The ugly old yellow room seems to shrink as time drudges by. The air is suffocatingly hot, stale, and sticky. I hold my breath, timing each round, slowly watching moments go by.
A tug at my throat, and my eyes start to water. Hold it for five more seconds…two more…almost done…. I take a giant, and yet quiet gulp of sour air. Three more lousy never ending minutes.
Papers begin to rustle. Binders are shoved into already full bags. Desks shift and creak as lethargic teens begin to shuffle towards the looming door. I join the mass, and drift close to the afternoon gate.
The exhausting buzzer of freedom sounds, and bodies slowly start pouring out, like sand through a funnel. A wave of cool air brushes across my face, willing me to escape into the abyss.
I can see the bright blue sky, the twinkling ocean, and the pleasant red papery flowers cascading over the fence. The path is long, and my feet seem to drag as I make my way to the front of school. Each slow step is one towards to comforting arms of my mother and the new calmness of home.
I can see the shimmering head of red bounce in my direction.
“Hi. Do you see Mom? I just want to go home.”
* * *
The familiar squeaking van pulled into the drive, but the silhouette within was unexpected. I wonder where Mom is? Oh well, I’ll tell Dad about what Natalie said.
“So today I told Natalie how we are all getting super excited. We are in the two weeks range, so its fair game anytime. She said that whenever we left, I should call her right away.”
“That’s funny you said that. Today it hit me that I should call my mom and dad. You know if we need to leave, somebody will need ta be here for ya. I just got off the phone with them before I came to get you, and I hope it all works out. They have to work in the mornings a couple days a week, and I’m nervous that we won’t be able to get a’hold of em.”
* * *
The strange creek of a garage door floated in the open wind. A familiar, slightly beat-up door, rose into view. The low squeaking rumble of the car dissipated. I stepped into the comfortable house and sighed a breath of relief. Light streamed through pail blinds, illuminating the new carpet. I walked directly into the room. My body and bags hit the floor within moments of each other. I’ll lay on fresh ground, smelling the newness of it, and drinking in the new memories.
“I love the new carpet. I can’t even remember what the old stuff looked like. Maybe we’re lucky we had a flood. This must be way better then what we had before,” I said to inattentive ears.
I gradually picked myself up, and walked towards the friendly kitchen. As I rounded the corner, I nearly ran into my mother. The two of us laughed, and soon my arms flew around her smiling body. I hugged her long and hard, pressing myself against her protruding belly.
“I love you Mom.”
My nose crinkles, as her auburn hair tickles my face. I enjoy the peaceful moment, sensing the softness of her skin, and sweet smell of her perfume. A sudden rush of chaotic noise flies into the hall, and overcomes the two of us. Bug off. Find your own person to hug.
I reluctantly turn away as my mother embraces another speed-talking daughter.
* * *
Snack in hand and thoughts in tow, I head to the
of Parentingville, USA. On the outskirts of town,
between the corner and the door, I get a funny sense flowing through me. For
some reason, I pull over and listen quietly in the darkened bathroom. A silent commotion
seems to be erupting among the folded laundry, and cell phone ridden room. Who’s he talking to? Grandma? Didn’t they
just talk? Wait, what was she feeling all weekend long? How come no one told
me? Stop playing the piano Lauren, I can’t hear him!
Curiosity, excitement, and giddiness overcome me, and I find myself wandering into the room. I plop myself down in the middle of the room, eating my snack, looking innocent.
* * *
The rickety door slams behind me, echoing past my ears. The silver car pulls down the drive, seemingly in slow motion, and yet with direct force. I wave excited and scared, but they don’t see me. I watch as they drive into the sun, hoping the next time I see my mother will bring unexplainable joy. My stomach aches as they disappear, fighting the worry of loss and fear. What did Dad want? What am I gathering? Where’s Emma? How long will it take? Should they have taken a towel? It would cost a lot of money to redo the seat.
* * *
The house is surreally quiet. A pile of things wait patiently by the door. Our ears perk at the sound of any car. Breaks squeaking. Doors closing. I lose focus, and drift into thought of the building yet to be seen, the emotions still to be felt. Suddenly the large door brushes open, and the round, loving figure of my grandmother enters the room?
“Where is everybody? We have things to do! Dad and I need to use the bathroom, and then we’ll be off.”
I load my shoulders with bags of seemingly meaningless things. I drag my weighted body to the car, and pretend not to be excited. We quickly seat ourselves, trying not to show our excitement.
* * *
My seatbelt tugs at my bladder, as the stop-go of traffic tortures us with want. Can’t they see we have somewhere to be? When did Grandpa start driving like an old man? Come on, you can go faster.
We pass exit after exit, but never drawing nearer to our destination. Without noticing, we slowly turn off the road, and are immersed in a jungle of roads and lights.
* * *
The large building looms ahead, half greeting, half urging me to turn away. I fight the urge to drop the bags and run inside. I train my feet to walk slowly, pain in every step. We wander the cold, tart smelling halls, and enter a chalk smelling lobby. A couple worn couches dare me to sit. An oddly young woman, whimpers and complains right before us. I wrestle the thought to scold, but something stops me, pulling at my heart, knowing there is more than I can see. Before I can move, a familiar voice calls out, echoing in its hushness. We follow the beaming man down the wide hall, silent and anxious. I gingerly step into a dark room, filled with the eerie colors of fall. The large room seems empty except for a bulky bed. An orange glow surrounds my mother, the murky sunset illuminating her face.
I start to shrink from intimidation, but an unknown force draws my eyes upward. I breath deep and stare into the face of my worried, but determined mother. She trembles, but is firm in her conviction; I draw strength from the sight of her pained body. Just sit. Wait.
* * *
The black sky twinkles with ideas. My eyes are heavy, but my heart is still pounding. I miss my mother. The soft snores of the next room lull me to sleep, as my brain wills me to stay awake. I listen intently for the sound of my dad, but it never comes. I drift softly to sleep, remembering her curly caramel hair, sharp blue eyes, and perfect fingers. I will see her soon, and we will make memories on the new carpet, staring at the sky.