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I'm in my bedroom, sitting on the floor, playing with my action figures. The bed has already been moved out, along with most of the rest of the furniture in the house. I'm playing on a rug my parents put there after the carpeting was removed, to avoid splinters. The posters on my walls have all been taken down, some saved, some thrown away. All my other toys have been packed into a storage tub or thrown away, and these will be the only ones I have to play with on the car ride.

I hear a soft knocking at my bedroom door. My younger sister. I call for her to enter. She opens the door and sits beside me on the rug.

She has her Barbies and Troll Dolls with her, all the rest of her toys also having been packed or thrown away. We play with the action figures and dolls for a while. My favorite toy is a cyborg action figure, while hers is one of the Barbies. We act out some dumb story lines between my toys and hers.

We get bored and decide to do something else, but our options are limited. The TV is gone, and the house is too bare to play hide-and-seek. We settle for playing tag in the yard, not being allowed to do so inside by our parents due to the splinter hazard.

It's a beautiful early summer day. The yard is as bare as the house interior, save for the sandbox, which as far as I know we are not taking with us. We play in it for a bit, building a sandcastle and playing some more with the dolls and action figures.

The word "eviction" is one of the biggest words I know at age 7, having just picked it up recently. Our parents won't tell us the word or what is actually going on until years later, but I have gotten a sense of it through overhearing their conversations. It means our home is not our home anymore.

My sister is a year younger than me. She has less of a sense of what is happening than I do, but I can tell she is apprehensive. We've been trying to have as much fun as we can during this last day at our house, but it's not exactly working.

Earlier today I wrote my name in the back of my bedroom closet. I also buried a time capsule in the back yard, containing a couple of my less-favored toys and a crayon drawing I had made of our family standing in front of the house, with a man-sized version of my cyborg.

Our parents come outside and say it's time for us to go. We put the dolls and action figures into a lunch box and pile into the small car.

As we drive off to our uncertain future, I make a promise to myself, a silent prayer to myself really, that I will somehow get the house back for us. One day all four of us will live in this house again, even if it takes years.

*****

I'm sitting at a lunch table during 6th grade, with a small group of friends. The transition to middle school has been a little rough, but I haven't faced any major problems with bullying or socialization.

The school district is a little less affluent than where we lived before, but it's not a bad school. Our family has somewhat recovered from the depths of desperation we faced a few years ago. We had to live with our relatives for a little while, and by the end of it my sister and I viewed our cousins basically as siblings. Our new place of living isn't as nice as our old house, but it beats the trailer we were living in for a short time.

I've largely moved on from the trauma of being evicted as a little kid. It's still not a pleasant memory, but once I got old enough to realize how much worse some other kids my age had it, it put things into perspective for me.

I gave up the fantasy of buying back our old home pretty quickly. It was something I came up with to cope with what was happening at the time, but the warm reception and care by our relatives really helped soften the blow.

We did have to go on food assistance, which was a point of shame for Dad, but otherwise we are stable. Still, I keep wondering if another misfortune could derail us again. Though I no longer entertain thoughts of us moving back to the old house, I do still think about the place a lot. I have frequent dreams about the house, some happy and some nightmarish, and some a strange blend of both. I think I have more of these weird dreams than I do actual clear memories of the house by this point.

*****

I just finished decorating my new office. *****

*****

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