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That night, I woke to rain. It’s funny, back in Oklahoma I had been a heavy sleeper, and now I couldn’t stay out for my life. Even worse, once I’m up, I stay up. The rain kept falling.
I read somewhere that listening to rain or waterfall sounds is supposed to be relaxing, but after five minuets of hearing the tiny, wet fingers tapping against my window, all I felt was a need to pee. So, reluctantly, I slipped out from under the covers.
The frigid night air hit my bare chest without mercy and my toes curled against the icy wood floor. I remembered distantly that Mr. Blowfish had turned off the heat before going to bed last night. Joy.
Rubbing gooseflesh from my arms, I limped across the hallway and into the bathroom, flailing blindly in the dark until my fingers brushed the light switch. For a moment, as I blinked stupidly against the harsh florescent light, trying to get my eyes to focus on the ugly blue floral wallpaper, I thought I heard someone shouting.
The pale wooden door thumped loudly in protest as I roughly kicked it closed, and I felt a little wave of guilt wash over me. Just because I hated the owner, doesn’t mean I should abuse the house. Even if it was snobby and stuffy with décor like the inside of a hospital, It didn’t do anything to me. That thought would have made mom shake her head.
“The house isn’t alive, Bo. It can’t feel anything.” She would say, fixing me with that dry look that she used to give dad. Dad, on the other hand, would have laughed.
I thought about that for a minuet, shuffling my feet across the beige tiled floor. Dad laughing. When was the last time I had seen him laugh? Its probably been about as long since I laughed. I peered at my reflection in the ballet-room sized mirror mounted on the wall. (Honestly, who needs a mirror that big?) Everyone said I looked just like him, the same strawberry blonde hair and greenish blue eyes and a nose that was more beak than anything else. I guess they were right.
As I swiped at my bangs, thinking about how badly I needed a haircut, or pretty soon I would look like an extremely butch girl, I heard the shouting again.
“This is preposterous!” came the sleazy voice of Mr. James Blofis, my step dad as of two months ago. I rolled my eyes. Who uses the word preposterous?
“James, dear, please.” And there’s that high, slightly nasally voice that can only mean one thing. My mom, Sarah Johnson. Excuse me, my bad, I mean Sarah Blofis.
Pressing my ear against the crack in the bathroom door, I strained my hearing as well as I could and held my breadth.
“How dare you!” The fish man was saying “Just who do you think you are to come into my house-
“While my son is asleep upstairs!” I almost passed out. I swear, I did. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t seen him in over four months, or that the walls were muffling his voice. I knew that speaker. My dad was here.
“He’s my son, too!” my mom shouted back.
“Oh, so now you care?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You never wanted him!”
That hurt. I knew my mom hadn’t planned for me. I knew she never wanted kids, and really wasn’t fit to be a mother. But still, hearing it stated so plainly like that. It stung. I tried to shake off the hurt and zone back in to the argument. Blowfish was trying to kick dad out of the house.
“Ill call the cops! I swear I will!”
“I am a cop, ya pretentious fish!”
“Aint no gentlemen here, Sarah. Just a couple of common folk and a woman arguing over a boy.”
I guess no one knew what to say to that, because the house got quiet. A moment later, my dad’s voice cut through the silence again, softer this time.
“Sign the papers Sarah, James. Gimme back my son.”
“He has a life here.” My mom tried weakly.
“A life you know he hates. Please, Sarah, if you have any love for Bo you will let him come home.”
It was quiet again. It went silent for long enough that I was almost convinced I had imagined it all. That my dad wasn’t here to get custody of me, and take me back home to out little apartment in Oklahoma. Then I heard Mr. Blowfish’s voice.
“Its midnight, Eric, and I noticed you drove the black-and-white here. Come back on Saturday without the cop car and be done with it. Well tell him to start packing tomorrow.”
“Thank you both.”
And that was that. I heard the door open. Close. Then my mom said to the fish man “Perhaps its for the best” and they started up the stairs.
I ran like a bullet to my room, barely stopping to kill the lights and shut the door before I was back, burrowed under my covers and pretending like I had slept through it all. He was coming. My dad was going to take me away from here. I felt my lips split into a stupid smile, and I sat there alone, grinning like the Cheshire cat into the darkness. It wasn’t till I was back in bed that I remembered I really did have to pee.