Tap. Tap. Tap. “Dad!”
“Not right now, son.” Shrugs his shoulders to avoid his son’s patting hands.
A few seconds later…Tap. Tap. Tap. “Please, Dad!”
“Son, I’m busy. Not right now.” Turns his chair away.
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Come on, Dad, I have to ask you something!”
“Ask me later. I’m busy. Go play or read a book.” Rolls his chair closer to his desk.
Sadly trails off with a downcast face. Mutters to himself under his breath. Why is Dad always so busy? I just have to ask him a question. Dad doesn’t love me. Dad doesn’t care.
I wonder where Mom is…
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Mom!”
“Honey, I’m busy right now.” Gently pushes away her son’s hands.
“Please Mom!” Tap. Tap. Tap. “I have a question!”
“Sweetie, I told you I’m busy. Why don’t you go ask your father?” Turns to face her son.
“I tried. He told me to go away because he was busy.”
“Well, I’m busy too, honey. Please wait a few minutes while I finish this. Then you can come back and ask me, okay?” Turns her chair away back to her computer.
“Okay.” Signs. Dejectedly walks away. How come Mom has to be busy too? I just want to ask her a question. Mom doesn’t love me. Mom doesn’t care.
I wonder where Justin is…
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Justin!”
“Go away!” Frantically hits away his little brother’s patting hands.
“Justin, I need you now!” Tap. Tap. Tap.
“Hey, stop! I’m busy!” Roughly pushes him away.
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Justin, please!”
“Aw, shucks! Hey, you just made me lose this level! Leave me alone! I’m trying to beat my current high score, and you just made me lose!” Turns to yell at his brother.
His lips quiver. Unshed tears sparkle in his eyes. Fearfully, he runs out of the room. Justin is so mean. I just wanted to ask him a question! He didn’t have to yell at me like that.
I wonder where Sarah is…
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Sarah?”
“Go away, Tommy!” Whispers fiercely.
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Sarah, please, I need you!”
“I’m on a very important phone call, Tommy! You’re being very disrespectful!” Whispers fiercely again.
“No! Go away!” Whispers even more fiercely before turning back to her cell phone.
“Fine!” Frustrated stomps out the door. Slams the door behind him.
“Hey, quiet out there!”
“Serves you right!” Sneers at the closed door. She doesn’t have to be so snippy about this. Why can’t a sister help her younger brother? Isn’t that her job? I should report her to Mom. Oh wait, Mom is busy. And I still need help.
I wonder where Grandma is…
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Grandma?”
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Grandma?”
Tap. Tap. Tap. “Grandma, are you awake?”
Mumbles in her sleep. Turns her head away.
“Oh, all right.” Sighs. Walks away. That didn’t work. Why is she asleep anyway? It’s not even nighttime. I thought she came to visit us, not to sleep all day. Oh well. She probably couldn’t have helped me anyway. Let’s see, who’s left?
I wonder where Lucy is…
Pound. Pound. Pound. “Lucy?”
Pound. Pound. Pound. “Lucy!”
Creak. Creak. Creak. Slowly pushes open door. “Lucy?” Timid whisper.
Silence. Hmm, I guess she’s not here. Oh right, she went out to see her friends. Ooh, now I can sneak around her room since she’s not here. He he he. What’s this? Ooh, her boyfriend? Imitates kissing noises. Ew, gross! Sets framed picture back on desk. I wonder if she has what I need here? Searches through papers on desk. Old math test. Nope. Partially written story. Nope. Measurements of…I wonder what? Anyway, still not what I need. Half-finished crossword puzzle. Stub of a pencil. Coupons for ice cream. Ooh, yum! I wonder if she’d notice if I “borrowed” these… Stop. Focus. I still don’t have what I need. Looks like I won’t be getting any help here.
I wonder where Scruffy is…
“Scruffy? Come here, boy!”
“Come on! Come here, boy!”
Fluffy white ball of fur barrels towards him.
“Hey, boy! Where have you been? I’ve missed you!”
Slobbering, wet kisses. Panting tongue.
“Scruffy, I’m mad. No one in this family will help me. I asked Dad, Mom, Justin, Sarah, Grandma, and Lucy. And no one listened! Well, Grandma was asleep and Lucy isn’t here, so I guess they don’t really count, but still! I hate being the youngest! Everyone thinks their work is SO much more important than mine! Why can’t I have a say in things? Why won’t they listen to me? I’ll show them. I don’t need them. If no one will help me, then I’ll just do it myself. I don’t need my family to help me. I can figure it out on my own. Isn’t that right, Scruffy?”
Pounding on the computer keys. Frustrated grunting. “Ugh! Why is this so hard?”
Repeated process. More random pounding. Frustrated yelling. “Come on! Why won’t this work?”
Stomping around room. Growling. More random pounding. “Come ON! Why can’t I do this?”
Defeated sigh. “Scruffy, I can’t do this. I guess I really do need my family’s help. And none of them will help me. I suppose I’m doomed to the life of a nobody. Nobody in this family even cares. I wonder if any of them would notice if I just left. But then I’d be alone. I don’t want to be alone. But right now all I am is alone. Oh, Scruffy!” Tears run down his cheeks. Burrows his face in Scruffy’s fluffy coat of fur. Heart wrenching sobs. Loneliness. Dejection. Abandonment. Sadness.
“Tommy, are you okay, honey?”
“Tommy, I’m ready to help you now.”
“I don’t want you.”
“You said you had a question for me. What was it?”
Hesitation. He lifts his head. A tear-streaked face.
“Mommy, will you please type the password into the computer for me?”
Gentle smile. “Of course I will, honey.”