January 23, 2009

A Rude Awakening


Lucy: At first I think the banging is part of my dream. In it, I'm on the American Idol stage for some reason, about to read one of my short stories to Randy, Paula and Simon. I'm wearing the pair of ratty old Strawberry Shortcake pajamas I loved when I was five, and big lipstick-pink high heels. My heart is knocking in my chest. But right when I’m about to take the microphone from Ryan Seacrest:


“Mooooooom, someone’s at the door!” I groan, grabbing my feather pillow out from behind my head and pulling it over my face.

The loud, continuous knocking finally stops. Thank goodness!, I think, putting the pillow back behind my head and pulling my white cotton blanket up to my chin. The hot Florida sun is already creeping around the corners of the thick white window shades, casting a rusty ribbon of light across the wall. I sigh deeply, snuggling back down into the cool blankets. Then suddenly --



Reluctantly, I pry open my left eye and push a few stands of my tangled straw-colored hair off my sweaty forehead. My mom, who was clearly not planning on answering the door, had also clearly forgotten to turn on the air conditioner – again.

As my blurry eyes finally begin to focus, I strain to make out the glowing green numbers of the digital clock on my nightstand. Oh no it’s not. It is NOT seven-thirty in the morning on a Saturday. With a huge sigh that I hope my mom can hear from wherever she is hiding in the house, I fling the blankets off my legs and plant my feet on the bare wood floor with a loud thud.

“Coming, coming, coming!”

I make my way down the hall, trying to rub the fog from my eyes. The rest of the house is still in shadows. Dust particles float motionless in the hot air as I stumble my way to the front door. The bathroom ceiling fan whirs softly, and Rufus, our old yellow lab, lays curled up on the cool tile floor near the shower.

Whoever is knocking certainly is persistent – the front screen door is rattling on its hinges with every rap. “Mom?” I call out again into the stillness, softer this time. No answer. The house seemed deserted.

I quietly open the front door and peer out through a tiny slit between the door and its frame.


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