One Friday, when the smell of green
still clung to my room
and Dad rang up
from the front door,
I buzzed him in, sat on the edge
of my bed and imagined
him in the elevator, checking his face
in the mirrored walls or combing his hair
as the car bumped upward.
Mom was in the kitchen, still in her work clothes,
her high-heeled shoes jack hammering
the floor as she banged cupboard doors,
wrenched open the fridge,
rattled bottles, and yelled Are you ready to go?
My backpack sat by my bedroom door
stuffed full of pajamas, socks,
a sweater, my sketchbook
but I couldn't answer.
My eyes were pressed shut.
If I concentrated
I could hear
at our floor,
Get that, will you?
Mom called from the kitchen
but I stayed anchored
to my bed.
A second knock,
so Mom answered.
to my bedroom door.
But they sounded like announcers
from the weather channel describing
volcanic eruptions and magma flows - tomorrow morning, waterslides
ice-skating later in the day
- as if they didn't really happen.
I slung my bag on my back
and slouched down the hall.
Illustration by Krista Mason
Read by Karen Hakkarainen