cîng to er toenaîs. Her cury back aîr îs ong and matted, îke a era poode’s. A beaded braceet encîr-ces one skînny brown wrîst. Se must ave arrîved în te nîgt, on te ast erry. ït îs ony seven o’cock now, barey îgt. Sîd îsn’t usuay up tîs eary în te summer, but e as promîsed to ep Caeb on te boat today, gettîng ît ready or anoter carter. “Hey,” e says to te gîr, “want some Ceerîos?”He gestures at te yeow box on te tabe în ront
sarah n. har vey
o îm and stands up to get anoter bow rom te cupboard. he gîr Lînces and ducks beînd Megan. Sîd srugs and goes back to îs newspaper. Not tat e was readîng te news. He never does. He îgures î sometîng îs împortant enoug—Canada goîng to war, anoter oî spî on te coast, Brad and Angeîna breakîng up— e’ ear about ît soon enoug rom îs rîend Coe, wo îves next door. Coe doesn’t read te newspaper eîter. Se gets er news onîne: CNN, TMZ andhe New York Times. Se says news reportîng îs îke eggs: ard-boîed, sot-boîed or medîum. No, Sîd îs readîng te comîcs and grappîng wît te same questîons e as asked ever sînce e was od enoug to read a captîon: Wy îsFamily Circusstî în prînt? Wo reads ît? Wo îkes ît? Wy do te kîds never grow up te way tey do înFor Better or Worse? Wy îs everybody wîte? Wy are teîr eads saped îke soccer bas? He atesHi and Loistoo. AndBlondie. He îmag-înes tey a îve on te same borîng street în te same borîng suburb. A teîr ouses are îdentîca and a te aters mow teîr awns on Sundays beore tey Ire up te barbecues and car some meat. Sîd smîes. Maybe teFamily Circusmom îs avîng an afaîr wît Hî. oîs and Bondîe become overs and eave a te kîds wît teFamily Circusgrandma, wose bîngo addîctîon gets out o contro.Family Circusdad as a breakdown and îs arrested ater e robs a convenîence store at gunpoînt,
t hree lit t le words
wearîng ony one o îs ex’s aprons and îg ees. Dagwood wrîtes a te-a memoîr, gets rîc and dîes o a eart attack în bed wît two underage mae ookers dressed as Batman and Robîn. “Wat’s so unny, Sîd?” Caeb sîts down at te tabe and reaces or te cerea. Sîd sakes îs ead. “Notîng. Just readîng te comîcs.” “Dîd you meet our new arrîva?” “Yea. Wat’s up wît er?” “Emergency pacement. Reay bad amîy scene în Vancouver. Se’s been în care or sîx monts, bouncîng around. Socîa Servîces was ookîng or a ong-term pacement and tougt se’d be better away rom te cîty. Can’t te you muc more tan tat.” Sîd nods. Over te years e as îved wît Megan and Caeb, dozens o kîds ave come and gone. Some stay onger tan oters; none as stayed as ong as Sîd. Fourteen years. Sînce e was two and Megan îsed îm out o te water between Megan and Caeb’s boat,teCaprice, and te pîece o sît boat e and îs îppîe-wannabe mom ad been îvîng on. Sîd as ony te wîspîest memorîes o te boat or îs bîrt moter.he boat—Megan says ît was caedAmpitrite, îke te Greek goddess o te sea—was dark green and smeed o rottîng wood and wat e now knows was dope. Even now ît makes îm nauseous to be around anyone wo’s smokîng up. Sîd’s bîrt moter’s ega name was Debora, but se caed erse Devî, ater some Hîndu goddess.
sarah n. har vey
Te name on er son’s bîrt certîîcate îs Sîddarta Eîkenboom. Sîd’s ater’s name îs îsted asUnknown. Sîd was ten wen Megan Inay sowed îm îs bîrt certîIcate and expaîned tat Sîddarta was anoter name or Budda. He was more puzzed tan upset by îs u name and îs bîrt ater’s anonymîty. Caeb was îs ater, wasn’t e? Megan nodded and saîd se was sorry tat se dîdn’t ave any oter înormatîon. Sîd srugged and asked î e coud go and pay wît Coe. he bîrt certîIcate was returned to a sae deposît box at te bank. Devî was ong gone, takîng wît er te knowedge o Sîd’s paternîty— î se ever knew ît. heAmpitritepued away rom te war soon ater Megan reported Devî to Socîa Servîces. Devî asn’t been back nor as se stayed în touc. To Sîd se îs a cîmera wît ong red curs îke îs own, curs te coor o te bark o te arbutus trees tat rîng te cove. Sîd was Megan and Caeb’s Irst oster cîd. He wî probaby be teîr ast. He can’t îmagîne îvîng anywere ese. he tree o tem moved of te boat wen Sîd was tree, and tere as aways been anoter kîd or two în te bîg ouse by te erry dock. Every tîme anoter kîd arrîves, Megan says ît wî be te ast tîme, but Sîd knows better. He aso knows better tan to get attaced to any o te oter kîds, especîay ater wat appened wît Tobîn, wo ad come to stay at te ouse wen Sîd was eeven. Sîd ad tougt Tobîn woud stay orever. hîck as tîeves, Megan aways saîd. He reay beîeved tat tey woud buîd a cabîn în te orcard, were Sîd woud draw and
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Tobîn woud pay îs guîtar. But Tobîn saîd e coudn’t pay musîc by îmse. And an audîence o one, no matter ow devoted, wasn’t enoug. He ad et sîx monts ago, not ong ater e turned eîgteen. He caed every now and agaîn, usuay rom some cub, but Sîd knew e wasn’t comîng back. Not to stay, anyway. Ater Tobîn, Sîd kept îs dîstance rom te kîds wo came and went. “How od îs se?” e asks now. “Eîgt,” Caeb repîes. “Se’s scared.” Caeb sîgs. “Yea. Se’s got reason to be. Beîeve me. Se mîgt be ere a wîe.” “Coo,” Sîd repîes. “Coe needs a new project.Se’s drîvîng me crazy.” Caeb augs. “Good or er. Tat’s wat rîends are or, rîgt? Someone’s gotta drag you away rom tat book.” He nods toward a coî-bound sketcbook tat sîts on te tabe at Sîd’s ebow. Sîd spreads îs and over te book’s scued cover, atoug e knows Caeb won’t touc ît. Respect and prîvacy are bîg în tîs ouse. Reay bîg. Caeb îs rîgt toug: et aone, Sîd woud sît at îs desk a day, dreamîng and drawîng. Forgettîng to eat, seep or cange îs cotes, atoug e as a sîmpe system or cotes. From te ïdes o Marc to hanksgîvîng e wears paîn sort-seeved back T-sîrts, skînny back jeans cut o to just beow te knee, back Vans, no socks and a paîn back ba cap. ï e’s cod, e puts on a paîn back oodîe.
sarah n. har vey
Ater hanksgîvîng, îs sîrt as ong seeves, îs jeans aren’t cut of and e trades în îs îg-tops or Romeos,te sîp-on boots te oca Isermen wear. He wears tem wît tîck gray wooen work socks, te kînd wît te red strîpe at te top. he strîpe îs îs ony concessîon to coor. He covers îs curs wît a Back Watc cap. He as a pufy back Nort Face jacket e ardy ever wears. Soppîng îs straîgtorward and reatîvey paîness. Once în a wîe, on estîve occasîons—Crîstmas or îs bîrtday—e wî wear te bet Coe bougt îm. Wîde and back wît our rows o conîca studs, ît makes îm ee menacîng, îke a cop weîgted down at te îps wît a gun,a nîgt stîck, a Taser. Wen e wears ît, everybody smîes, încudîng îm. He îs about as menacîng as a Q-tîp. Megan says e was a catty todder, racîng up and down te war, învestîgatîng crab traps and coîs o rope, casîng seagus în îs cunky trît-store boots.He ony beîeves er because e knows se doesn’t îe. hat cîd îs gone. Hîs bouncy todder se appears ony brîey în îs notebook—ten ît îs ost în te casm between te two boats, aong wît one o îs boots.Not tat e’s unappy now—ar rom ît—but no one woud ever descrîbe îm as catty or bouncy. He stands up and puts îs bow în te dîswaser. “Wat are we doîng today?” e asks Caeb. “he usua stuf. You cean te boat and ï make sure te engîne’s runnîng okay. hen we’ do some grocery soppîng. Hît te îquor store.”