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A Lesson in Maturity

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“How rude! People can’t leave dogs on the side of the road like that,” my mom muttered.

While she talked, I spun around and watched the puppies playfully nibble each other’s ears while their mother eyed them closely. Just watching those puppies mad me jealous. Why couldn’t I have a dog? Just because my mom’s allergic, that’s why. They could always stay somewhere else like the old, abandoned barn up on Creekside Road. That would be perfect.

“…and that’s why it’s rude to leave—Jimmy? Are you even listening to me?” my mom interrupted my thoughts.

Soon, we reached the car and I prepared for the incredibly short drive home.

“Mom, why won’t you let me own a dog?” I asked slowly.

“I’ve told you over and over, I’m allergic,” my mom replied sternly.

Adults are so annoying. All they think about is themselves. Why can’t they think of others for once? As I thought that, I heard the crunching of leaves and gravel under the wheels of the car as it pulled up our driveway. Stepping out, I felt the crisp, autumn breeze. Fall was my favorite season.
“Hey Mom, I’m going to Will’s house; I’ll be back before dinner!” I yelled as I attached a wagon to the back of my bike. Grabbing some rope, I listened for my mom’s response, but I heard nothing. Hopefully, she had heard me.

I jumped onto my bike and began riding down the driveway. During the bike ride, I watched the many red, orange, yellow and brown leaves zoom by. Soon, I passed the butcher shop, shoe store, then the café. Next was the grocery store. Skidding to a stop right in front, I jumped out and kicked the kickstand in place. Taking the rope, I tied each of the puppies to my wagon. The mom followed them obediently. I hopped back on my bike and embarked on the long ride to Mr. Smith’s abandoned barn. Though its his, he’s way too old to make it out there.

Slowly the distances between the houses became wider. Everything started to resemble ranches. Spotting the barn, I stopped and took the wagon off my bike. The mother still followed me, and I began walking toward the barn. As I neared the barn, I looked back at the mother dog. She was extremely calm. Reaching for the lock on the barn door, I heard one of the puppies yelp.

“Shhhh!”

Unlocking the latch, the musty smell of the barn overpowered my senses. I picked each of the puppies up and nudged them into the barn. Finally, I got my first look inside of it. It was one big work in progress. The wood was splintered in many places and I occasionally spotted a rat out of the corner of my eye. Immediately, I went to work. It took an hour, but I finally brought the barn to living conditions. I revealed a can of dog food from my jacket pocket and pumped some water in a rusty bowl. Both were given to the dogs. Then, I biked back home.

“You look sweaty and tired! What did you do? Go take a shower,” my mom demanded sternly.

“Sheesh mom, I just rode my bike to Will’s house and back, and we also played football. You don’t have to be so stressed!” I yelled back as I stomped up the stairs.

When I got upstairs, I didn’t shower or even rinse my face. All I did was stare at my messy brown hair and pale, freckled face all dirty and messed up. Afterward, I skipped down the stairs and peered at my mom swiftly setting the table. As I smelled food, I wondered if I had fed the dogs enough. Soon my dad arrived and we all sat down and ate dinner.

“Jimmy, go upstairs and go to bed,” my mom directed.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m going,” I called back as I climbed the stairs.

Beep! Beep! Beep! My alarm woke me up. Jerking my head toward the clock, I realized I had five minutes to get ready for school, so I threw my clothes on and sprinted out the door.

“School was boring,” Will commented.

“When is it not?” I asked back.

“You’re right. Hey, do you want to come home with me?”

“Sure.”

At Will’s house, we finished our homework and played football. Time went by fast because suddenly I realized how late it was. While I called my mom, I watched the second hand tick by. Soon, bright yellow head lights came into view and I grabbed my and started walking toward my car. As soon as I got home, I went upstairs and went to bed.

The next morning, I brushed my teeth, grabbed last night’s leftovers and left. My bike creaked as I stepped on it, and I began making my way to Mr. Smith’s barn. The bike ride there was exhausting, but I soon made it. A feeling of despair filled the air as I walked into the barn. Tears filled my eyes as I saw what had happened to one of the puppies. The poor puppy had died, and it was my entire fault. I soon found a shovel and buried the puppy after giving it a decent funeral. After handing the dogs their food and water, I quickly left.

“Perfect,” I muttered to myself on the way back home. “Just perfect.”

“Jimmy, where were you?” my mom questioned as I walked in.

“Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” I started saying. “I did something wrong, and I need help. Remember the dogs we saw at the store? I snuck them out, but one of them died. I can’t handle them.”

Mom took a gasp before responding,” Thank you for being honest Jimmy, but you are still in trouble. I say we put them up for adoption, how about the shelter?”

We both stepped into the car, and mom drove to the barn. After I loaded the puppies in, we drove to the shelter. My mom sneezed all the way. When we got to the shelter, I started to cry. Handing the puppies over was hard. My heart pounded like a drum as I tried to stop the tears.





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