Story by friend of Masha Allen
I met Masha when I was in the 5th grade. She was awkward, like me. We became very close along with another girl. At first she did not open up about her past. We would talk about normal girl things. My best memory of Masha is when we used to steal pickles from lunch (the lunch ladies only allowed us 4). It sounds odd but it really helped us connect. We even wrote a silly story about it. From there, She explained to me she was from Russia and came to the US at a very young age. She said she was adopted by a very bad man and he did very bad things, as in sexual. I felt for her. She told me he would not allow her dairy and had starved her because he liked her "thin." Then came the subject about her foster mother, Miss faith. She called her "mumzie." She talked about her very fondly so I assumed she was extremely nice and a savior to Masha. One night Masha invited me to spend the night with her and Miss Faith. My mother was a little weary because they did not live in the best apartment complex but allowed me. Like any mother she wanted to me Miss Faith. When I first met Miss Faith she was very nice to me, this was before she had taken in the two other foster children. Unlike me, my mother knew as soon as she met Miss Faith that something was "off." I just shook it off and stayed anyway. Miss Faith behaved like Masha and I's friend. She was not like a mother. I do not remember the specifics of the night. It was quite a while until I slept over again because of some funny business going on with other people from the community near her apartment. In the mean time, Masha was slipping in school. She was having a hard time concentrating it seemed.
The second time I stayed over Miss Faith's apartment was very different then the first. There was just a hostile feeling. I did not know she started fostering 2 other children so I was suprised when I walked in the door. One was a boy and the other a girl. They looked to be about 6 years old, somewhere around there. They were extremely polite, almost like they were walking on egg shells around Miss Faith. That night Miss Faith cooked dinner. While me, Masha, and Miss Faith were sitting at the table eating they were told they had to eat on the floor. It was very odd. I felt bad for them. To be honest, I do not even know where they slept because if I remember correctly Miss Faith had a 2 bedroom apartment and both rooms were occupied by Miss Faith and Masha. When we left, I do not remember where we went, Miss Faith made the children always open the doors for us. She had a rude attitude towards them and it seemed as though Masha did too. Which was out of character for her because Masha was very sweet. My mother witnessed, I do not remember if they had gone to the local charity basketball game or not but I believe that is where it happened, Miss Faith slapping the little boy in the face. I do not remember the reason. My mother considered reporting Miss Faith and possibly taking Masha in to our home but for issues between my mother and father she never did.
I do not remember much in between, besides going to church with them, until Masha announced that Miss Faith had adopted her and she was having an adoption party. It really had come out of no where. We, my mother and I, knew at that moment things were going to get even worse for Masha. Since I witnessed the 2 children sitting on the ground I did not care for Miss Faith and felt very awkward around her. Masha seemed like she was forcefully happy at the adoption party. I was sad for her but never approached her about my concerns. I did not want to upset her since she had already went through terrible things so young and did not know for sure if my mother and I's suspicians about Miss Faith were correct. I did not want to offend Masha.
Not long after, Masha told us she was moving to Georgia. This crushed me, she was my best friend. It was just so random. She said she was having a going away party at a restaurant and wanted me to go. I asked her why she was moving to Georgia and she told me Miss Faith had some family that they were going to stay with. It was really sad to say goodbye to my best friend.
Masha and I talked a couple times on the phone right after she moved to Georgia. The summer after she came to stay, a weekend or maybe it was a week, with me and my family. When she came up she was very different, as in her character. She was a lot more on edge, and rude almost. She was not mean to me, but my sisters. Which again being mean was out of character for Masha. I felt like I did not even know her anymore. She also wore darker clothes. She would tell me about Georgia and talk about her abuse as a child like it was nothing. It seemed like she was talking about it like it did not effect her what so ever. One thing she said to me really stuck with me. She told me she was not a virgin anymore because of what her adoptive dad did to her when she was young. She said it in a tone as in shrugging it off. I felt sorry for her. She also talked about drugs. I do not know if she was taking any. It is hard to explain the feeling I felt when I was around Masha that summer. She was just "dark." When she left, I did not hear from her much. Then soon, I never heard from her again.