"When I'd shaken the bell, my parents had not heard a sound." - Chris Van Allsburg

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Latchkey Kid

Mami would be cleaning the Reynold's house tonight. She will not reach the apartment door until 7:00 at least. This means that she has left dinner in the fridge for me. Probably tomato soup and salad. I wish she would teach me how to cook instead of leaving me the acidic soup on Thursday nights. I glance around the bus, careful to avoid eye contact with anyone around me. The person across from me is wearing a red collared shirt with a big white name tag over their left breast pocket. "LENNON' is scrolled across the tacky pin in bright blue letters. My eyes roll down Lennon's black slacks and stop at their glossy black leather shoes, like the ones Shawn wears to work. Ew.
The grimy bus makes a farting sound as it comes to a halt. I try not to giggle as I eagerly stand up and reach behind me, ensuring my SpongeBob back pack is still in place. I roll on my toes at the top of the steps as the bus doors swing open with a squeak, and I run down the steps out into the crisp Autumn air. I step to the side of the bus and take a deep breath in. As I timidly cross the street, Lennon runs past me, a black satchel flapping against those ugly black slacks. I don't know why, but I begin to chase the stalky figure. I'm panting by the time I reach the parking lot, and let the red shirt storm into the building. Why were you running, Lennon? What does your face look like? I just wanted to see the person's face...
I slowly walk the rest of the way to the front door of the building and pause, studying the peeling paint. The heat of my cheeks warms my entire head, and my mouth is dry. I open the door and head up the stairs. I flip up the thin rubber mat and pick up the key. All of the sudden, I feel so sleepy. I take off my shoes and throw down my backpack, and head straight to my bedroom. My face sinks into the pillow and I'm out.
Soft whispers circle around my head as I slowly open my eyes to see blurry fluorescent lights. I look to my left and see a big, pale woman with purple and arms covered in tattoos. She is kneeling beside me with a gigantic needle in her hand. "Now darlin, did you want the letters all uppercase for sure?"
She had a thick country accent. I looked down at the paper where she had "LENNON"  sketched out in ugly bold letters.
I tried to say something, but not a sound came out of my mouth. I mouthed to her with wide eyes. "Why?" She must have thought I said yes. The cold, large needle was pressed to the left side of my chest, and she began to scroll. The pain was was like a terrible toothache on my chest, and it wouldn't go away. I began to scream "STOP! Let me go!" Not a sound came out of my mouth.
I rolled over to the sound of the door unlocking. I must have slept for a long time. My room is entirely dark, but I am comforted by the thought of Mami preparing a real dinner. I sit up, only to see glossy black leather shoes slowly stepping through the moonlit living room. This was not Mami.

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