As I stride down Maple Street, I firmly grasp my younger sister’s hand, her dainty fingers are entangled in between mine as we made our way towards home. The cool fall weather brought a surplus of yellow leaves that made their escape from the trees. The house we approached was decorated with rusty pipes and duct-taped windows. That’s when I knew that we finally reached our barren, broken home. I enter through the shabby wooden door and remove my blue scarf from around my neck and hang it upon the coat rack. The house was silent. Mom was working late tonight. Sighing, I pull out my check that was tucked snugly from underneath my coat. I unveil the crisp, white envelope. Without excitement, I open the check and receive a whopping total of $146.78. It’s never been enough. But today, it was less than usual.
The local pub, known for its drunken bar fights and top class mozzarella sticks, was where I worked. A simple bar named Jimmy’s. I spent my precious time washing dishes and utensils.
“Clementine, did you go to school today?” My little sister, Caroline, questions, interrupting my thought. She began to remove her purple beanie and place it on the wooden table. She looks towards me with her warm brown eyes.
“No,” I said, heaving another sigh, “I had to go to work and watch you guys when you came home from school.” Caroline looked down in dismay, dropping her shoulders.
“Sorry, sis.” She muttered, then headed off into our shared bedroom.
The sad truth was, I was upset with her existence. I love her but she’s an extra mouth to feed and another soul to worry about. Despite that, it wasn’t hurt fault that we were poor. It was my father who left us in ruins. We all rely on my mother to be the sole breadwinner, but despite that, she continuously loses jobs. I’ve had the most steady job in the family so far. My brother is only fourteen years old and can’t legally hold a job yet, but I’ve been debating on asking my boss if he can work under the table for some extra cash. Hopefully, it’ll alleviate some of the stress put on me.
Speaking of Cody, he enters from the doorway, shuffling the mail between his hands and dragging in the debris from outside. His hair was dark blonde and shabby, completely untamed. His fingers trace the top of a large, white envelope.
“Hey Clem, you got some letters here.” He announced. He hands them to me, and without hesitation, he begins to head towards his room, adjusting his backpack on his shoulder as he goes. I quickly open the letter at its seam.
“We are sorry to inform you that we can no longer account for your position at Jimmy’s, due to financial burdens. You shall receive one final paycheck as compensation.”
“They’re letting me go?” I felt embarrassed and humiliated. I fought back tears that attempt to escape from my hazel eyes. But sadly, the tears won. The splash of water rolled down my cheeks. Without my help, we could lose the house.
Wiping the tears from my cheeks with my sweater, I begin analyzing the second letter. I noticed that it was from my school. Nervously, I began ripping the seams.
My guidance counselor explained that I may not have enough credits to graduate, due to my persistent failure in algebra. I felt my heart begin to pulse faster and faster.
Attention Deficit Disorder (or ADD) has made the biggest impact on my education. I can’t concentrate properly, and the problems at home just add fuel to the fire. My mind races in different ways. Everyone says their mind wanders, but I find myself in and endless galaxy of thoughts, and I find it hard to make my way back into reality. My job at Jimmy’s has really improved my concentration, because it keeps my mind focused on the tasks I’ve been given. But now, I’ve dedicated most of my time to work, opposed to school since I need the money. Now I feel like I’ve completely wasted my time.
Anyways, my entire day was completely ruined in under thirty seconds.
Suddenly, I heard persistent, loud bangs on the door. They sounded frantic and urgent.
“I’m coming!” I scream, racing over to the wooden door, opening it to reveal my mother. Her dark hair was neatly pulled up in a bun, her worry lines looking more prominent than usual.
“Mom?” I question “Why are you here so early?” Clutching her purse, she entered quickly through the door. Her shoulders were hunched over. I froze, I’ve never seen my mother act so strange. Her eyes were wide, her pupils were dilated.
“Mom! What’s wrong?” I exclaimed, grabbing her shoulders and shaking her violently.
“Honey,” She says weakly. “Your father wants to meet you.”
In that moment, I was tongue tied. I had so much that I could say, yet nothing came out at all. How could my father, who’s been out of my life for seventeen years, all of the sudden want to meet me?
“W-When can I see him?” I stammer. My mother looks up to me with her deary brown eyes. I hear the loud thud of footsteps.
An unrecognizable tall figure enters through the doorway. His face is chiseled, his shoulders are broad, and his nose is prominent; just like mine. This was all too sudden for me. He left us in ruins for so long. But at the same time, I was compelled to be seeing the other half of me. I glanced over at my mother, who was now bawling on the couch, resting her face in her hands. My father looks over to me and gives me an awkward, forced smile. I was hoping that this may be a blessing in disguise, that maybe my father will own up to his mistakes and help alleviate the stress we’ve been living with. We’ve never seen a penny of child support. Ironically, my life has been completely altered in three different ways in under a minute. But strangely, my satisfaction of finally seeing what he looks like got the best of me. Having no clue where to begin with my father, I mumble out a small “Hello.”