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I smashed through the window, making sure my gloved knuckles weren’t cut. they weren’t. I kicked through the extra glass with my shoe, and walked into the spacious living room. It was a nice cozy place, a huge comfortable looking couch with tons of pictures of family. The people in the picture looked like they were at the peak of happiness, with their smiling rosy faces and arms clutching one another as if they were in a never-ending hug.
I instantly straightened up at the sound of a movement in another room. They told me nobody was home, that they were visiting some relative in Virgina or something. They also told me not to stall.
Walking across the dark hall I wished I could turn on the light or at least touch the walls on either side of me. But I couldn’t, no fingerprints. So I just walked in until I got to the end of the hall, where the bedroom door was. I stepped inside, taking the place in all in one breath, and rummaged around in the closet. I only found some kind of fur stole, so I dumped that into my duffel bag and went onto the dresser. There was an antique painted jewelry box on the top, I opened it up and found a watch.
It was a women’s watch, I could tell right away because of the fragile looking clasp and the fine silver inscriptions. You could tell it was really old because of the way it was made, with carved roses and the delicate way the clock ticked slowly. It was beautiful. I flipped it over and read the carved inscription on the back. It read: Mary and Thomas Ferrywell Forever
I swiftly placed the watch in a pocket on the side of my duffel bag. I wasn’t supposed to get distracted. I wasn’t supposed to get emotional. Someone probably heard the window being crashed in so I only probably have a couple of minutes before a cop comes in here and tazes me to death or lets the dogs use my leg as a chew toy.
I dumped the whole jewelry box into my bag. I don’t know if J would care if any of the stuff was broken, I didn’t even know what he was going to do with the stuff, all I knew if that he would pay me and be off to wherever guys like him go. After all, I’ve never done this before.
I scoped out the rest of the house, finding tons of antique stuff I’d normally think of as crap. But the way these people set it up high on their shelves you could tell that is was much loved and cherished.
I made my way to the last room and was thinking that this was a piece of cake. I would be paid, go home, and then just whatever. These people didn’t need these things right? If they were in my position, they would do it too.
So I opened the last door and gasped. There was a fragile looking woman sitting in a seriously worn down rocking chair. She looked up at me and didn’t even look surprised. She just kept on rocking as if I weren’t there and her life depended on that swift gentle movement.
“Why?” she said. Her voice sounded like the whispery sound of wind blowing through the trees. I wouldn’t have heard her at all if I weren’t listening.
So I did what any person with common sense would do. I ran. I ran hard and fast until my fiery lungs threatened to heave.
What was wrong with this lady? Didn’t she know I was in her house? Why wasn’t she racing to the phone to have the police drag me to jail? I sighed. Maybe she didn’t get her medication or something.
I quickly stopped the frantic running because, hey, when you see a guy dressed in dark clothes with a heavy duffel bag at his waist, running like brain eating zombies are chasing him, what do you think?
So I settled at a quick, steady pace to the Saharas Bar. I was supposed to meet J there at one. I checked my watch, it was 12:49. So I had a few minutes to pace around the front and find a spot to sit at the Bar.
So maybe the old lady hadn’t called the cops, I don’t hear any sirens. So, obviously her head wither wasn’t screwed on right, or, she doesn’t know how to work a phone. But that didn’t explain why she didn’t even freak out at seeing me at the door. It didn’t explain why she wasn’t cowering in a closet with a pitchfork in her wrinkled hands instead of sitting in a rocking chair—
I quickly stood up at the use of my cover name. startled I approached the person who called me. He looked like an ordinary guy. There were no dark capes or ski masks for him, no, had had on a pair of casual Ralph lauren jeans and a high designed tee shirt.
“Come on out back.”, he said, unfazed with my mild shock.
So I did. He took me out back, checked what I had in my bag and poured it into his Corvette. Then he reached in his car and gave me a wad of cash. Then, without further hesitation at the Saharas Bar, he sped off, leaving a cloud of gag inducing smokiness in his wake.
I slid the wrinkled money into my pocket, not even checking how much untill I was home. With my luck, I might get jumped on the way home. So I jogged down the street to my apartment with my empty duffel bag on tow. Forget about the old lady, I thought, theres no evidence anymore, and you’ve got the money you needed.
I clanged up the stairwell, passing my neighbor, Mr. Andrews. He saw me and smiled a sick smile, as if he knew. A quick horrible feeling of despair stormed over me, what if he did know. The feeling quickly passed though, Mr. Andrews was the neighborhood drunk: he smiled at everyone like that.
I opened the apartment door and relaxed on my couch, my new residence since my room had to be taken over by my sister. After a few moments of intense relief I got up and had to steady my knees as if I were an old man, and I went to get some orange juice and what was left of the Tylenol from the kitchen and brought it to my sister.
As soon as I opened the door I was overwhelmed of the stench of sickness. All you could hear was her labored breathing. I dashed across the room to the bed, guilty that I left her for so long.
I got her to swallow the pills and some of the orange juice, then stayed by the bedside, watching her chest rise and fall, before I passed out on the floor.
I woke up with a start. When I got ready for the day and was starting to make my sister breakfast. When I finished practically force feeding her I went to the couch and started checking my duffel bag to see if anything was left.
The carved watch slid out of one of the many pockets in my duffel bag. It seemed to sparkle with a light all of its own and the carved inscription stood out more sharply than before in the early morning light. J must have only checked the big pocket on my duffel bag.
I read and reread the inscription on the back of the watch. And then I had a thought.
I hurried over to my backpack and ripped out a piece of paper and madly scribbled onto it. After all, she had asked ‘Why’.
I grabbed the watch and jogged out the door, nearly knocking over Mr. Andrews on my way out, he had moved closer to my door. I ran down the street and many more streets until I found the one I wanted, the one with a broken window. The window seemed to shine with an unearthly light as I gently placed it onto the sill and knocked on it very lightly.
Then I ran. I ran faster than I had run yesterday. I ran till I thought my lungs would burst. I ran as if my feet had wings and I was only a rider among them. I burst through the apartment door to my home and sat down. I sat down with utter stillness, as my heart beat with all the rage of a caged wild animal. I took a deep breath that filled my lungs, and then breathed out.
And then I thought. There had to be another way.
Mary Ferrywell stood up from her chair after a night of rocking. She was a wise woman: She knew to wait.
So Mary assessed the damage to her beloved house, with only a slight pinch of anger. It looked as if the intruder were only there to take what they needed: he didn’t do any unneeded damage. She had been there. She knew what it was like to have to steal and take.
She felt a slight teasing breeze coming from the front room. She slowly walked towards the window and its jagged edges. There was something on the sill. She strode toward it a little more anxiously and she gasped. There was a letter there. With something wrapped around it.
Mary held her spine broomstick straight as she read the explanation. She would forgive. She wasn’t the grudge kind of person.
She held her watch with a kind of awe, admiring it with renewed love in the morning light. Then, one lone tear slid down Mary Ferrywell’s cheek.