I take that last, steep step off the annoying, yellow bus. As I walk along the worn road, I realize that this is what I’ve been looking forward to all day; to return home and just relax after a long day of school. Continuing to put one foot in front of the other, I begin to turn the corner where I see my house sitting at the end of the road. With my freedom so near, I begin to hasten my steps and start to open the smallest pouch of my Vera Bradley backpack. Inside lies the most important object in getting me out of this fall weather and inside to greet my kitten, Chub. I manage to push my various lotions and hand sanitizers out of the way to grab a black and white lanyard. It is nothing fancy, with a simply bold font on it that read “Greenhills Pool”. It was what is was attached to, however, that is truly what I carry. As I pull it out, a small silver key emerges, making tiny clicking sounds as it bounces with my step. Clink, clink, clink until I reach the pastel green door that stands between me and relaxation station. However, there was a time when I thought this precious object was of no importance to me.
It all started during the beginning of sixth grade. It was the first year that I was expected to be able to take care of myself. I was now responsible for getting myself inside the house after being dropped off by the bus. After always having someone to fall back on, I was now my only resource. Well, me and the key my parents had given me. Honestly, it was quite a forgettable key. It was flat with a metallic coat. The outer sides had an asymmetric rigidness. It had looked naked at the time, for in the middle was a trapezoid shape where any sort of lanyard was supposed to latch onto. Almost immediately, I had dug through an old bag to find a free lanyard I was given over the summer. It didn’t hold any sentimental value, I just liked how professional and grown up it felt to be able to swing a miniature key around. It was weird how after I put the lanyard on, it somehow felt more mine. Before, it looked like it could’ve been anyone’s. Any sort of key that could open any box you could think of. I was as if putting the lanyard on it had claimed it was mine. It made it unique from a key that could open a jewelry box, a garage door, or even a shed. Now, it had been made only to open the door of my front house.
Now, I was fully equipped for the first day of junior high. I hadn’t ridden the bus since I was five. It was a lot cooler then than what it amounted to now. The bus was mostly composed of high schoolers in the back, laughing with their friends about how ready they are to leave. Then, the lower classmen who busied themselves on their new iPhones. Then it was the junior high kids at the very front. It was almost as if the bus leaked of inconveniences. The aisle was just small enough to walk through, but also for your book bag to get stuck between. After finding a seat, I would plunk down, causing all the air to sigh out of the bag that covered the frame. In a time before having my own phone, I was forced to see the scenic view of cookie cutter neighborhoods pass by on my home. Kids a year older than me had constantly been throwing paper balls, trash, and water bottles into the plastic green seat next to them. It was during this twenty minutes of chaos that I wanted nothing more than to already be home. Their tricks continued and eventually it would be my stop. I couldn’t wait to procrastinate my homework and possibly take a nap.
I had forgone the routine many times; get off the bus, walk home, go inside and do whatever. It was a pretty straightforward list. However, I was a bit naive and forgetful, a dangerous combination. This is because I didn’t always remember to put my key back in my bag. In the beginning, I would just search my house for it in the morning and be rushed out the door. Not very efficient but still effective. Until one day, when I had reached my house after school and pulled open my bag, but the key was nowhere to be found. All I could do was stare back at the green guardian of the house that could not allow my entrance. My backpack remain opened after savagely searching for my savior. It didn’t matter; it could not and would not be found. It was then I looked to the front window and saw my little feline. Chub is your stereotypical cat. He was like a moody teeneger, he either loved you or hated you. Usually when I came home, he loved me because he was so lonely and was awaiting his afternoon snack. I remember seeing his light brown eyes and long white whiskers emerge from the behind the curtains in the window. It would have looked really cute if I wasn’t super frustrated seeing him inside and me out, both wanting to be on the other side. His brown and white fur pressed against the window pane, as if saying this was all my fault and that I should stay there. He struggled to stay on the window however, his legs couldn’t seem to support his overbearing fat. We had named him Chub for a reason.
Starting to note the kick of adrenaline in my veins, I began to pace around my house, scouring a way in. The garage was like a huge moat door, it was impossible get into unless you had another, smaller key. The next best place of entrance would be my back porch. It was primarily used in the summer because it provided shade and all of the windows were made of screen. Against the white wooden walls, the windows let in a cool breeze, perfect for the early mornings of summer. This did not stop the bugs, however, who tried to make it their home on the winter. Because of this, I stepped inside with caution, refusing to let an army of spiders take me out. Luckily, nothing covered the light blue carpet as I stepped through the glass door. Triumphant, I had walked to the weather proof door that kept the cold from entering our house. I gave the golden handle a quick tug, but the door remain shut. It was then I remembered that I needed the same key to the front door needed in order to get in. Even though it didn’t provide me entrance into my home, at least I didn’t have to worry about squirrels trying to make a new nest in my bookbag. I staggered into my backyard, looking for anyway I could ninja myself inside. Four windows had dressed the brick wall of my house. One was for the kitchen, the bathroom, my sister’s room, and then my room. They were all about four feet off the ground, with me being around shoulder height with them at the time. All the windows had been closed, however I remember that I had opened my window last night. This means that it should still be unlocked. I approached the windowsill, trying my best to not crush the patch of white flowers beneath my feet.
I pressed my hand against the the glass window, with my hand sticking to it, I had managed to break into my own house! Well, the easy part of it anyway. I still had to pull myself up to squirm through the window. After a not-so-graceful landing, I was finally inside! I had only wasted a portion of the free hour I had home alone, so I considered my breaking and entering endeavor a success. However, I did dawn on me how bad it would have been to be locked outside for an hour. It would be embarrassing to have to wait for some to open the garage door, not to mention how painful it would be if I had to go to the bathroom. It took this situation for me to truly see how I had to become more responsible. If I kept forgetting these essential things, I would be left out. Refusal to this change would only leave me to face its consequences, something worse than boredom. If I said that was the last time I forgot my key, I’d be lying. However, this was the start of how I make sure to carry a key with me wherever I go, making sure I’m responsible and independent enough to get myself where I need to be.