Tori and Grace were friends with one another – at one time. Grace and her daughter both worked – or perhaps it was something else that kept them away from raising Natasha, Grace’s granddaughter. Tori agreed to watch Natasha to assist both Grace and her daughter, but developed an attachment you might say.
Things might not have ended up so ugly if Grace hadn’t tried taking advantage of Tori to begin with. Natasha’s mom abused Natasha and was later sent to prison for it, leaving Grace to tend to her granddaughter – but it appeared that Grace had abusive issues of her own. That’s how it was explained to me and that is what I believe. I don’t know all the details. I had just heard that after Grace moved, she would lock Natasha in the closet and fed her only one meal a day.
Tori is not the most educated, but she has a good heart. In addition to caring for Natasha, she also allowed her ex-husband to move back in. What a sap he is. Roger is a professional bum who donates plasma twice a week so that he at least has enough money for his smokes. He doesn’t take the incentive to clean up after himself – let alone someone else. He’s a know-it-all talk machine. If Roger could make a career out of talking on and on just to hear the sound of his own voice, he would be a millionarire. One minute with Roger makes spending an entire day with Cliff Calvin seem comfortable At least Cliff appeared to have a job
I’m unclear as how it is that Tori gained custody of Natasha. Perhaps DCFS was involved. In Tori’s eyes she is the one who raised Natasha from the time she was a baby. I don’t know who assisted Tori into finding a way to legally adopt Natasha.
Natasha was happy to have Tori as a mom and was willing to make sacrifices to help her as she had been helped herself. So when Tori held a yard sale in order to raise a little money, Natasha volunteered - of her own free will - to sell her bike.
I don’t fully understand why Roland seems drawn to yard sells – but he can always spot them while out driving. Just before our first summer living in West Valley he was on his way somewhere when he noticed Natasha’s bike and stopped off to make a inquire about the bike. He paid for it and said he would return for the bike at a later time. Natasha, who appeared to be just as friend-hungry as Jenna, offered to bring it over so that she could meet the new owner of her bike.
So for about two years the girls played together off and on – once or twice a week, a few times a month, and then every other month. And then it was about a year before we saw Natasha again. It was always hit and miss. Tori was always working – but Roger was always there (unless he was out selling plasma or picking up smokes)
Natasha didn’t understand why Tori worked all the time – that the hours she had put in were to support them financially and pay the attorney and fees. Tori wished to move – find a place for just her and Natasha – far away from where they live currently. Only two bedrooms instead of three so she could honestly tell Roger that there would be no room for him. So her house went up for sale, but the attorneys advised against it. And then she went bankrupt and lost the house and had to take the sign down as it now belongs to the bank, but she’s been paying rent from what she tells me. Not really sure how that works - but she's still there and just scraping by financially.
Natasha has spent too much time with Roger. She hasn’t been respectful to either him or Tori. She’s acquired many of his bad habits. Doesn’t lift a finger, even when Tori asks her to. Tori has allowed the two of them to walk all over her. I wouldn’t put up with it (but then again, I would have never got involved with Roger in the first place – let alone taken him back)
I saw Natasha and Tori the other night when Jenna and I were returning home after a long day to end her summer. Natasha was out riding her scooter. She seemed so forlorn and distant – as though she has given up on life. She’s only twelve. She just started junior high. I hope she makes friends there and doesn’t break. I was just so sad as I watched her not caring.
While Jenna ran home to get her scooter, I walked Natasha to her house and Tori came out to tell her something. She looked awful – Tori did. Her hair is short and quite thin. She has red splotches all over her face. She says she has cancer. I don’t know what kind. I know her financial affairs are not the greatest. The disease will most likely kill her as she doesn’t seem to know how to prioritize her affairs. And Roger does absolutely nothing to help her.
My heart breaks for both her and Natasha. What will become of her if /when Tori dies. Is that why Natasha seems so distant?
I told her about a place not too far from here. I hope that she is able to remove Natasha from her current living environment. I hope she takes the time to teach her daughter the values that she might have once had before Roger corrupted her. I hope Natasha realizes that education and work will work to her advantage much better than following in Roger's footsteps and trying to continue life as a bum. I hope she understands the sacrifices that Tori has made and that she will find strength to overcome.