I love to walk around when it's foggy. The Massachusetts air always gets like that in the fall. I find it relaxing to let the grayness swallow me as I stroll along the sidewalk. Cars pass, and I can hear dogs barking in the distance. I grasp the sleeves of my long sweatshirt, almost as if I want to stretch them to tie them in a knot in front of my chest. I try to ignore how cold it is. As I walk I look up at the trees. I see two leaves fall from the oak in front of the Smith’s yard. The orange and brown leaves swirl around each other, until they fall to the cold sidewalk. I step around them as I turn the corner. I don’t know why I feel the need to be careful thus to not hurt them. Two more houses and I’m back where I started. My house looks empty from the outside. It’s gray appearance makes it look lonely. The grass is lightly misted with rain. It's been just enough time for the front pathway to be dry, but for the trees and grass to still have water droplets on them. The only light that’s on is the one in the kitchen. Through the front window I can see my mom. It looks like she's checking the expiration date on a milk carton. I chuckle as I walk inside. “Hi sweet heart.” She says as I walk in. “How was the walk?”
“Fine” I say. “Pretty chilly though.”
“That's nice dear” Mom says as she puts the milk carton back in the fridge. She pauses like she wants to say something but doesn't know the right words yet. “It's just... a shame.” She says.
“What?” My heart starts beating a little faster. I don’t know what's going on, but I don’t like it.
“Oh nothing. You're just not telling me something.”
“What do you mean? You're scaring me.” My face starts to turn red. I can feel it. I want the ground to swallow me whole. This isn't happening. I clench my hands. A rush of cold air swirls around my body. I turn my head to look outside the window. As I slowly tilt my head up I can see a cloud as big as my street coming towards us. The sky turns black.
My body jerks up. My breathing becomes heavier and heavier. I look around my pitch black room. The only thing I can see is my alarm clock. The red glowing numbers say it’s 6:17. I turn my head to look back up at my ceiling. “It’s just a dream.” I say, as I force myself to get out of bed. “It was just a dream.” The bathroom is only a few feet outside my door. My eyes burn as I turn on the light. I look in the mirror. A single tear glides down my cheek. I rub my eyes with my fists until they don’t sting anymore. My face is red, my hands are drenched in tears, and my whole body is sweating. I try to ignore it. I'm downstairs by 6:45 every morning. Being 5 minutes early is considered being late in my family. I’m still trying to convince myself that I’m fine as I walk down stairs. My dad’s in his office and my mom’s on the sofa drinking coffee while looking at her phone. Neither one of them notice me as I walk past, but I’m glad. I don’t feel like talking this morning. I walk into the kitchen to get some breakfast. My stomach feels like it’s in my throat, so I just grab an apple. I take a bite out of it as I walk over to the mud room and put on my shoes. My jeans are light wash and have little rips in the knees. My shirt is yellow, with a white line across the collar. I run across the room to get my backpack that's laying on the floor next to the coffee table. I fling it across my shoulders.
“Brynn, you ready?” I hear my dad yell from his office.
“Five more minutes!” I scream back. I pull my brown hair back into a high ponytail. “What am I forgetting?” I say to myself as I pace around the living room.
“Let’s go!” My dad yells as he walks outside to the car. I hear the door slam behind him. I roll my eyes and walk out after him. The October air is cold but refreshing. A gust of wind hits my face. I love this time of year. Trees are the most expressive in fall. Like they have a story to tell. A secret to share.
We arrive at school at 7:20. All I can think is that I don’t want to be here. My brain is swirling as a walk into the cold building. I only need to take a few steps before I can feel the air conditioning really kicking in. “I knew I forgot something!” I whisper to myself. I can see it now. My cape cod sweatshirt sitting on the sofa. A rub my arms with my hands in hopes of warming them up and making the goosebumps less prominent. Before school starts we all sit in the cafe, so I walk down the main stairwell and to the cafeteria. As I walk in, I see my table in the back of the room. The only people here already are a couple of seventh graders and some eighth graders sitting by the water fountains. I take a deep breath as I sit down in one of the chairs. I lay my head down on the cold table, letting the world go by. As I close my eyes, all I can see in the cloud going over my house. I open my eyes. I can feel them watering, so I put my hands over them. All I can hear is my heavy breathing. “Don’t cry. Get a hold of yourself.” I close my eyes again. I see my mom looking over me, her face blank and cold. “You’re such a baby, get over yourself.” A single tear glides down my cheek. “You’re fine, Brynn.” I look up to see my friend Sydney walking toward the table. I wipe my face and put on my best smile. “You’re fine.”
“Hey!” I say as she sits down. She turns to me and smiles.
“What happened to your face?”
“What?” I ask as I reach up my hand to touch my forehead.
“Your face. It's red.” She said.
“Oh.” I say, trying to laugh. “It's this um new moisturizer I got. Made my face look like a tomato.” She chuckles, and reaches for her backpack.
“Well take this,” She hands me a tube of concealer. “Let’s go to the bathroom.”
We walk up the stairwell to the girl’s bathroom. I turn to look into one of the mirrors. She’s right. My face is red. Thank god she didn't notice my puffy eyes. I grab the concealer, and dot it under my eyes. It stings a little bit as I blend it in.
“Okay, much better,” Sydney says. I laugh and smile, trying my best to seem grateful. Just then the bell rings. We rush back downstairs to get our backpacks from the cafeteria, and then we are off to home room. My homeroom is on the third floor, while Sydney’s is on the first. We wave goodbye as we go in opposite directions, the sea of middle schoolers quickly forming around us. As I walk up the stairs I try to keep my head high. “One more day, you can do one more day.”
All the lockers in this school are too close together. I reach my locker door and latch on to the lock to squeeze myself through the two other kids standing next to me. “Just another day.” After I get my books I walk to my home room. It’s silent, as usual. I sit in the back of the room, placing my binders on the desk in front of me. My teacher sits at the front of the room. Her eyes glued to her laptop. Everyone in their own world.
After school I walk home, my headphones blasting music all the way back. It's a short walk, maybe ten minutes. By the time I'm back it’s 3:40. The house is warm, comforting, and empty. I smile as I throw my bag onto the sofa and kick off my shoes. I had two hours until my parents got home. I ran upstairs to my room after grabbing my backpack. When I get to my room, I unzip my bag and throw all the books and binders on my bed. I won’t need them where I’m going. I fill my bag with as many clothes from my closet that I can grab. From the bathroom I get my hairbrush, some toothpaste, and my toothbrush. Next, I go back downstairs to my dad’s office. His savings jar is on his desk. I reach my hand in and pull out about 500 dollars. After putting the money in the front pocket of my bag, I go back to the mud room where the shoe rack is. I grab some sneakers and one of my mom’s raincoats. I put the coat on and swing my backpack over my shoulders. I finally walk to the front door. With shaking hands I turn the door knob. The cold air hits me as I walk outside. I take a few steps only to turn around and look back up at my house. I take one last look, as I turn my head and continue to walk down the front pathway. I just keep walking, the Massachusetts fog still hanging in the air.