You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.
Eighteen-year-old Phoebe Rose spent her childhood in one foster household after another, never having a place she could feel safe or group of friends she belonged to. What kept her going was hockey. The rink was the only place she felt at home.
Now what she wants more than anything is to play on her college hockey team—to leave her past behind and start building a new life. But she knows things are never that simple.
Becoming Phoebe is about painful secrets, unexpected friendships, and joining a team so you can become your true self.
This is my earliest memory. Despite what it says on my driver’s license, I think of that day as my birthday even though I’ve never looked up the date.
I’m walking down the street. I have no idea where I came from or where I’m going. I have a full Hello Kitty backpack and skates hanging around my neck. In memory they are big and heavy, though they couldn’t really have been.
Finally someone stops me. Keeps me from walking into the street, really. A man. He asks me my name.
He kneels down next to me. “Phoebe what?” For some reason I always picture him wearing a fedora, but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong.
“What?” I repeat back to him.
“What’s your last name?”
“Phoebe. Just Phoebe.”
“Everyone has a last name.” His voice is gentle.
“I don’t.” Before he asked I’d had no opinion about whether I had a last name, but now I am convinced that I don’t have one and never had.
The man looks thoughtful. “Where are you going, Phoebe?”
That one stumps me. “I don’t know.”
“Where’s your mother?”
“I don’t know.” I feel that it is something I should know. The memory fills with distress.
His expression becomes concerned. “Where do you live?”
He nods. “Yes, this is Ohio. Where in Ohio do you live? Here in Dayton?”
That’s when the roof begins to cave in on me. “Ohio.” I start to cry. The adult me has a nagging feeling that some additional, vital piece of information is eluding me.
The man takes my hand. “Come with me. We’ll find some help.” He stops asking questions I can’t answer. “How old are you, Phoebe?” We start walking.
“You’re awfully big for a four-year-old.”
“I’m a big girl.”
“You are. Those are nice skates. Are you going to be a figure skater?”
“I’m going to be a hockey player.”
“Girls don’t play hockey.”
I take a deep breath and muster every ounce of patience I can manage. “I will.”
We arrive at a police station, and he takes me to the desk sergeant. Such is my introduction to the authorities of Dayton, Ohio.
I don’t remember the name of that man. I’m not even sure that’s how it really happened.
I’ve been living in my past. Aside from a broken computer, memories are all that I have of my childhood. I shouldn’t be looking through them. I’ve long since learned the lessons there, and all that’s left is pain. When I’m happy I hardly think about the past at all.