The People Around You.

By
'Mom?' The house is eerily quiet for a Saturday afternoon. I move to her bedroom, listening at the door for a moment. Nothing. I knock as I open the door, standing silently in the opening. The comforter rustles and I am surprised, taking a small step forward. I see a foot hanging out of the dingy, tangled sheets. I think it's the prettiest foot I've ever seen- slender and pale, but with pink, rounded toes curled slightly around the bedspread. I follow the ankle up as far as there is skin before my eyes meet denim, closely followed by the worn out comforter. I step closer still, my searching eyes discovering a bare back. It's a boy. I glance at his lower half, entangled in a mess of sheets. I imagine that it's Noah, in mom's bed because he's scared and there's no one around to stop her. I pretend that it's before she started doing that to him, and that these jeans are his, the ones with the elastic band in the back so that little kids can still play in them. But this isn't him, and these jeans aren't like that. They are gray and worn in and a few sizes too big for the skinny boy in front of me. He is sleeping the wrong way across the bed, lying sprawled out in the messy sheets. I search for a head and blond curls, not black, assure me that this isn't Noah. I quietly move to the other side of the bed, startled to find wide, green-brown eyes staring back at me. So he wasn't asleep after all' He is obviously surprised as well, and in a flurry of movement he buries his face in my mother's blankets.
I am angry now that I can tell how young he is. It isn't right. I'm upset and I hear sounds behind me.
'What do you think you're doing?' My mother hisses, grabbing my arm to drag me out. I let her. I was leaving anyway. She furiously pulls me to the kitchen, far away from her room. 'Who said you could come back here?' She snaps.
I'm angry, too. 'Who was that?' I ask it, even though I'm sure I know. 'Do you know how old he is?!' The outrage in my voice matches hers.
'You don't live here anymore! Get out of my house!' She's screaming, and subconsciously I'm hoping that the babies aren't around to hear her. 'Why are you here anyway?' Her voice reminds me of my reasons. I'm here to check on Noah and to get more clothes, but I don't tell her that. 'Why should I be here?' I'm about to go off on her about how I have every right to be here when she lumbers away, back to her room. I wonder if he's been waiting for her and for how long. I call back the memory of his back, with scars wrapped around it like somebody wanted to cut him in half, and then I think about the ugly, tender bruises on his sweet, round face, praying that my mother didn't put any of those on him. I can hear her yelling at him. We weren't supposed to know he was here, I guess. I clench my fists, angrily slamming them onto the counter. I glare down at it, only crumbs meeting my furious gaze. And then something distracts me out of the corner of my eyes. The boy, trying to hide his face and put shoes on at the same time. He is flushed, but from heat or embarrassment I can't tell. I only notice his coat before he leaves. A school jacket. MY school's jacket.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback