I didn’t want to love Frankie. I just wanted to fix her. But the thing about babies is, you mix up formula for them in the middle of the night—unwrap their blankets, change their diapers, run your fingernail across the bottom of their tiny bare feet until they’re awake enough to eat—and the next thing you know they’ve got their little fingers wrapped around your soul, and they don’t ever let go.
I had to do things for Frankie. Whatever needed to be done. I just had to.
So I learned what hours DHS is Nobody wanted to hear she was starving. open. What paperwork you have to take to the office, who to call if you swipe your Oregon Trail card at the grocery store and it turns out there’s no money on it because your mom missed the appointment and didn’t tell you. I learned where to go to get secondhand onesies. Who gives out free formula on what days. How to turn in cans for quarters to pay for laundry, where to find work when people say there isn’t any.
I learned. I’ve got a knack for it.
By the time I Nobody wanted to hear she was starving. turned fourteen, I was making more money than my mom was, and I guess I started to think I was the man of the house. The rock the surf broke over. Invincible.
Then my dad showed up.
If I was the rock, he was the tide. Nothing I could do to keep him from dragging my mom back out to sea. All I could manage was to keep Frankie sheltered, give her somewhere to hide and huddle so he couldn’t drag her under, too.
After that, I started thinking about what else I could do.
Just working and Nobody wanted to hear she was starving. keeping shit together the way I was already—it wasn’t ever going to be good enough. I had to give Frankie a life somewhere else, somewhere better, or she was going to end up like all the other girls, screwing twelve-year-old boys in supply closets, getting screwed over again and again by some worthless bastard she’s decided she’s in love with.
I couldn’t stand the thought of it.
When I was old enough to drive, I got a job at this ritzy golf course twenty-five miles away. I got that job on purpose, because I Nobody wanted to hear she was starving. knew if there was anywhere I could meet the right people, study them, figure out how to become one of them, it was there.
I worked my way up to caddying, which is how I met Dr. Tomlinson. I caddied for him once when his usual guy was sick, and then he requested me and I got to be his usual guy.
This golf course I’m talking about—when I say it’s ritzy, I mean it’s so ritzy that people fly there from all over the world just to play golf, and once they pick their Nobody wanted to hear she was starving. caddy they keep the same caddy for as long as they want. It’s swank.
So, anyway, Dr. T is rich—an anesthesiologist—and his wife comes from money. I’ve been in their house, high up on a bluff with a view over the golf course. It’s huge, clean, everything immaculate, nothing broken or out of place.