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Mavi had never been clueless. With a full head of light colored hair that had finally darkened with at the age of eleven, she’d never had the luxury of being a dumb blonde. Growing up in foster care…Continue
Mavi's walk home wasn't exactly in the prime of the city; it never had been when she grew up in the slums of Chicago and there was something about new cities and new places that drew her to the…Continue
LEGAL NAME: Maverick Esme Talman
ETYMOLOGY: INDEPENDENT, a NONCONFORMIST the name Maverick is a traditional masculine name and suits the atypical free-spirit. It is of American origin. | BELOVED the name Esmé is a traditional feminine name and is generally spelled with an accent on the finally é, making it pronounced EZ-may, however in Maverick's case it is simply pronounced the way it is spelled. EZ-me. The name is French in origin. | STONE or FOREBEARER the name Talman is Greek in ancestry and is Mavi’s adoptive surname. Her biological surname and family are unknown.
NICKNAMES: Mavi - teachers, Mavi’s teachers at the nunnery shortened her name when at age four she had trouble pronouncing it. The nickname stuck. | Essie - her adoptive family chose to call her something based off her middle name believing the name ‘Maverick’ to be boyish and unladylike. | Mav - to friends and family, this is the final shortened version of her name
SEXUALITY: Predominantly heterosexual, on occasion, bisexual
SPECIES: Dhampir | Mavi is half human, half valkyr on her biological father’s side.
TATTOOS | PIERCING(S): A tattoo of two tiny hearts on shoulder blade, and a quill pen that twists behind her left ear| Ears are pierced traditionally though she only wears simply jewelry.
NOTABLE JEWELRY: A thin gold ring on her left pinkie finger that she purchased when her daughter was born. It has her birthdate, the July ruby, and both of their initials engraved inside.
DATE OF BIRTH 16th November, 1993 | 25 years old | Looks 19
ZODIAC SIGN | EXPLAINED: Scorpio | I’m defined by my strong will, sensitivity, and ability to support others
PLACE OF BIRTH: Las Vegas, Nevada
RESIDENCE: New York, New York home | Cambridge, Massachusetts college | Chicago, Illinois childhood | Evermore, Colorado current
EDUCATION: Mavi attended a private Catholic school for the entirety of her elementary school years. It was only in middle school that she transitioned into public school and then high school. | She attended college at MIT ( Massachusetts Institute for Technology) and studied Journalism.
HAIR| EYE COLOR: Mavi's natural hair color is a dark blonde that could be described as honey. On occasion, she's dyed it, more for the need of change than as a fashion statement. Red streaks and black locks were a common teenage crux, while growing into her college years she lightened her strands to a golden shade.| Her eyes tend to change color with the light. They are the color of ocean waves: a soft grey around the edge which meld into a deep central green, genetically called central heterochromia.
HEIGHT| WEIGHT | BODY TYPE | BLOOD TYPE | PROMINENT HAND : 5’6 | 135 lbs | Slender and fit | O-positive | Right handed
ETHNICITY: Caucasian | Ancestry of half American and half Jewish. Her family ancestry is also touched by magic.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE SUPERNATURAL: Maverick was raised in the human world away from knowledge of magic, however, she always knew that there was something different about her and lacked a feeling of belonging to the rest of the world until she came to understand that her father was a Valkyr and she was a Dhampir.
PARENTS: unknown biological | adopted Jackson and Anna Talman
SIBLINGS: unknown biological | adopted Aiden and Liam Talman
OFFSPRING: Jonah Katherine Talman, daughter
EXTENDED FAMILY: unknown biological TBA
PERSONALITY: Growing up in the system pressed Maverick to develop a strong sense of individuality, where others may have staggered in a crowd. Her quirky personality resonates well with others, and very rarely will you find her in the middle of a conflict. She is often found to be a stabilizing factor for others and absorbs emotional impact in heavy situations. However, her bright tone and smile often hide a raging inner emotional storm. She tends to forget that her emotions need an outlet, and will try to contain them until they burst, whether positively or negatively. Exceedingly diligent, Mavi is ready to work hard for what she gets. She tries to understand that things in life don’t come easily and she wants to work hard in order to give her daughter a better life than the one she knew as a child. Although she seems to have difficulty realising her own accomplishments, she does accept praise, when they are pointed out. Overall, despite being kind-hearted, Mavi appears to lack a more delicate knowledge of herself and can have trouble identifying her own emotions and handling them with competency.
D is for diligent.
Mavi works hard in almost everything she does. It is often harder for her to relax than it is for her to get things done, and she needs people to remind her to slow down. However, her engaged personality makes her someone easy to depend on in and out of the work place and people have spoken of her aptitude for tasks that seemed above her level.
K is for kind-hearted.
Maverick feels deeply, despite that she doesn't always show it and can be hard to decipher on the outside. Her big heart may be guarded behind many walls, but once you begin opening the doors, you will find someone with intense loyalty that would move mountains for those she loves. Her loyalty can often be confused for frustration, as her emotions don't often readily display themselves until they reach the boiling point, especially if she perceives someone she cares about to be in danger.
I is for independent.
Mavi grew up moving from place to place with personal effects filling whatever box or bag the ménage tossing her out could spare. It wasn't that the loss didn't hurt, only that over time, she became more and more immune to the ways that insignificant people let her down. It was a process, but Maverick began to enjoy the dynamic; so much so that her lifestyle became one glued to sleeping on moving vehicles and the smell of new apartments. New places became tied to new beginnings.
R is for resolute.
In many a difficult environment, Mavi not only withstood, but persevered. Her tenacity in times of trouble has gifted her with a firm values that help her in pursuit of happier times. In a life speckled with loneliness, she always seemed to find something to push her forwards. She was never a quitter, despite often backing up when thrown a curveball. In the end, her highest up came from the lowest down and it was never more worth it.
U is for unattached.
Mavi has learned to move on quickly. Rather than accept the reality of a broken heart, it is often much easier to shut out the people doing the breaking and leave behind the memories. Due to so many people who left mud prints on her sparkly shoes, Maverick opens up about the past very rarely. Letting in very few, Mavi's eyes stay towards the future with a mostly positive outlook.
O is for overachiever.
Mavi's plow to the field mindset can be a little much to take after a while and can be a very lonely life to live. Her independence makes her determined to not only provide for herself and anyone else she determines herself responsible for, but also fierce in the way of doing it. She has a hard time accepting help from others and can be hard-assed about doing so. It can often make her resent others when they try to much to fence her in.
J is for jealous.
The green-eyed monster will always be one in Mavi's closet. She knows deep in her bones that she will never have the same kind of relationship that so many have with their birth parents, or with their siblings, considering she was dropped off on a church step at six months old. Mavi often feels cheated by life in the family department, wishing she knew what it was like to have people gather around out of love, not obligation
D is for difficulty connecting.
Despite her confident air and worry-not vibe, Mavi's difficulty with connecting those that she loves digs deep inside her and can make her skeptical of their motives in her life. Although she is learning to trust people's actions, it is often hard to ignore her gut feeling of dread everytime it seems someone lies. Even if she forms a deep attachment and knows in her heart that they are good, her instinct is to push them away. She has a hard time depending on others and lucky are they that know it.
MEYER’S BRIGGS | EXPLAINED: ISFJ the defender | Dedicated and caring protectors, always ready to defend their loved ones.
HOGWARTS HOUSE | EXPLAINED: Slytherin the becomer | Independent and ambitious leaders who lead very private lives.
ILVERMORNY HOUSE | EXPLAINED: Puckwudgie the healer | Empathetic and mischievous friends who love to make others laugh.
PATRONUS | EXPLAINED: Hummingbird the dancer | Quick and prismatic: a hummingbird patronus brings light and hope to dark situations by illuminating the colorful in every sugar in every situation
Spiders arachnophobia Although one in every ten people in the world is afraid of spiders, Mavi's fear of the eight legged creature abounds from a simple grade school prank. Falling victim to the second grade bully, her locker was left with the surprising gift of an open jar of over twenty large bugs. The largest of them all being an arachnid who had quickly decided to make her school books the building blocks his next home. She continued to feel the shivers while digging spider silk out of her Math and English text books for the remainder of the year.
Being Alone monophobia Mavi struggles with balancing her needs of being solo and desperately needing the approval and love of other humans. It has lead her into some unhealthy relationships in the past that were either controlling or self-sacrificial. It has taken time, counseling, and healing from her childhood to become a healthy adult.
Clowns coulrophobia Her first grade trip to the circus was supposed to be a treat after she received all A’s for three months after attending a new school, however, it left Mavi with a crippling fear of men in colorful wigs and white face paint with unusually large smiles. To this day, she hates clowns.
Gamer Girl gaming Mavi enjoys card games, xbox, and even hide and go seek because of her regularly competitive nature.
Kitchen Mess cooking When it comes down to it, Mavi really only cooks if it has instructions on the back of the box or it can go in the microwave, however, at Christmas she always tries to bake her neighbors and family some decent sugar cookies. They typically look like the “don’t” on the Pinterest fail section.
Rainy Days raining Rainy days have always been Mavi’s favorite and she relishes sitting down in the window seat of her apartment and reading a good book with a cup of tea and the sense of still that an afternoon storm brings.
When it comes down to it, Mavi aspires for both her and her loved ones to be safe, satisfied, and successful. In whatever means those things come, she highly prizes both physical safety and the mental peace that accompanies it. When it comes to satisfaction, Maverick isn’t good at gift giving or at appreciating the value of money even when she’s earned it fairly. So, most of the satisfaction that she gets out of the world comes from spending time with others and gaining new experiences. She has been firey since the day she was born and her go-getter personality makes being successful something that she not only strives for, but needs. Despite the privileged lifestyle that she was adopted into, it was important for her to be able to stand on her own two feet. She works hard enough during week days to make sure that the entire weekend is dedicated to spending time with family, even if that means she turns off her phone.
WORDSMITH For as long as Maverick could remember she has loved words. Writing comes naturally to her. It functioned as basically as speaking should have. Sitting down with a pencil between her fingers made words she wasn't aware of consciously appear in her brain and string themselves into sentences that just made sense. They allowed her to keep secrets in a restless world that she very often had no control over. Growing up in foster care exposed Mavi to a variety of languages and while she isn't necessarily multilingual, she can converse comfortably in Spanish, Russian, French, and American Sign Language (ASL). While in the process of writing, Mavi is extremely tactile. She tends to think both out-loud and by scribbling things on anything that can absorb ink. She can often find her pacing the floor, muttering under her breath, with sticky-notes attached to various parts of her outfit and arms. Deadlines are not her thing and her articles are never late, but certainly never prepared early. Mavi will always brings a notebook to interviews, as writing helps her be more comfortable speaking, but she does carry a mini recorder with her to help with reference points later on.
FLUENCY DISORDER Mavi hadn't always been able to talk about things. For the first four years of her life, she didn't speak and communicated entirely with the world in through a broken version of sign language and a lot of gesturing. It has taken her actual years of her childhood to find a speaking voice, and many more of adult ones to refine it to a confident tone that usually leaves people coming away with something close to what she intended. There is usually some amount of disconnect between her brain and her mouth. It isn't often linked to what came out, but in how it did. Before big appointments marked in red on her calendar, the twenty-four year old will often spend weeks pacing in front of a mirror preparing to speak questions that she has known on paper for much longer than that. Training, time, and a sweet charm mostly hide a stutter that has accompanied her for the past twenty years.
Scents the ocean, Jonah’s hair, her strawberry shampoo, the air after rain, and clean laundry
Season Autumn has always called to Mavi, with the whispering trees, beautiful colours, and festive smells. Her heart has always been one full of celebration, and a large appreciation for pumpkin pie.
Fiction Maverick always had a healthy amount of gratitude for fiction. From comic books to fairy tales, her love of fiction grew greatly, making her backpack very heavy by grade school. By the ninth grade, she carried so many books with her that her already small stature was shortened another two inches.
School In school, Mavi excelled, despite the difficulty of often changing schools mid-semester. She put her mind to it and the hard work paid off; however, that didn’t leave a lot of room for hobbies and extracurriculars. She often dropped electives, like choir, in favour of tutoring the other seniors in Trigonometry. Therefore, while her best note may be a bit raspy, it does have a certain charm to it.
Food, disliked Guacamole isn't a word in Mavi's dictionary. it's been blacked out as dark as the night that cute college boy invited her to his party, got wasted, and proceeded to spill the sticky substance down her bra. he would have licked it off her too, if she hadn’t marched out of the frat house, while her dignity was still half-intact. Unfortunately, Noah was a huge fan of the ethnic vegetable. Thus, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, the brunette finds herself horribly conflicted when the unethical craving arises.
Food, liked German chocolate has been a favourite of Mavi's since she was six years old. Her first day in the group home for girls, the Supervisor slipped her a piece of the delicious treat. After that, the two of them would share a candy bar on special days. (Like birthdays and Christmas) Maverick was never sure if she loved it for the taste, or for the secret.
Dreams Mavi is a vivid dreamer, but can never recount her dreams in detail. The dreams she has are often marked by a pretty blonde girl around her age that seems to be calling her somewhere. She can never seem to grasp it long enough to know where to go, but the dream has been with her for as long as she can remember.
Marriage Mavi never saw marriage as an ideal required to be happy, despite wanting to someday marry. She hopes to find a partner that sees her as an equal, as she is a very independent soul. However, she knows it's unlikely that she will even find the time to date, now that she's a mother. Jonah's happiness will always come first to Mavi. Therefore, even though she desires a man in her life, it may long be put on the back burner.
First Kiss Maverick had her first kiss when she was in the seventh grade. It was not exactly like she was expecting: warm, soft, and romantic. The books she'd read and the films she'd watched led her to believe that a first kiss was magical. However, it was more: awkward, wet, and surprisingly painful. He bit her on the lip and she had a mark for a week that even 'Sparkles Strawberry' chapstick couldn't cover.
Best Time In a life speckled with loneliness, Mavi always seemed to find something to push her forwards. She was never a quitter, despite that she often backed up when thrown a curveball. In the end, her highest up came from the lowest down: a year of hardcore partying to holding her daughter for the first time.
I was born as “Kuttler_unnamed female” in Las Vegas, Nevada, 1993 on the early hours of November sixteenth. My mother chose not to name me as she knew there were no resources of her own that she could spare to give away. In one awful night of secrecy, Kathleen Kuttler both gave birth to a daughter and signed away her parental rights, leaving me only out of pure desperation to conserve resources for the child she already had. At only hours old, my new life was already a mystery of loss and solitude. With my only known parent in the wind, I was found abandoned on the steps of Saint Anne’s Catholic church. Well on way on my way to freezing in the 40 degree weather of November and wrapped only in the blanket that the hospital had provided, the I was lucky to survive my first night in the world. The Nuns who worked at the church discovered me not a moment too soon and I was wisely ushered into the care of a hospital. The ever-watchful nurses recognised me as having been born only a day ago in the same building. I had a distinctive crop of black hair and was currently only one of three preemies in their care; but the bracelet binding me to her mother had been cut and there was no way to contact the woman who had left me on the church steps. Having compassion, the staff at Saint Anne chose to take me into their care.
They called me Maverick. It was a free spirited name for a free-spirited girl. I was awake more than I slept and my funny spike of hair gave everyone a case of the giggles. It was refreshing for both the sisters and the abbess to have someone so young to entertain for a while, however, they also knew that eventually I would need a proper home of my own to grow into. Everyone thinks that babies get adopted. However, that’s not necessarily true, especially for premature babies. It was a miracle that after that misty night in the Las Vegas air and I suffered no physical side effects that would haunt me into childhood. Every doctor that saw me said I could and should have died. Perhaps, I was just lucky.
As a little one, I wasn't much of a talker. It was partially due to living in a home run by Nuns. They liked the quiet, but by age three I found my voice. I had a lisp, but it was there. Quiet, but never shy, upon entering toddler-hood, I was a bright-eyed bundle of curiosity who had clearly become good at overcoming adversity. My hospital stays never fully got the better of me and the nuns who ran Saint Anne’s were quickly becoming attached to their brunette sidekick. In general, I did as they asked and kept out of the worst of trouble, although my fingers were never far from the cookie jar in Sister Hannah’s office. As I healed from the worst of my struggles, I began studying with Sister Amethyst in religion and reading both to prepare me for school and help me have more to do than wander behind the Sisters as they attended their studies, helped the poor, and sung choir at the church on Sunday. I was quick to discover my love of a good story. Sister Ama (as I called her) read to me from a book of stories of famous women in missions every night and I could usually bargain my way into two bedtime stories instead of just one.
However, it soon became clear that Saint Anne’s was not the ideal place for a rambunctious child. It was after all, first and foremost, a place dedicated to religion and the quiet ponderings of the soul. My own childish games didn’t very well suit the head staff, despite that they too had grown fond of me. I was too loud and despite being told many times that a Brother James’s head being bald and red and his face having small eyes did not make him look like a tricky fox. The Abbess was losing patience with my constant ability to ask far more questions than she had the patience for finding, especially during church. I overheard more in the whispered conversations around me than I was supposed to know, but listening behind doors was another non-Nunlike behavior that despite being told not to do many times, the secrets I learned were too interesting to entice me away. Sister Amethyst was continually on my side as I grew bigger, however big my disappointment was it was time for her to begin the search for a proper home.
Orphan: gently used, cannot pronounce the letters ‘G’ and ‘L’ correctly, slight tendency towards mischief, but heart of gold. I imagined the poster with my face. Would I be smiling or frowning? Frowning, I decided. I loved my life at Saint Anne’s despite that there were no other children there to play with or make into friends. It also meant that in nearly every room I walked into, I quickly became the center of attention. Even when I did something wrong, the glow of the golden child protected me. I was happy at the convent. Sister Amethyst vetted each family for financial security and interviewed them individually.
Interviews were set up and home visits were scheduled, but they never tended to go the way that Sister Amethyst intended. Every family was vetted for good intentions, but I had no desire to leave. With that in mind, I either found something to hate about every couple or made sure every family found something to hate about me. While Ama was gracious, it was clear that she was running out of contenders and that it may not have been her fault. When word came that it was a time for a talk with the Abbess deep down I knew that I could no longer avoid the hunt for a family.
“You see, Mavi.” Abbess Charlotte peered over her glasses as I swung my feet from side to side in the chair that was much too large for myself. The pink bubble gum that popped in my mouth had been acquired that morning from a child outside the convent gates and was smacked particularly in order to irritate her. “You have had many opportunities to be adopted, yet you keep coming back. We cannot keep you forever. Convents are not meant to be lived in by such small children. Don’t you think you want to give it one more try?”
I did not want to give it one more try, yet, it appeared I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. There was a family in Chicago whom Sister Amethyst had written to and were eagerly awaiting my arrival. I was not eagerly awaiting my departure. As any child beset by change would, I did as much as she could to make it difficult for the Nuns to send me off: torn train tickets, lost socks, and broken luggage. When all else failed, a temper tantrum filled with tears. It almost worked. Nearly all of the Nuns asked if I could stay and I nearly thought that I had earned my victory, but the Abbess was determined that small children did not belong in her place of solitude and quiet. In the late night, I was woken up and my shoes were shoved onto as I was told to get dressed. Far too sleepy to ignore instructions, I was carried out to a car and then a plane, where I slept my way through two transfers until I woke up as our flight was landing at the O’Hare International Airport. Sister Hannah was staring me in the face as she handed me my carry on and it took a few minutes for me to process what was happening. I was not going back to the convent.
For being nine years old, I believed that I handled myself with dignity, but the truth is that I cried very hard and asked multiple times for Ama, some ice cream, and to go back home. The ice cream was granted, but my two other requests were denied. I’d never particularly been close with Sister Hannah, but we shared a similar sweet tooth and imagination. She’d always encouraged me to draw the stories I created and see all sorts of shapes in the clouds. It was only after the ice cream that she cleaned up my face and told me that we were going to meet the Davis family who Sister Amethyst had written to six months ago and had told about me. The thing about letters is that everything can look nice on paper, including people. The Davis family was not particularly like the one that Sister Amethyst had read about, but neither was it completely a falsehood. While their family photo included a picture of a tall handsome man in uniform, it turned out that Mr. Davis was no longer in the picture and had died in action two years ago. Mrs. Sharon Davis had gone to taking in orphans on the side of her regular teaching job for the income that it provided. She had one natural child and three adopted. I was the fourth and the youngest in the house and shared a bedroom with three other girls. The noise both of the household and the city were a great struggle to adjust to after having lived in a steady, peaceful environment for nearly the first ten years of my life.
Elementary school started that week and while it wasn’t a relief, I did find shelter in learning. It became a place that I could excel and focus my mind when the rest of the world seemed crazy. My case in Las Vegas was closed and transferred to a Chicago caseworker. It was a surprise to her how unsettled I was in my new household, but after practically being adopted by the Saint Anne’s Convent, this was a far cry from normalcy. Upon her first visit, I begged to be sent home only to be curtly informed that I was home. Uncomfortable, undesired, and unworthy in my eyes: this was home.
I lived with the Davis family for two years and during them I grew quickly to resent my new siblings and the pecking order that came along with being the youngest and the smallest among them. I often had to fight my way into bathrooms, mealtimes, and silent corners of the house. My view of the world quickly began to transition from a glazed snowglobe into a shattered plane of glass that hurt my feet while I walked. Adjusting to unfamiliar horizons as a child is a bit like playing with paint and it’s no surprise that today my favorite colors are overwhelming red and purple. Bright and vibrant, they quickly caught my eye at the age of eleven and continue to the rest of the world represent such emotions as both love and hate, mystery and magic.
Slowly, but surely, I began to find my footing no matter how often my feet slipped. Once tender and bare, my feet grew strong and gained and calluses from my journey. While living with the Davis family things were often bare and clothes were worn a season beyond their expiration date, I did eventually adjust. Unfortunately, adjusting to the Davis household meant that my once familiar mischievous personality began to sparkle, but rather than listen behind doors as I once had as a child, I became quite the daredevil. Our house was now more than filled to the brim as three more children had come to stay with us by the time I turned twelve and it squeezed our already cramped quarters even tighter. The room that I had once shared between three other girls was now split between five. Privacy in bathrooms was almost unheard, even when it came to sharing a home a with two boys who were older than I was. For a developing girl, this did nothing for my self confidence. Instead of hiding under the bed, which admittedly was the only place I could find quiet to study sometimes, I acted out. I had always gotten along with the boys in the house better than the girls and although they rarely let me in on their games, I still sometimes succeed at beating them. Whether it was sacrificing sleep to learn how to throw a basketball or ride a skateboard, my studies had never been more threatened.
My seventh grade teacher was the first person to take notice of me in years and often shared her lunch when I said I forgot mine. Truthfully, the Davis kids got three lunches between seven kids and rotated which days we each got one. It was clever, but often left many of us with growling stomachs. The missing lunch was only the first sign that our disorganized abode was cracking at its foundation. Money was tight and it wasn’t until I confronted my oldest sister, Melody about the bruises on her arm that I found out why. Sharon Davis had been fired from her job at the school six weeks ago and was living on savings and checks that she got from the state. If a caseworker, any caseworker, came by we were screwed. Not just the foster kids, but all the kids. For the first time, I felt a shred of sympathy for my oldest sister who often got first pick of everything: from TV to the hand-me-downs from other families. Unlike me, this was actually her home and it had once been peaceful and quiet where she shared a room with only one other sibling. If word got out that her mother no longer had a job, she too was likely to join the foster system.
Melody’s prediction came true within weeks and it was my caseworker who stopped by on the night of Halloween. None of us had expensive costumes, but we had all banded together to make ghosts out of leftover sheets, tape, and black paper and planned to sneak out as soon as Sharon fell asleep. However, the doorbell rang too soon and it was exactly what we’d all been dreading.
I didn’t stay in homes very long after I left the Davis’s. Perhaps it was my one true rebellion that I could get them to get rid of me. It was odd, but I missed the chaos and calamity of my old siblings and our crazy adventures. They always told me I was their lucky charm. I tested all of the best ideas: poison ivy bouquet for a caseworker (everyone else got it), backflip out an open window (the doctor said I was lucky to barely have a bruise, as I could have shattered my arm), and skateboarding down the neighbor’s veranda (Thomas broke three of his fingers); but me? I seemed immune to harm.
There was a word for kids like me: high risk. We usually end up in group homes as most family’s don’t want to bother with a kid who has little concern for status quo. As orphans go, kids get a lot of potential parents, but a more than you'd expect are just lookers. The rest find children who have been through a tough time too hard to assimilate into their easy lifestyles. Adoption isn't for everyone. It's a difficult process to take a child that you barely know into your life. Eventually, I grew to accept my situation and chose the burden of being clanless. It was a quiet type of loneliness, but it was easier to accept than going to countless meetings and being rejected for something as simple as having too big a forehead. I was older now and the older you get the more people expect you to simply age out of a system that leaves you with no prospects. My caseworker was nearly retired by the time I turned fifteen and upon entering her office, I expected little more than the yearly spiel.
“Well, Mavi...you’ve been in the system a long time. Abandoned on a church step and sent to your first foster home at the age of nine.” Wendy Williams pushed through my paper file, which was as thick as any I had ever seen, as I stared at any other surface in the room rather than meet her gaze. I wasn’t the best with adults, but particularly those who tried to care for me. Wendy Williams, despite her limited power, had always been nice. “After that you’ve pretty much bounced around until the group home a year ago. What do you think that says about you?”
I shrugged my shoulders, confused as how other people kicking me out of their homes had a whole lot to do with me. “How should I know?”
“Think about it.” She encouraged.
“I...enjoy new places.” I struggled to answer the question. I did like new places, but not new homes. People should always have a place to call home.
“Creative.” Wendy nodded. “What would you say to giving it one last go? It’s probably your last chance before you age out. They’re well off. They said you remind them of someone they lost.”
Last chance. Those words set a sour feeling in my stomach. I was just a kid who was supposed to have a lot of chances. Why was this one my last? I bit my lip and after a minute there was the metallic taste of blood in my mouth. After a few minutes more, I agreed to meet Jackson and Anna Talman who were living just outside New York City. As it turns out, the Talmans weren't your usual. They were old money. He was a judge, and she was a debutante turned New York charmer. They had one son and never spoke of the daughter they'd lost. I was fascinated by them, as they were with me. The fact that I’d spent the last three years dedicating myself to improving my grades meant that I spoke very well for someone who came from my situation and despite being raised in a world apart from theirs — my manners lacked only minor correcting. Our relations came most often through Skype, although we met for several dinners, in restaurants where the prices on the menu reflected the wealth of my hosts.
They were eager to make it official. Perhaps, I was a bit enchanted by them. I thought if people from such a beautiful life wanted me, fairy tales did exist. It didn't take me long after the adoption was made official that their lives weren't perfect. The longer I spent with their crystalline cups and silver services, the more I realised that I didn't belong. I was ordinary and their world was filled with perfection. The first place I learned to hide was in the giant library that was a part of their home. I'd spend hours there. Although my high school was now a prep school and one of New York’s finest, I often spent hours getting lost in hopeless internet searches trying to match news articles to what I knew about myself. Doing so, I became fascinated with journalism and the school newspaper quickly became my newest hobby. My new parents were satisfied with my being a nerd as long as I attended college once I graduated. For me, going to college was a dream and seemed like the perfect one until one of those Googles lead me down the wrong rabbit hole.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find Wonderland. On a school assignment designed to talk about my family and their history, it was only twelve articles down on the most recent page. The article was now four years old as judges and socialites have a decent amount of buzz around them. It was from the New York Times and focused around the daughter of Jackson and Anna. Her name was Beth and she had died five years ago from a drug overdose. As I stared at the family picture which was not framed anywhere in the entirety of the mansion, I could see the resemblance. We both had honey colored hair, light colored eyes, and strong facial structure. In another life, she could have been me.
I never confronted my parents about what I’d found out and never asked why there were no pictures of Beth in the house. Still, I had more questions than I had answers to get. Did the Talman's ever really want me or did they just see me as someone to fill their daughter’s shoes? Perhaps, I was a golden dress hanger who would go to her school, and get her degree, and someday give them the grandchildren that they desired. While I enjoyed the slice of life I’d been so generously offered, it made me wonder what my life would have been like otherwise. I was now eighteen years old and would have been discharged from the foster system on my upcoming birthday. Never speaking of this, my nights began to be sneaking from the house. I found some of my old siblings living at homeless shelters, but could never bear to approach them. They would look at me and scoff now. Feeling a sense of depression creep over me, I began to spend less time in the library and more at student parties. My grades may have slipped, but thanks to the Talman’s money, I no longer needed a scholarship to get into college.
I always came home early enough that I could sleep off the hangover and attend whatever event they had lined up for the day. One could say that I had the best of both worlds, but my heart was breaking with loneliness.
One could call the path I was on my yellow brick road, and while there was no emerald castle at the end of mine, it did lead me home. It is said that you meet friends along the road, and one good thing my adoptive family did was lead me to him. Noah was one of the those and I like to think he understood being lonely. Although people think arranged marriages only happen in second and third world countries that isn’t entirely true, among the very wealthy there are those who are subtly encouraged to deny their heart and marry for the good of the family. His family had made wealth in the real estate business going back generations and his parents wanted that protected. So, at the age of twenty he found himself engaged to be married to Arabella Miller. She was an international model whose family came from old money. Unfortunately, they did not get along other than in the public eye.
I was eighteen. He was twenty-five. Somehow, I couldn't seem to keep myself away from him, despite knowing that he had a fiancée. He was funny and would often find me at the bar during parties and tease me about how in three years I could finally drink. I would shoot back that it was my parent’s home and the bartender had to obey me. Truthfully, Noah’s goodness and kind heart were most of why I enjoyed spending time with him. I knew he was older and that we could likely never be more than friends, but that only meant that I found myself falling for him more and more. It wasn’t easy to watch him parade around at my mother’s parties with another woman on his arm, especially as my feelings for him grew.
I wasn’t alone. Noah had had stretched out his engagement for five years and only under abounding pressure had he cracked to throwing an engagement party. However, his other waking ours were spent by my side. We watched movies and played video games like normal people do. It surprised me that he’d never owned an xbox and his parents had him taking dancing lessons and horseback riding instead. My new best friend had never done half of the things that I enjoyed as a child, but it was okay because I got to show him what it was like now. However, despite our days of fun, I knew that the time was drawing to a close before he’d soon be a married man and it would be over. It was underneath the stars far away from the house and my mother’s watchful eyes that I asked him if he loved her.
He didn’t. I could tell and so could most everyone, but it wasn’t until that night that I could tell he loved me. His lips were wrapped around my own and the crickets covered any other noise that was made that night. Listening to him whisper sweet words, and feeling his mouth against my own, there was nothing as painful as watching him marry another woman the very next day. On a Wednesday in September, I swore that if love existed, I was not destined to find it.
Noah was not my manna from heaven, but he did give me something to hold onto. They honeymooned in Fiji. I spent that month running to and from a bathroom. Innocent as ever, it took me two more to figure that I wasn't just sick. I was pregnant.
Those nine months were filled with more turmoil than I had ever experienced, but in the end, I couldn’t imagine giving up. Everyone told me I had nine months to prepare for that day, but it wasn't entirely true. I spent two months in the dark. I spent five weeks doubting. Those 128 days were spent with my head over a toilet, every meal I ate coming back up to bite me. Even after I heard the heartbeat of what they called a miracle, I felt nothing but unprepared. How was a motherless child to be a mother? It wasn't the nine months. It wasn't the 37.5 hours of labor. It was the moment they handed me a daughter. My baby, so innocent, yet with blood still on her tiny, kissable nose. For the first time in my life, my heart was still.
Her name is Jonah which means dove, a sigil of hope to those who feel despair.
It's been four years. Everyday, I wake up to that smiling face. She reminds me that there is good in this world. She continues to keep me questioning life. Our life isn't perfect. I never in a thousand years would have planned to be a single mother, but never in a million, would I give this up. My daughter teaches me everyday that a girl that came from nowhere can have a somewhere. Noah learned about his daughter being his own when she was two and after that we started making up for lost time. I’m still finding my way in the world after all of those years of being lost. I graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology when I was twenty-two and Jo was three. Strangely, people seem to think that I haven’t really aged a day since I turned eighteen.
I still write, on occasion, but my work as a journalist now supplements the knowledge of something greater. My hunger for knowing who I am hasn’t subsided and the more that I dig into my biological family the stranger things I find. So far my journey in this story has made a pitstop in Evermore, Colorado. I cannot wait to see what I find out.
you can count on me like 1..2..3
and I'll be there.
Relationship Status: Single, not actively looking
I had a summer lover down in New Orleans
Kept him warm in the winter, left him frozen in the spring
My, my, how the seasons go by
Oh, oh oh, ex's and ohs
Years together: 11 months, before he married someone else.
Noah and Mavi met through her adopted parents and couldn't deny the sparks they felt despite the complicated circumstances. It's now been three years and after having a child together and Noah working through the building blockers in his own life, they happily co-parent, but can't seem to make it past their history and have decided to just stay friends. Noah lives in New York City with Jo, their five year old. Mavi flies up on the weekends.
My room faces north
But the sun’s in the south
I’m just waking up to the news of my birth
I am a girl and I’m lucky to be here
Whatever that’s worth
Overheard and Unwelcome | Maverick and Zenith
Who/Where | Maverick and Valeria
Stand & Unfold Yourself | Maverick and Finley
Late in the Library | Maverick and Clara
1 x Malva Ailward