Loneliness This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I have always wanted to be one of those kids whose parents worked, who got to go home and be by themselves, who got to make themselves a snack without an adult peering over their shoulder. In school, I hear kids take out their keys, the jangling and ringing filling my ears. I see them get off the bus and let themselves into their house. I want to be like that.

Every day when I get home from school, my mom is outside waiting. She greets the bus, a huge grin on her face lighting up the cloudy sky. I’d ask her, bug her, about when she’d get another job. “Matt and I are old enough to take care of ourselves,” I tried to convince her. And finally, it worked. Not because of me, but because she finally found something that she wanted to do.

Today is the first day I get to go home without her being there. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. I take that first step off the bus and walk up the driveway, a walk that seems to take a lifetime. I walk into the garage, savoring the tangible aloneness that I feel in the thick, heavy air. I unlock the door and to my own surprise, find myself straining to hear that familiar voice calling, welcoming me to the home that always smells like freshly-baked bread. Now, I don’t smell that. The air seems empty.

Shaking my head, I walk in and busy myself with getting a snack. When I finally sit down to eat, I feel a burst of solitude eating away at my insides, and I suddenly feel guilty for pushing my mom to get a job, because truthfully, it’s lonely here by myself, sitting at the counter in the empty kitchen, without the smell of bread wafting around me. I realize now that that is my mom, and that she keeps me from being lonely. I only wish I realized it sooner.

Inspired by Sandra Cisneros’ “A Rice Sandwich” from The House on Mango Street.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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