a gun behind a keyhole

By , costa rica, Costa Rica
I closed the door behind me and took a deep breath. The truth is I was a little scared. I'm visiting my mother for the first time today. She has been in jail for the past 12 years and just got out last year, so I’m nervous; Very nervous actually. If you talk to me about criminals, I can only imagine big, fat, ugly guys with bloody red eyes, yellow teeth, and greasy hair, and always holding some drug in their hand. Was my mom really one of those people? Would I open her door and see something that looked more like a zombie than human being. I feel my phone vibrate in my in my bag as I wait for the traffic light to turn green for me to walk across the street. I look at the phone already half knowing from whom it came and what it said. I read the text and gave a little smile. Ha! I know you so well! I said to myself thinking about my best friend Alana. She has told me this advice about ten million times now. She was the only one that knows what I’m about to do and was supporting me the entire time. The first time I told her that I was going to visit my mother and how I felt about it, our conversation went sort of like this: “Relax! It’s just your mother, it’s not like you’re gonna see some criminal playing chess with a terrorist!” she said and giggled to herself. Then I looked at her seriously and her smile almost immediately shrinked as her eyes grew wide. “What?” she asked. “What’s wrong?” and I told her. I told her everything my dad has told me to keep a secret. It just poured out of me between tears and failing intents to smile and breathe and I couldn’t stop it. After that there was just awkward silence until my dad called to tell me to come home. Ever since then, Alana has told me the same phrase over and over and over again. “Relax it’s just your mother, and she loves you” and these exact words were the ones that were now written across my cellphone’s screen. She tried to calm me down many, many times, but honestly, I think it didn’t really work. I mean, how would you feel if the person who is supposed to love you, supposed to be there for you, supposed to care for you, betrays you, leaves you behind and then says that it wasn’t even their fault? If you ask me, I feel betrayed.
I shoved my phone back into my bag and I realized I walked the entire way without noticing. I looked at the crumpled up paper in my hand where the house number was written on. OK! I say to myself. This is it! I walk past two more buildings trying not to think about the mixed feelings of excitements, terror, sadness, and humiliation I had.
I bent to the right and walked up the three steps leading up to my Mom’s front door. I knew exactly what I was going to say, I have repeated it over and over in my mind. I knocked on the door, but nothing happened. A little later, I knocked again. I started to wonder if she was there or if I should just leave. “NO!” I determined. I wouldn’t leave without having seen my mother; this might be an ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for me! I knocked once more and waited one minute, two minutes, five minutes, eight minutes, and just as I was about to leave, the door opened. I was shocked, this woman in front of me did not look at all like a criminal, and maybe she was right that she wasn’t one. I closed my hand into a fist just to reassure myself that this is real and I said in a loud, firm, and non-enthusiastic voice: “Hello! I am Amy, your daughter!” My mother’s reaction was not at all what I expected it to be. It all happened so quickly that I just stood there, dazed: The door banged shut very quickly, there was a loud shriek, I pressed my ear against the door and looked through the keyhole and saw her sobbing and pointing a small handgun towards the door.





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