( For a long while, Joy goes back and forth deciding whether or not to do this as a video rather than text. She hates her voice; it's embarrassing. Joy Shapiro-Krushelevansky was born prematurely and moderately deaf due to a fall her mother suffered in her third trimester while pregnant with Joy. The teenager has had hearing aids for what feels like forever and she'd had speech therapy when she'd been little, so she's learned to read lips and if she's got her hearing aids in, she can hear all right, but when she talks, her voice sounds deep and gravelly like it belongs to a woman in her late forties who spent the better part of her life smoking a pack a day of cigarettes.
Being fourteen means being self-conscious and she hates, hates, hates when people she doesn't know can hear her talking. Once she gets used to a person and knows that they aren't going to judge, she's fine.
Ultimately, in spite of her own discomfort, Joy decides to go with video instead of text because it's just easier to talk than it is to type when Charlie's awake, because he's a little fussy these past couple of days. If she's not holding him and he's not sleeping, he's screaming. )
Um...so...hi, I'm... ( She shifts a little in her chair and the infant in her arms stirs, which makes her take pause. He doesn't awaken, so she continues, but lowers her voice a little. ) I'm Joy and I just, um, wondered if anybody knows whether we can call home from here or no. I can't, anyway, I don't have a cell phone, but if it's a thing that's possible, I wondered if somebody would, um, mind if I borrowed their phone to send my mom a text once in a while just so she knows that me and Charlie are still okay and she doesn't freak out ( and do something humiliating like show up here. ) but if not, then that's okay. I just thought I would ask.
Ever since her dad died, life has been tough for Joy. It's always been complicated; her mom used to be a famous writer and she's a total Smother. Joy herself is the product of her mother hooking up with her ex for a one night stand at, of all things, a funeral. Joy's biological father, Bruce, is a jerk and his wife is even worse. Joy has a newly gay grandma, a complete jerk of a grandfather, and an Aunt Elle who is literally the coolest person she's ever met.
And last year, just before Joy's bah mitzvah, her dad had a heart attack and died. Joy hadn't known that he and Joy's mother had been planning a new baby via a surrogate before he died, but she found out after the fact. Several months after her dad's death, Charlie was born. Joy might only be fourteen years old, but she's been taking care of him ever since. She decided it was better to give her mother some time to pull herself together and for Joy not to have to juggle school on top of everything at home, so she packed up Charlie's diaper bag after a month of the struggle at home and stepped into Itinere. So far, it seems okay.
She waits until it's warm to dress Charlie for the weather before heading out to check out the town, wandering down the streets, in and out of stores just to see what's there. They've been here about a week and the past several days of it, he's been fussing. Maybe that's just what one month old babies do. Fuss. And it isn't like Joy knows how to make him stop except that she's learned that he likes to be held. The problem is, Joy's sick of the same four walls, so maybe she can keep Charlie happy while she also explores. It seems like the best of both worlds, so what could possibly go wrong?