Ms. Savitt

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At exactly 3:17, Zack walked through the back door of his home from school. It was a bright, chill, spring, Thursday afternoon, and Zack had intentionally finished all of his homework the previous night to give him an afternoon free of cares. Zack kicked off his Nike® Dunks towards the direction of a corner of the room, but they never really reached their intended destination and threw his dusty avocado-green JanSport® backpack onto the kitchen counter, causing a sudden sound of clatter and shock. Zack opened the refrigerator and pulled out some turkey, cheddar, mayo, and mustard. Then, he retrieved some white bread from the cupboards. As he assembled the key ingredients for a sandwich, he saw his mom, Grace Garcia, step down the rickety stairs with a melancholy expression on her aged face. She stared at the ground, allowing her long caramel hair run down and over her eyes. Zack pushed his sandwich aside and stared at his mother. This was very strange behavior for Grace because it seemed like she always had a grin wherever she went, but this time, Zack sensed that something was horribly wrong.

“Mom?” Zack croaked, with a crackle in his voice. There was no response, until Grace Garcia looked up into Zack’s eyes with great discontent. Grace walked around to the opposite side of the kitchen counter where Zack was sitting and looked up into his eyes.

“Zack.” Grace paused, trying to sum up her thoughts, “Zack, Ms. Savitt, was sent to the E.R. this morning while you were at school. She had a heart attack.” Just then, Zack began recollecting the bitter memories of living across the street from Ms. Savitt. She was probably around in her mid-seventies, but even though it seemed like she didn’t have any energy left in her, she would always yell at him to get off of her lawn and to settle down to give the neighborhood a break from all of the racket and his “shenanigans”. It was the middle of December, but Zack still remembered that last summer when he and his buds took their bikes out for a ride and created an obstacle course around the neighborhood. Just when the excitement was beginning to arise, Ms. Savitt came out and confiscated all of their bikes. After that summer, the guys never wanted to hang out at Zack’s neighborhood, not while Ms. Savitt was going to live across the street. But maybe that would change.

“Oh,” Zack mumbled with no regret in his sarcastic attitude, ”that’s too bad.” Grace Garcia could tell that Zack was actually not disappointed at all or that his emotion had even been altered. Zack’s mother was shocked. This was because, when Zack was four years old, his parents divorced and Zack’s father left the house with great rage. This happened after a huge fight, the day of their anniversary. He took most of the money and his belongings and drove away in his car, but he never came back. At that time, Grace did not have an occupation, so she was left with barely any money to support her and her son, let alone keep the house. This news spread around the neighborhood and when Ms. Savitt realized that they were the family of the house right across hers, she kindly offered for them to stay at her house at any time. If Grace was busy, she would take care of Zack for as long as necessary. Of course, Zack was aware of this years after his mom was able to get a job and support her family without any extreme assistance, but he still did not realize the importance of Ms. Savitt in his life.

Grace Garcia sternly said, “Zack, I have already scheduled for you and me to visit her in the hospital, tomorrow after school. Although, I am quite sure she will be inept in talking to us, I just want to stop by and see how she’s doing,” Grace looked at Zack and noticed that he rolled his eyes with severe exasperation.

“Do I really have too? I’m telling you, mom. Ms. Savitt always got really mad at me whenever I would barely even do anything. And besides, I have plans tomorrow and I don’t want to waste my time going to a hospital and seeing that lady!” Zack was shocked at his own outburst, that he didn’t even want to look in his mother’s eyes because he was too scared and ashamed for treating his mom and even Ms. Savitt that way.

He looked up, and expected that his mom was so upset that she ran upstairs with tears in her eyes, but, instead, he saw that she had hunched over and bowed her head behind her arms that were set onto the counter to hide her face. She wasn’t crying, not as far as Zack knew, but Zack immediately ran upstairs, himself, and locked himself in his room.


The next morning was extremely quiet, but Zack didn’t bother to wonder why. He packed his lunch and left for his bus. After school seemed like the typical schedule. Zack would get his stuff, catch the bus, and find himself alone at home while his mom was at work, but today, he saw a note on the refrigerator. It was written on a yellow sticky-note and in black marker in extremely sloppy penmanship. The message on the sticky-note said this:

Zack,
Ms. Savitt past away early this morning, so I won’t be returning for a while. I have to help her family move some of her stuff somewhere else, but I’ll be home at 11:00 tonight. I found out that she had saved some of your toys when you were a baby in her car trunk. I don’t think you should have them, but I just wanted you to know that she had always kept a memory of you with her when you were little.

Love,

Mom

Zack couldn’t believe it. Why had Ms. Savitt always kept his baby toys with her? Did this mean that she also had his bike, completely undamaged? Why hadn’t Ms. Savitt told him while she had the chance? Zack was speechless, but all he was able to do was just stand there, ashamed of insulting her, ashamed of hurting his mother, and ashamed for misunderstanding and criticizing someone who was actually one of the most important people of his life.





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