It was really hot in the morning. The kind of hot where the sun was hard to look at as it just blinded my eyes. The sunlight on my skin felt burning. I wanted to cover up but then it was also very warm and I didn’t like icky feeling of clothing clinging to me because I was sweating in places I didn’t even know could sweat.
It was just plain horrible.
I even smelled horrible. I just longed to go home, take a shower, and chug down cold drink after cold drink. But I couldn’t do that right now. A job was a job. I had to do it, even if I didn’t want to.
I look up and wipe the sweat dripping to my eyes. I see Mr. B on his patio, lounging on a chair by the shade, shirtless, just sipping on his beer, watching something on his phone. He looked so relaxed. His big belly jiggled every time he laughed.
I kind of want to resent him just for looking so at ease and carefree while I’m here suffering under the heat of the sun. He pays me though for getting the weeds out of his yard and raking any leaves and all other things littering it. And as they say, don’t bite the hand that gives you money, or so I think, as I might be remembering it wrong and that there was something about a horse there. The sun was making me a bit woozy. It doesn’t matter. The point is, he pays me and I should be grateful for it. That was all.
Besides, Mrs. B was kind. She often gave me sandwiches and even a chocolate bar one time. It wasn’t all that bad, maybe except for the heat.
I usually work the whole day to weed out all the weeds and rake the yard, but today Mr. B calls me over and says he has to go to downtown for an appointment. No one else will be home so he dismisses me and gives me the day’s pay.
With nothing else to do, I decide to just go home. I pass by the old bookstore and decide to stop by. I just plan to browse, or if I’m lucky, find a cheap comic book I like and can buy to add to my meager collection. They sell mostly second hand books and they’re really cheap. The owner has known me since I was a baby. He just lets me read all I want. I could sometimes spend hours there.
I am so engrossed in a volume I found that I forgot that I haven’t eaten yet. My stomach decided to loudly remind me of my missed lunch. It makes me lose focus on what I was reading and makes me come back to the real world. That’s when I notice the weather.
What was a once clear sky was now filled with gray angry clouds. Lightning strikes in the distance. It starts to pour. I have no choice but to stay for a few more hours, not that I mind.
Finally after about an hour it starts to let up. I decide to head home right now in case it starts to get heavy again. It’s just a light drizzle at the moment. So with the comic book issue, which I bought while waiting for the rain to stop, under my shirt, I set out.
I pass by puddles on the way, while walking around them I almost slip into one of them, just narrowly missed plunging my foot into the muddy water. Some birds are huddled in groups of two or three on the street electric wires. Their cheeps and chirps can faintly be heard from below. It was starting to slightly get dark. The sun was setting. A few frogs were croaking, starting their own little bass choir.
The light isn’t on yet at home. Some of my anxiety lets up. I hope no one is home. I turn the key and slowly open the door. It’s quiet. No TV running in the background, no dishes clinking in the kitchen, no crying, just silence. But just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean there is no one home. Still, it gives me a false sense of security. I take out the comic issue under my shirt where it thankfully remained dry.
I pass by my mom in the kitchen. I quickly hide the comic behind my back before she notices. She just sat there in the darkness, staring blankly, her form silhouetted by the setting sun shining through the kitchen window. I step on one of the creaky floor boards and she turns to me.
“How was it?” she asks.
“It was fine.” I answer
She extends her hand. I hand her all the money I had.
“Is this all?” she asks after counting it. “Did you buy something?”
I had no choice but to show her the comic book.
She just gives me a broken smile and says, “Hide it well.”
I ran up the stairs to my room and lock the door. Prying a floorboard underneath my bed loose, I take out the box containing the few comic books I collected through the years and add the one I just bought to the little pile. I return the box to its hiding place and change out of my clothes. I was exhausted. I just flopped on the bed and didn’t even notice when I fell asleep.
Next thing I knew, I was woken up by screaming. He was here. He’s home now. My nightmare has started. The sky outside was already pitch black. My stomach growls, warning me that I needed to eat soon.
I listen to the noises downstairs. The screams were getting louder. I wanted to go down and eat dinner, but I think that wouldn’t be happening as the commotion downstairs didn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. I rummage through my secret snack stash underneath my bed and take out half of an energy bar which was wrapped in plastic wrap. I ate the other half two nights ago. I guess this would have to do right now.
As the sounds of glass breaking and skin hitting on skin joined the sounds or screaming and crying, I feel the walls around me closing in. I double check if the door to my room is locked and put a stool in front of it just to ease my mind.
I feel inside my bag for my earphones which only had one bud working. I try to block the sounds with music. Taking the box of comic books out of its hiding spot, I take out my latest find and I just let it take me to a place far better than the one I’m in. I let my mind immerse myself in a world in a world where good always triumphs and that some superhero always saves the day. I escape to a world where I know someone will always come to the rescue and save me.
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I enjoyed this - until I realized the gravity of the whole situation. Then, I felt sorry for the poor person trying to avoid the violence inside the home. My only criticism is that sometimes you jumped between present and past tense, so that's something to work on for the future. Still a very good story.
Thank you. Yes sometimes I don't notice that I do it. I will keep that in mind.