Friday, April 29, 2011

Tales from Middle School-Part three

I heard the door slam, and my sister's voice.
 “Anybody home? Alli, where’re you?”   
“I’m showering” I yelled back, and turned the shower on.

When I got down to the living room, she was watching television.   
“Have you been on the phone all night?” She bristled at me and got up to look for food to prepare. "Do you want a  peanut butter sand?" She asked.
I hated that peanut butter  needed refrigeration, and hours of mixing to become pliable. I started to say something about that when she started with her complaints.
“I got a busy signal all night. Who did you talk to all that time?” She asked.
“I pulled the phone off the hook.” I said moving to  the kitchen to find a banana or something.
 “How did you get that?” She pointed at my forehead.
“It's Nothing! ”
“Does Mom know?”
“She wasn’t home when I got back.  Dad went looking for her.”
“Dad? Why did he come home?”
“Don’t know. But I would still be out on the porch if he hadn't come home tonight."
The day was a blur: the boy on the bus, on the trail, on the phone.   
“Where did you go this afternoon?” She had made two sandwiches and passed me one.
 I gave Wilson fresh water and a piece of my sandwich.
“I had a long day and I’m bushed.” I said, too tired to be interrogated. I gave the rest of the  sandwich to Wilson and “I am not feeling well” I said, suddenly tired and worried about what punishment I was going to get when Mom and Dad returned. I didn't want to face them.

The house felt unusually quiet.  I heard my sister  on the phone, for a while. Then, cars in the driveway, and Mom and Dad talking downstairs.
Within minutes, Mom was in my room.
“Alli, are you asleep? Where did you go this afternoon?”    
“I’m not feeling well.” I mumbled.
Dad peeked in, eating a yogurt.
I started, “I tried to get away…” Mother interrupted when she turned the light by my bed and saw my bruises.
“What happened? You’re all banged up.”  
I eyed Dad’s yogurt.
“Did you eat?” He said, offering me his food.  
“I can’t eat a thing.” I said, lying. If I put my arms out of the covers, Mom would see even more bruises.
Noises from the kitchen startled me.
“Someone’s in the house!” I yelled and jumped up.
“It’s Wilson. Did anybody feed him tonight?” Dad said, and went down before anybody answered. 
Mother had moved to the closet, checking the clothes in the hamper.
I could tell her about the phone calls and the rush to Jen’s house trying to get a ride to rehearsal.  I could  tell her that I let Wilson wander without a leash and I wasted a lot of time getting him back on the leash.   I could tell her about crawling in the bushes to find an open window. 

All I said was,” I’m sorry, Mom.  I shouldn’t have gone so long, ” and began to weep, slowly and quietly.

By then Dad had returned. “Alli has had a long day.  We’ll talk in the morning. Let’s go." He took Mom's arm and was going out, "  Alli, get a good night’s sleep.  See you in the morning” he said, turning the lights off.

They must have talked for hours down in the kitchen.

The next morning, mother came to wake me for school.
Instead of hurry up, you're late, the phrases she used, she said, “Alli.  You are going to stay home today.”
“I can’t.  I can’t be late!”
“There was a gang bust, and when I told the sheriff about this cholo boy we gave a ride to, he said he knew him.  He got a posse up to the foothills to look for you right away after I called home to see if you got back, and after a couple of calls, I called your Dad to see if he heard from you. The sheriff and I went looking for you at about six or so.  I figured you'd be home by then.  He was there, wasn’t he? We're going to talk to the sheriff first thing.”
“I have nothing to tell the sheriff.”
“Yes, you do. Alli, how did you get all those injuries?
“I’m really o.k., Mom.”
“Something happened!”  She said with a voice that meant don’t disagree with me.

(to be continued...)