The rain hits the window
it shakes the roof above me
as I look out
on to the street
it is all quiet
A man with an umbrella
walks on the sidewalk underneath me
Each step feels purposeful
but none are quick nor eager
He simply walks in the rain
it is all quiet
In another room
my dog barks as thunder breaks overhead
The door to my sister’s room creaks
She wraps the dog up in a blanket
repeating calming words
it is all quiet
Someone yells at the rain
In my mind’s eye
I can see them
Twirling with arms stretched out
letting go of everything
but I am in my room
it is all quiet
The teacher stood out in the hall, watching as the students walked by. It had rained that day and the screeching of the shoes on the tile floor was almost unbearable. He watched as the students went to lockers, grabbed books, and headed to class. An odd thought struck him as he watched; no one looked happy. He laughed at his bizarre thought and headed into his room. The students all sat quietly in their seats as he entered. “Today’s lesson is on,” he paused as he turned to his students. They all sat still, watching him. The teacher moved three paces to a table against the wall. He looked back to his students and who were the same as before, the same as always. Something was bothering him, what was it? Maybe he was sick. Yes, that was it. It had to be. It was the only explanation for this feeling he was having. Something felt off, wrong, but nothing appeared to be. “Last class of the day.” he muttered to himself. He could get through it, whatever it was. He looked down at the cage sitting on the table, and remembered his previous train of thought. Out of the cage, he lightly pulled a baby bunny rabbit. He walked back to the center of the room. Gingerly, he held the tiny creature up for the class to see. his arms then brought the child closer to his chest and it snuggled against him for warmth. A hand scratched the bunny’s ears and made its way down to pet the neck. The man broke the rabbit’s neck in a second, quickly and without warning. He gazed to the class of motionless students.
I have never had a ton of friends. Okay, to be honest I have never had a friend, at least not in the sleepover, nail-painting kind of way. And that was fine, it wasn’t ideal, but no one understood me, or liked the same things I did. I grew up with acquaintances, a group of girls with whom I ate lunch with and would do school projects with. I never saw one girl by herself just to hang. Being by myself wasn’t lonely, it was normal, it was fine. Instead of going to the mall, I biked to the park just a block from my house. The forest continues a ways past the trail where very few people ever go, but if they did, eventually they would come to my tree. It stood between two evergreens which hid the upper part of the tree from view with their green spikes. There was a perfect branch to sit on hidden from the world. It was simple there. It was quiet. It was mine. One day I climbed up and saw a boy. I recognized Ben from my class. He sat there frozen in thought, he didn’t hear me approach next to him until I was there. We both just sat there, thinking. It became normal for me to see Ben there and sometimes we’d talk, but other times we just appreciated that the other was there. It was the first time I realized how lonely I really was. It was nice to have finally found someone to talk to, someone similar to me, and not to be concerned about anyone, because no one was coming. It was our spot to go if a test didn’t go right or someone ‘slipped’ and spilled milk on us. In our world we weren’t outsiders anymore. I saw him that Friday at the tree, he was tired and I was mad. We talked until I had to leave for dinner. It wasn’t until Monday that I heard the news, whispers of it in the halls; “He’s gone, they don’t know where. Ben just disappeared” “I heard he was doing something shady, like selling drugs at school or something” “Maybe Ben was kidnapped” There were all sorts of theories. The whispers were everywhere. After school I biked down to the park and walked to our tree. I don’t really know why, out of habit? Did I hope he would be there waiting for me or that I would find some clue as to where he was? Maybe I just wanted to go to my favorite place to think. The leaves had just begun to turn, brilliant shades of warm reds and oranges, the forest was from a postcard. Some leaves crunched under the tires of my bike as I walked it into the woods. I climbed for a bit before I noticed-the smell, it reeked worse than my brother’s favorite onion and garlic pizza. I looked up to grab the branch above and there he was. The shock caused me to fall off the tree.
Dear Katie, December 3, 2000
My mom’s convinced that this will all pass. She thinks it’s just a fight between friends. She thinks we’ll get over it. I don’t think so. I don’t think I can ever forgive you for what you’ve done. It’s been a month, Katie. I never knew so much could change in just a month. Or maybe nothing really changed, maybe this is just the first time I’ve noticed. How come none of this is affecting you? Why must I feel so sad about what happened? Why am I suffering for it? YOU did it, you did it all. It was you. Not me. I hope you to feel what I am feeling now, I hope you will understand the pain.
She listened as her aunts talked. What were they talking about? Nothing they said made any sense. 17…she was 17, and the closest thing they had to a daughter. But what did they mean by awaken? The girl woke up every day. And what was it she couldn’t remember? Was it her parents? What had really happened to them? The girl wrote the things she had over heard in a black journal. Then she went to the room at the other end of the hall and quietly closed the door. From inside her dresser she pulled out a tissue box. Carefully, she lifted the layer of tissues up and put her journal underneath, it would do as a hiding place for the time being.
“She’s 17 she should have remembered by now, at least there should be some sign”
“It’s just taking longer this time, that’s all”
“What if something is wrong?”
“So what if it is? She isn’t hurt and there aren’t any clues as to what could be causing this. We have no choice but to wait for something to happen.”
“We’ve been waiting her whole life for something to happen, I am tired of waiting for a shoe to drop, and what if it never does? What will happen the next time she awakens? Or will she ever awaken again at all?”
“Still, it changes nothing, there is nothing we can do.”
“We could try to do something”
“Like what? We’ve run every test and researched for years. We’re experts, this has never happened. We have to hope that nothing has happened.”
“She’s our daughter, we can’t just leave her!”
“We are not leaving her.”
“We might as well.”
“Don’t you ever say that.”
The two women stand talking in the room unaware they are being watched.
“Come along son” he called ready to start the morning
Out of the house comes my little brother, practically falling down from all the equipment. He’s tangled in the fishing line and the tackle box is balancing on the edge of his finger tips. His new fishing hat flops down into his brown eyes. Dad jogs over to help Jack, his fishing poles swishing side to side as he runs. He take my brother’s hand and swings him along to the car. The car rumbles up an old dirt road. I smile as the tears come to my eyes.
“It’s time for you to fish” he points to me as we sit in a wooden row boat. It’s so early the sun hasn’t graced us with her presence and we rely on the moon for light. He rows us out most of the way before giving me the oars. I row furiously trying to honor the task. Once we’re there, he takes out a worm and puts it on the hook. “Careful” he says as I attempt to cast out my line. The water is cool and still besides our boat in the water.
He does the same for my brother. In his brand new yellow rain boots and fishing hat. Jack smiles and claps. Suddenly the world disappears and all that is left is a father and his son. The world seems right for once. Just looking at a young boy full of honesty and hope, his father worn from the years but happy for this simple thing.
I leave to give them their quiet, though they never knew I was there. I focus on my mother. Still in a t-shirt and sweatpants sleeping. I go into her dreams. She welcomes me, has me put on an apron and get to work in the kitchen. She’s wearing her faded pink kiss the chef apron covered in flour, so I put on my bumble bee one. She hands me the bowl and a wooden spoon to stir, then laughingly shakes her head at my baking mess. Quickly her dream changes. She’s in one of Picasso’s paintings, one from his blue period. Looking around that’s all she can see, blue. I take her hand and pull her to the impressionists. She stands on a bridge completely unaware of her previous dreams. I leave her to her peace for the night and just go out walking.
The summer air seeps into my skin and welcomes me home. The green grass remembers my feet well as I run. I reach my tree and climb until I can’t anymore. I sit there, waiting, I don’t know for what, just waiting. The sun comes up and begins to warm the grass. I jump and glide down to the grass.
“It’s time” he faintly whispers.
“I know” I turn and walk away as the grass falls from my feet and I disappear.