I Should Have Never Left Home That Night

November 22, 2011
I figured that she would be okay by herself. I mean, she was old enough to take care of herself while I stepped out for the night. She had put herself to bed, and I don’t usually hear her till the sun rises in the morning.

That’s why I decided that I was going to go out.

My parents, striving to make ends meet, take the night shifts because that gets more money through the doors then any other day shift would. My dad being a mill worker, and my mom a low ranking nurse, take the shifts as they come with gratitude.

I am always considered the babysitter, but not tonight. I have been stuck in this apartment for too long, and I need to get out before I loose my mind.

Sneaking out wouldn’t be an issue, especially because there’s a fire escape right outside the living room window of our apartment. I shove open the moldy window, and look below me, only to see my friends gathering at the bottom of the ladder. I reflect back into the room to see the television playing some old Lifetime movie, the single nightlight coming from the crack in my sister’s room, and a single candle on the coffee table.

I shove my right leg through the window, and dip down low enough till I can feel the ladder rung underneath me. When it makes contact with the bottom of my sneaker, I bring the other leg out. I shut the window and began my descent to where my friends waited eagerly. Once I got down there, I was off into the night, only to return before dawn.

I wish I could’ve seen the single candle flame flicker and then spread to the newspaper besides it and unfurl to the rest of the coffee table, igniting the sofa in a surge of flame. The flame traveled like a tornado, engulfing everything in its path as it made it’s way to my sister, who was cocooned in her sheets.
I needed to be there, to console her fright as the wall of flame succumbed her door, to halt her screams as she cowered in her closet, to lead her to the safety of the outside air. But I wasn’t there.
The sirens didn’t startle me, and the smoke wasn’t to be seen from across town, in my friend’s basement with the stereo pounding.
The only thing that startled me was the rubble of our apartment building, when I finally arrived there right before dawn. The residents were wrapped up in blankets sobbing amongst themselves, carrying remains of belongings.
I spotted my parents sobbing, by themselves, and that’s when I knew, I should have never left home that night.

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