Everything. Anything. Gone.
Written by: twinkle tale teller and Starry Storyteller
My sister who I could never live without - Twinkle taleteller
My brother who always puts a smile on my face - Starry Storyteller
Larissa’s life is a total and complete wreck.
She doesn’t know her own mother, and after losing her best friend, school, and nearly everything of her lifestyle she loves, her life is already depressing.
Then, it gets worse. The last parent she has, her dad, is disappearing from her life. His new job requires him to go to different countries every few months, the result, he has no time for Larissa. With no one to care for her, her dad is looking into a dreaded
home for girls! If he picks the wrong one, disaster will strike. Almost everything for this young girl is gone! Don’t worry, it gets EVEN worse. A blur of smoke and a rush of white can, and will ruin the best part of her miserable life.
Will it even get rid of Larissa’s life completely?
I smoothly rolled down the glass black framed window of my dad, Philip Fortini’s black car. As I did that I let the whipping February wind inside. It whipped gently through my dirty blond locks and brush across my pale face. I gazed
into the silver buildings that were lining the edge of the grey asphalt road as the car moved past them, and one by one they went out of my sight.
I focused my eyes on a blue van riding beside us. I looked through the window
where a woman was driving. She seemed to be talking to a little boy sitting in the back seat. I wondered what my mother was doing, all the way in Calgary.
Or wherever she was.
Mother and dad had divorced quite a few years ago, about 8 years ago. I was only 2 years old and I hadn’t got to know mom very well. I don’t remember much of what happened, plus, dad seriously doesn’t like talking
about the divorce or about mom. All I remember is a lot of yelling and fighting, getting worse and more frequent every time. And then, my mom wasn’t there anymore.
I had heard so many stories about loving mothers, that hug
you , say goodnight, read you stories and cheer you up. I have never experienced that feeling to come home to a mother. Most of the time I come home to nobody. Nobody to ask me what I learned. No one for me to tell stories about bullies and best friends. No
one to be there for me.
“Larissa!” I heard dad’s booming voice ahead of me in front of the steering wheel, “For the thousandth time, close that window!”
I turned to face him.
“Sorry, dad. I was just wondering about mother. I didn’t hear you.” I shut my mouth. I knew I shouldn’t of said that.
we have discussed this many times,” my dad said sounding a bit exasperated, “Your mother is not a matter y-”
“Right, right. I’m sorry Dad.” I said, “It’s just...” I changed
my mind and as the rush hour cars drowned out my soft voice, I sighed deeply.
I pulled on the switch that opened and closed the window, holding it for a few seconds to close the window like
dad told me. I thought about him. He seems stern when I tried to talk about mom but… he also seems sad. As I thought about this, I feel really sad too, I wish I knew my mom.
But I felt a spark of anger that was growing
by the second. Why couldn’t dad tell me? Even a bit? I mean, I am part of my mom’s family, I’m her daughter! I have a rightto know! Dad didn’t even give
me even a few details. My face clutched. What do I know about my mother? I asked myself trying to calm down. Then I realized, basically nothing at all. Only that her first name was Marissa - and I think I had sort of been named after her.
I hung my head and stared at the grey and white suitcase beside my feet.
Dad got a new “important” job a few years ago. He’s up next for manager. Dad is so busy all the time! So busy it’s
been so long that I’ve forgotten what his job really is.
I know that we have lots of money, and we have a land rover SUV. Once I was playing outside and nearly hit the car with a ball. Dad scolded me that it was over 200,
So I guess i’m lucky but we move almost every few months. I sighed quietly. I didn’t want dad to hear me.
We were on our way to a new home in Newfoundland. Our previous home
was in the United States, New York. I had my favourite huge red brick bungalow house there, and my favourite school, the only non private school I've gone to in my entire life since kindergarden. We stayed in that house for the most time ever! Two and a half
years to be exact.
There was a girl named Miranda Livingbrook at my old school, St.John the Baptist. I miss her a ton! I’d only been away from her for about 3 weeks, from the aeroplane to car, but it feels like 3 whole
Of course, I move schools every year, but losing this school was the absolute worst. Miranda was my best friend… actually one of my only ones. I had never been so close to anyone at a school… and now I would
never see her again. I probably wouldn't even have someone like her! She was supposed to give me her email on the last day of school when signing yearbooks, but she was away for some reason. I now had no way of contacting her.
unzipped my pink jacket a little bit. It was getting pretty hot and my jacket felt even tighter than before. Dad doesn’t get me new things until they are too small. The silver zipper slid ever so smoothly along the track on my jacket and it slipped of
the edge as I dropped it onto my lap. Like a train going freely on the track, ready to slide of the end and reconnect. I wish I was free like that.
I looked up at dad. He doesn’t spend much time with me and my brother Ben.
He has to go on work trips a lot so I stay home with Ben. I leaned on the black armrest and as I listened to the radio for twenty minutes, song after song, soon I drifted to a light sleep.
There was a blinding yellow light in front of my eyes! I wiggled in my seat for a moment.
I heard the front car door slam shut. I
opened my eyes half way. As my eyes searched I found out we were at an ESSO gas station. I watched motionless as click my dad attached the vacuum thing to the side of the car and walked over to the post. He clicked a few buttons as
he picked his amount of Gas and confirmed.
I shut my eyes and wondered about my new school. I was excited and nervous at the same time! It was a private school, which now seems absolutely regular to me. This time, the school
is close enough for me to walk to it and back home. Dad said it was called something like stone jet private elementary school.
I was starting next Monday. Today was Friday, so that meant in...3 days I would be at my new school!
But, in a completely different place where I would have to make new friends, maybe enemies or no one. Happy times, happy times. At least March break was a week into school!
I heard the
car door open with the bling bling of the door and I snapped out of my day dream. I looked at the ticking clock on the Dashboard as dad sat down on the chair, buckled his seatbelt and started the engine, 7:24.
I wonder how far
away the new house is? I thought.
I opened my mouth to ask dad but then he started humming “Peter Cottontail!” I didn’t want to disturb him.
“We have about an
hour drive ahead so if you're hungry I have some granola bars and apple juice boxes in the read cooler!” My dad said as he finished a round of his humming. He turned his head towards me at a red light.
really hungry! It had been a long drive. I thought for a minute then shook my head no. I wasn't in the mood.
“Okay, Larissa! Welcome to your new home.“ I glanced out the window and saw my new house. We were the first house on Crow Trail Avenue. Number 133.
I sighed. My dad makes it sound so good. I thought. I pulled out my suitcase and dragged my purple running shoes towards the brown little house. The green garage doors were faded and I stared at them
until dad opened them and backed the car inside.
“C’mon, Reese!” My 17 year old brother, Ben, called me from inside the house. He had come here the day before, on a bus. I groaned. I HATE
when he calls me Reese! The word Reese makes absolutely no sense! It’s a type of chocolate! And it sounds like a boy name! But of course, that was why he called me it.
I shot back smiling. He hated that one.
He rolled his eyes. “Ok, ok, I get your point.” His eyes lit up again “Let’s go explore the new house!”
Thanks for reminding me. I thought in my head, annoyed. I climbed up the stairs and stepped into the doorway. I looked around the room. My brother had already bounded up the stairs. I stared at my pale face in the gold framed mirror
to my left.
I took of my shoes and put them at the edge of the mat. I pulled my suitcase further into the house and set it down beside me.
There was a staircase to my left, and a living room on the
right. Straight ahead was the kitchen, which was pretty big. I ignored the kitchen and living room and turned left climbing up the brown gloomy staircase and lugging my suitcase behind me. I passed a room, in which my brother had already started unloading
his stuff in.
I went ahead, and found an even bigger room! I wondered why my brother had picked the smaller one I walked inside, feeling a little better that I have a great room! Oh. My
dad was in the corner of the room unloading his guitar. That’s why.
I walked out of the room and turned left. I walked through a narrow hallway, and found a small room, about the same size as Ben’s. I figured it was
mine, and set down my suitcase on the dusty floor.
Ok, ok. I had to admit it, it was a pretty nice home. I guess everything looked gloomy in my eyes, even when it really wasn't. I had to leave everything I had! My best friend,
my school, and my favourite house! To make things worse, my mother was on the other side of the world probably having a huge party, while I was left here all alone.
I opened up my suitcase
with it’s smooth silver zipper. Just like the one on my jacket. Except this one could not get off the track. It was not free. Just like me. I am the zippers tab. My dad is the finger endlessly moving me around the world. Then when I find a good comfortable
home and school or spot on the zipper track. I’m pulled away with no choice.
My eyes are starting to water.
I reach into the white compartment of my
suitcase and pulled out my thin, golden bracelet tucked away in a black velvet pouch. My full name was engraved inside with my birthday. I had worn it when I was a baby. I never knew why. It is too small for me, but it gives me happiness and luck.
Larissa Abigail Fortini
April 3 2004
I sat down on the bed. A single tear dripped down my right green eye as I clutched the tiny bracelet in my palm. I could feel the tear tingle down my cheek. I reached over and placed the
bracelet carefully down on the small wooden table beside my bed. I took a deep breath brushed my hand against my cheek and stood up.
I pulled out my white blanket from my suitcase spreading it carefully onto my brown framed bed
and tucking in the corners
Reaching down a second time I pulled out my comforter. It was plain baby blue. I spread it from one end of the bed to the other.
tear rolled down my cheek, this time down my left cheek.
Reaching down into the suitcase I picked up a pile of tops. I headed for the closet It opened with a tiny click. I found a dusty
white wooden dresser. In the 4th out of 5 drawers I put my shirts inside. I swallowed. I felt like crying but I told myself I was stronger than that, I’m not.
I went back to my suitcase shutting the closet behind me.
I pulled out my white soft pillow. I brought it to my bed, then froze.
So many thoughts and emotions ran through my head. I smacked the pillow down on my bed and then collapsed on top of it. I cried my heart
“Larissa.” I heard a cheerful voice from my doorway. Then shortly after a knock. It was Ben. I sniffed and tried to hide my tears from him, but I couldn’t. I heard the click of the door opening. I could
see his bright smile through the corner of my eye. His smile slowly faded. “What’s wrong?” He asked when he saw me.
That made me cry even more. I was now bawling my eyes
out. The pillow was feeling more and more wet by the second. Ben came and sat down on the bed beside me, he hugged me tight. A soft tender hug. The kind that can cheer you up anytime. Ben feels like a second dad to me, he always helps me when I’m in
trouble or sad. Unlike dad he was always there. Even though he did tease me sometimes, I could never live without him.
I sat up on the bed and hugged my pillow. I hid my face
in his arms, and cried.
“Larissa, you miss mom. I do too. But we can get through this together. As a team” Ben’s voice seemed to crack at the end of his sentence.
I felt a wet tingle on my head, and turned my head slightly. My brother was crying too.
I paused unsure of what to say.
“It’s n-not ju-st mom.” I stuttered between
cries. “I miss the old house, school and… I miss Miranda.”
“Oh,” he said smiling a bit, “The one I let you invite to my 16th birthday party, and then you two danced in the kitchen!”
“Ya!” I said sniffling. I lifted up my head remembering the moment, “She bumped into the banana stand on the counter and they spilled onto the floor! And then she didn’t see them so she jumped right on them while
doing the hokey pokey! What a mushy mess!”
My brother smiled “Exactly,” Then he turned a bit, “Dad got so mad at us!”
We both laughed. I wrapped my arms around his arm,
leaned against him and sighed.
We were both silent for what felt like hours.
“Hey!” My brother said, “How about we make a new tradition in
the Fortini Family?!”
“What?” I said, a bit curious.
He slowly stood up. “Every Wednesday we go for ice cream!” He said smiling.
cream!” I asked excitedly. By the look of his face I could tell he meant it.
“Yep! To Mr. Sugar’s Ice Cream Parlour!” He exclaimed. “Every Wednesday after school, which is at 3:40 when you get home.
We can use my money from my summer job!”
“And what do ya know!” He continued after a few seconds, “Today is Wednesday! Ready for ice cream m’lady!”
He did a bowing gesture and I giggled.
I stood up from the bed and we both linked arms. Then we both walked out the door.
As we both skipped down the stairs to dad, I made a mental
note to mark each Wednesday on my calendar with an ice cream symbol.
“ICE CREAM! ICE CREAM! ICE CREAM!” Ben and I chant in my dad’s black sedan.
After a lot of persuading and begging, my dad finally let us take his car to the ice cream shop!
My brother had gotten his license last year, so we could go to the ice cream place all by ourselves.
Finally we pulled into the parking lot. The bright yellow and pink sign was right in front of our car.
I hopped out the door and my brother came out the other side. I was so excited! I waited till I saw Ben then I ran...right into a man standing in the doorway!
“Sorry!” I exclaimed, embarrassed.
He was wearing a red hoodie, and ripped jeans. He puffed some smoke from a cigar into my face. I shut my mouth and coughed. He stared at me, his lips pursed. Then he weirdly smiled, and walked away. I shuddered, and ran inside the ice cream
My brother pulled me aside, “remember, It’s rude to stare” he told me.
I nodded as we got into the line.
“Hello, how may I help you?” A lady with thin grey hair and glasses stared at us. It was our turn to order.
“Two medium sized bowls please. I’ll have a chocolate and vanilla swirl with
rainbow sprinkles on top.” My brother said.
He nodded to me. “Anything you want Larissa.”
I grinned. Usually when we got ice cream with my dad we were only
allowed to have fruit flavors! And definitely no toppings!
“Well…” I paused. There are so many flavours to choose from! “Well, I guess I’ll have Vanilla with gummy worms
on top.” I glanced at the lady at the counter and smiled. “Thanks.”
She passed a paper to a man and then nodded towards Ben. “That will be 12.99 sir.” My brother took out his wallet and gave her the
“Please wait over there,” she motioned with her head to the Pick Up counter. “Your order will be there in a few minutes. May I please have your first name so we can call it when the order is ready to pick
“Benjamin.” My brother replied, and we walked to the Pick Up counter.
I murmured as I slurped a gummy worm into my mouth. “This is the best ice cream I’ve ever had!”
Ben smiled. “I know!” He said. “We should totally show this place to
We finished our ice cream, threw our cups away in the recycling and then headed into the breeze for the car.
“Hey! Dad’s birthday is coming up, we should take him here!”
I exclaimed, after we started driving along the road.
“Okay, great idea!” My brother said, stopping at a red light.
We both talked about dad's birthday surprise the rest of the way home
stopping to sing along to our favourite songs. I grinned as Ben pulled into the driveway and we both walked up the front steps. Things were looking brighter now.
Ben put the key in the lock and opened the door. I hopped inside
and quickly took of my shoes. I rushed around the house looking for dad to tell him about the yummy ice cream!
“Dad!” I yelled, smiling “Where are you?”
I heard my dad’s
voice, “Over here Larissa!”
I ran into the living room where my dad was packing his dell computer. He was dressed in black pants a white top with a red tie.
My smile faded. I know from
experience that whenever I see this outfit, he’s going somewhere.
“Where are you going?” I asked gloomily.
“Oh, I’m going on a business trip this March Break!”
He replied. “You can stay home with Ben.”
“Oh, ok.” I said, nodding.
But then Dad pulled me in closer. “Next year, I will have to go on a business trip for the entire
summer, the entire 2 months.” He said, and sighed. “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to let you stay home with Ben alone for that long. I’ve been looking into a home for girls.”
wrong?” Ben asked.
“Dad says next year I can’t stay home with you when he goes on a business trip, and I have to go to a home for girls!” I told him, burying my face in his shoulder.
Ben said. “I’ll be 18 by then! I’ll basically be an adult!” He put his hand on my shoulder, meaning he was on my side.
“Let’s think about it when time comes.”Dad
said quietly. He looked up at us, “For now, I need to pack, and you, Larissa, have to get ready for your dance class!”
Oh yeah! I thought. Dad had signed me up for jazz classes. He said it would help me
get comfortable in my new home.
I left the room and quickly rushed up the stairs. I went through the hallway and into my room. I slid into my leotard body suit, and slipped my thin black
shorts on top. I had never been to dance classes before, and I was super excited.
I grabbed my dance shoes from my suitcase. Within minutes, I was waiting in the car for dad to drive me. But instead,
Ben Opened the door to the driver’s seat!
“Where’s dad?” I asked him, as he got into the seat.
“He wants to finish packing, and he asked me to drive you.” He replied.
“Do you have your water bottle?” He asked me, turning around.
“Oh yeah, I forgot! About that!” I opened the door and rushed out of the car, I rushed up the front stairs clicked open door and scurried into
I walked over to the counter and grabbed my new pink waterbottle. Once I got back in the car we drove away.
“Are you excited?” asked Ben.
huh!” I exclaimed. “I can’t wait! Although I am a bit nervous.”
Ben and I chatted a bit more, and then we pulled up to the parking lot of the dance studio.
A big white sign
said “Tippy Toes Dance Academy”
“Good luck!” Ben told me turning his head, I got out of the car and watched him pull away.
I skipped into the dance studio, took off my shoes
placing them on the rack and walked into the office. A young lady with purple hair was behind the counter.
“Hello, how can I help you?” She asked.
“Um, can you tell me where the
jazz class with Ms. McKinley is?” I replied, shyly.
“Turn right and you should see her room in the corner.” She told me, and then began typing something down on her laptop.”
followed her directions, and found a small yellow room. There were 3 girls practising each in a corner of the room, a blonde one, a few inches taller than me, one with auburn hair, a bit shorter than me, and one with super curly brown hair. I smiled at them,
and the blonde one returned with a smirk.
“Um, hi.” I said, quietly. “Is this Ms. McKinley’s jazz class?”
it is” a voice said.
I turned my head to the direction of the voice. A lady with brown short hair and glasses smiled at me. I returned the smile.
I walked further in and stood in the last corner.
The teacher came to the front of the room and told us to pivots. Then she demonstrated. “Pivot on right foot. Land on left. Stop. Pivot on left foot. Land on right. Stop.” She chanted. Then she walked to the music
player and started a song called “swing”
The other girls immediately started practicing “grapevines” as I fumbled with my feet.
on right foot. Land on what? Pivot on, wait. I forgot something. Uh... Pivot left foot. Land on right? Or left? Wait a minute? Hmm…
The teacher looked me in the eyes. She walked to my corner.
need help?” She asked smiling.
I nodded, and the girls giggled behind me, as I felt my face burn red.
“Keep at those stretches!” Ms. McKinley said.
I smiled. Jazz was actually pretty easy! I went into the splits and then closed my legs and did a bridge. I slowly stood up.
be right back girls!” She said walking towards the door.
I heard the click of the door.
I looked at the other girls as I did another pivot on my right foot followed by a grape vine.
The blonde girl nodded her head at the auburn haired. The girl walked over to the music player and pressed pause. I smiled. I don't know if you can turn off the music but Maybe they wanted to talk!
The blonde girl said as she sashayed my way. “Aren’t you the new girl?”
“Could tell,” she said, a bit mean. I figured I just misunderstood her. “I’m
Tara! We saw how um, well, your moves need a bit of improvement. It takes a while for a person like you to master the art of jazz! It took us less than a week, but we’re talented. You on the other hand… well… I suppose soon you’ll
be able to do a simple move properly! Like, in a few years?”
The group of girls laughed, and my smile faded.
From then, it all happened so fast. The girl with curly brown hair smirked, and gave
me a shove towards the door, right when Ms. McKinley came in, I knocked into her and she dropped her binder.
“LaRIssa!” She said. “Be more careful!” I picked up her binder and she took it from my hand.
Then she paused and looked at the DVD player sitting on the chair.
“Did you stop the music?!” She scolded her voice now very loud, “If you aren’t going to participate properly, why don’t you go in
the corner, while I work with Rayna, Tara, and Millana on some harder moves. You might not be able to do them anyway.”
My eyes started to water. I felt so embarrassed! I held in my tears and nodded.
I headed to the corner of the room, to serve my unfair punishment, I saw the blonde girl, Tara, smirking at me. I began some stretches, as I wiped each tear before it could roll down my cheek and be seen by anyone.
I tucked my legs up and sat in the corner of my bed, and I let tears fall freely down my face. Everything - my old school, my old friends, and my old house - was just… gone. And as soon
as I thought things were gonna get better, when dad enrolled me in jazz classes, I was terrible and there were bullies. My whole good life was gone...well, that is a bit exaggerated, I have ice cream, maybe I’ll make new friends,
and I have Ben and dad!
Ben...on the way home from dance, I hadn’t said anything to him. He didn't say anything to me. Then I thought maybe he had a bad day too? But now I have a scary thought that what if the dance studio
called to report my incident and how I'm not good at Jazz!
I shook my head. That was unlikely. But after all of these bad things happening to me, there was definitely a chance that the rule would manage to slip in one more thing,
or maybe two! It seemed like so many things that could happen in the future! I’ll make a list so I can prevent them I tell myself.
I slowly reach for my notepad. I flip through the thin pages. One by one they fall behind.
I stop at one page and start to smile. It was when miranda drew me. She had said that the nose was too big and I had told her I loved it. She had written the date on the bottom with a BFF sign. I sighed and forced myself to turn the page. I opened up to a
blank page and wrote “Bad Things That Can Happen” at the top on top of the pink line.