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Childhood Games

My mother broke every dish in the house that day. Honestly, it wasn't hard. That's the problem with moving, you've got all your breakables in one place, ready to be unwrapped and knocked off the edge of the counter. But what happened was my fault, really. I can't let mom take all the blame for what I did as a child. Mother could only control me so much.

We were moving for the third time in five years to chase another potential job for mom. Sounds like a lot, but I didn't care. I wasn't exactly a social kid. I'd spent the last two years in Iowa, doing my best to be as inconspicuous as a rock in the back of all my classes. The other little girls had long since given up collecting me as a friend, and the boys quickly labeled me a weirdo and left me alone. Anyway, I figured, who needs real friends when you have all the imaginary ones you want. And I had a ton of imaginary friends, each one with some kind of adventure to take me on. The latest, a talking monkey named Jeremy, wanted to go play outside. So, after mom and I had removed the bubble wrap and newspaper from most of the dishes in the kitchen, I finally got her to let me explore.

Surrounding the house were woods, the perfect setting for one of my make-believe adventures. I carefully chose from my expansive repertoire of games, finally finding one to suit my purpose. I was a great and fearless explorer, searching the jungle for the magical Fountain of Youth. After an hour or so of this, I got bored, but I couldn't just leave a game unfinished so I choose a peaceful, gurgling creek for the grand finally. I had just discovered the Fountain of Youth when I froze. Staring at me from the opposite bank was a huge wolf, and not a make believe one this time.

Mom used to tell me that daddy got eaten by wolves. Looking back I think that might have been wishful thinking, since I now know that he left us when I was an infant. Still, when I was seven I didn't know that.

Slowly, I backed away. The wolf splashed across the creek and I stopped, my eyes widening in terror. Since when did great and fearsome explorers end up as wolf chow. The wolf wined and wagged it's tail. I stood up straight and inspected it closely, that was definitely not proper “I'm going to eat you” behavior. The wolf should have been growling and snapping it's jaws, maybe salivating a little. What a disappointment, except for the fact that I was still alive. I liked that.

The wolf wined again and sniffed my shoulder. I stroked it's head, noticing a faded blue collar around it's neck. Maybe it was someone's lost pet! If so it was my duty as a self-proclaimed lover of animals to return it, or at least show mom. She'd know what to do!

So home I went, trailing the wolf-dog behind me. It hesitated nervously before entering the house, but finally decided to follow me in. Entering the kitchen with the wolf-dog trailing behind mt, I saw mom place the first round of dishes into a kitchen cabinet. When she turned and saw us, I found out why I never had any childhood pets.

Mom screamed shrilly and the frightened wolf-dog shied away, it's tail between it's legs. She tried to jump up on the counter and dishes that we had spent hours meticulously lining up fell in white peaked waves all over the floor. She shrieked again and lost her balance, trying to grab onto the shelves where the last of the dishes sat placidly. Not for long. With a crash, every ceramic or glass object I had ever known, was strewn in pieces all over the floor.

Needless to say I was grounded for a good while after that incident. And I never brought a dog home again. Other animals, though, are another story. A whole set of them.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

FluteFreak said...
Mar. 6, 2012 at 9:48 am
I think this is a good piece, but I feel like it needs more. . . Why did the mom react so badly to the dog? Were the dishes valuable in any way?
 
EPluribusUnum This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm
Thank you for your feedback! :) This piece would be a fun one to expand upon and if I ever get arround to it it's nice to know what to include.
 
EPluribusUnum This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 5, 2012 at 11:24 am
Grrrr...typos
 
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