His mom asks, attempting to regain his attention.
"How was your day?"
"It was fine."
His mind was drifting. He had not seen his mom since the day she moved away. His father did not have space at his place to raise two children. Instead, he decided to let his sister live with him. He could take care of himself, or at least he believed he could. Forced into homelessness, he has managed to find a couch at his friends' grandparents' home.
It has been more than a year since that night. He has managed to keep his promise to the policeman, but once in awhile, life finds its way to tempt him into breaking it. They've taken everything away from him. All his material possessions were scattered between himself, his mother, his father, and a storage unit. He's lost his dog, Trevor, the only loyal companion he had since it started. He's lost his own room to be free within, his own bed to sleep on, and his own place to call home.
He has fallen.
The drive back was silent. At least he knows she is well. The biggest surprise that night was not how calm he was facing her for the first time, but the news that she was expecting another child. In a few months time, he would have another brother or sister. This made his day.
Upon arriving at the Franklins, he was greeted with a hug and a card. They are the only family he has left, and this was the only place he could call home. Though he was not related to them by blood, he felt that they were his family by spirit. Never had he met people so compassionate, that they took in a teenage boy to live on their couch.
A few moments later, he saw a small fire approaching him from the kitchen. It was a cake. The candles were lit so bright that they reflected his watery eyes and made them shimmer in red.
And as he closed his eyes, he begins to wonder.
What did I do wrong?
"Happy Birthday Joseph!" they greet him from a distance.
He blows the candle and makes a wish.