My mother handed it to me. It was cold and hard. She said I had to keep this with me at all times for a just-in-case scenario. One very long night in August, proved it was a sign I was mature enough to have it and it also proved its symbolic weight. After a very long, but fun night, I was able to not only able stay out til 2am, but I also knew that it would be quiet inside, a nice change from spending the day outside and in a crowd. After everything that happened today I would need the quiet time to myself.
It was August 11th, 2017. I spent the morning quietly dreading the evening that was laid out before me. I was second guessing my judgement, because I had gotten myself into something that I wouldn’t be able to get out of until it was over. As the hours dragged closer to 5 o'clock, the feeling encroached upon me. It was a feeling of apprehension, sinking deeper and deeper in my stomach, making itself feel more at home. The anxious feeling wasn't passing either. It was the feeling of regret mixed with unsettling anxiety.
I had spent the night before talking to my friend Sam on the phone. He told me he had feeling for me, and at the time, I thought I felt the same way about him, but looking back now, I know I didn't. I invited him to go the County Fair with a few more of my friends. He came just to be nice. In reality, Sam does not like crowds, in fact he hates them. Sam also does not like socializing very often, so when he showed up, I was surprised. When we arrived at the fair, it was 82 degrees and sunny. The delightfully warm sun shined through the ferris wheel and the smell of the deep fried food overtook me.The dust on the ground stirred every time someone planted the heel of their cowboy boots in it. It was the feeling of summer that only comes once a year and only for a single week in August. It was a feeling of comfort and nostalgia. I looked a little past the ferris wheel and I saw Sam. I was immediately filled with regret. I knew I shouldn't have invited him, and I wouldn't have if I knew he was going to have a panic attack and become very obsessive.
After the fair, Sam’s mom picked him up and took him home. My other friends and I went out to a local IHOP. We were there til about 1am, a good 3 hours past my curfew. We walked back out to the car and ventured our way back home. In the grey Honda Accord, I made myself comfortable. I took off my shoes and relaxed. I arrived home around 2am. When I pulled into the driveway, I bid my friends goodbye. With shoes in hand, I slowly and gently step onto the cold and hard pavement as I hear the car pull away. I take a deep breath and the vague scent of the burning autumn leaves makes its presence. I look around and I see old maple colored patio furniture. They no longer have cushions on them because we took them off in fear of it raining tonight, but it didn’t. I look up through the old and creaky pergola and I see the glistening stars in the deep night sky. I can feel the cold wind blowing my curly brown hair across my face and sending a shiver down my spine. Everything is still, the only sound is the wind blowing the leaves on the bare branches and knocking them onto the cold cement where the dried out leaves glaze over my bare feet. I take a step towards the sun faded fence. I brush my hand against it, slow enough to feel “1999” carved into the wood.
Responsibility. The key to responsibility is in fact, a literal key, or at least that's what I was told when the key to my back door was bestowed upon me. Not only was this key given to me to help me get inside my house, but it represented so much more. This key meant responsibility and comforting safety. Responsibility for the obvious reason of, if I ever were to lose this key, I would be locked out of my house, which is not a very responsible thing to do in the first place. On the other hand, comfort and safety are not so obvious. The tangerine orange, and very worn down key, unlocks a sanctuary, after a long and hard day. It is the nervous jingle in my hand as old boyfriends walk me to my back porch. The key is a transition from a cold winter day to my warm and cozy kitchen. It is the shift from the end of an unexpected late night out with friends to a good night’s rest. The key unlocks memories of late night talks under the glittering summer stars on the back porch. The key opens the door to the scent of fresh laundry in the dryer and a warm welcome that greets you as you cross the wooden threshold.
This key was now transitioning my night from unnerving yet fun, to calming and relaxed. As I inserted the key into the lock, I turn it clockwise and I can feel the click of the unlocking. I slowly open the door and pull myself up the step. I am now home and realizing now that I feel safe. I summon the energy to walk to my living room to find my mother sitting there. My mother has a dark brown hair, almost black. Its short, straight, and coated in hairspray, always. There is never a hair out of place. Her makeup is neat and clean, just like her personality. Her lips are a mauve color, her favorite. Her eyes are a pale green that I have never seen in anyone else's eyes but hers. Her skin is fair and beautiful. She is not much taller than me, maybe 3 or 4 inches. Her posture is as straight as an arrow. She has an eye for things that glitter, and she is organized and strict, but loving.
She greets me and asks how my night was. I explain that it was alarmingly interesting, but I still had fun. I then explain why I'm home 4 hours past my curfew. My mom understood and I was off to bed. I sluggishly walk myself to my bedroom. I fall on top of my favorite bright orange blanket. I drift into a deep sleep, and after a night like that, I needed it.