Deep Whispers of Home

Risk Taker

“Dinner,” my mother yells.

I run to the kitchen approaching the biggest enemy my 3-year-old self could have. The 30-foot kitchen chair. Dark stained wood with legs as tall as the Empire State Building. I climb up, it’s easy for me, makes me feel strong. That wasn’t the issue at hand. As I sit eating the chicken nuggets I begged my mom to make the uneven legs of said chair begin to sway. I join the motion as I rock the chair side to side, forward and back, along a diagonal, every which way. 

“You’re going to fall,” my mother, the all-knowing and loving, was right.

As I tip back the chair for the fourth time that week, I cry before I even hit the ground. A loud clash startles my mother who runs over to me, comforting me even though she warned me of the danger.

The next day approaches and a lesson is left behind unlearned. Day after day, I would tip that chair, hit my head, and cry to anyone that would listen. My lesson wasn’t learned until we moved and the chair was no longer available. Our new house had counters, this time only 20 feet tall. I would climb to reach the above cupboard for a glass. I never fell, the past experience wasn’t for nothing. I keep taking the risk.

Nothing But Clouds

When I was younger, a text from my dad meant go outside and search for a response. He sends photos of clouds near him saying they are reminiscent of a dragon, dog, heart, or anything his imagination could think of. If my response wasn’t quick enough he would call me, tell me to go outside, and describe to him what I see in the pinkish-orange clouds from the sun we could both tell was setting even with miles between us. On darker days, beauty in the sky was still found in the images we told each other were there only for our eyes to share.

Not as often now, he’ll text me photos of clouds, but this time I don’t want to go outside. Too cold. Too dark. So I agree with his imagination in what shape the clouds are, even if in the photo, I see nothing but a dull, gray sky.

All Depends on Jump Rope

On the rare occasion that Tyler wasn’t at the extended school program (ESP) that day, I would join the girls for jump rope.

“Ice cream, soda pop, cherry on top. Who’s your boyfriend? I forgot.” 

I jump and jump and jump until the alphabet ends and those controlling the rope move on to numbers. I would always try to stop on eight because that was my favorite. I successfully stop and switch with my best friend, Taylor. Her turn.

“Ice cream, soda pop, cherry on top. Who’s your boyfriend? I forgot. Is it an a, b, c..?” So on and so forth. She trips up on the letter T. Her and Tyler, of course, were meant to be together. We giggle, this time not having to refer to him as pineapple or watermelon or some other obscure code name because he wasn’t around to hear that day.

Everybody has a go with lots of laughs in between before we head over to the tree growing against a chain fence that could probably cut someone with how torn up parts of it were. The tree was across the large, flat field and was where the girls gathered every day. Once again, four square was more my forte but Tyler wasn’t there that day, and neither was Aiden. We practice our handstands and cartwheels, even though only one of us did gymnastics. We put on performances. Sang our hearts out. Danced around like no teachers could see us. In our own world of whimsy and excitement for the ice cream truck that was coming the next day, I didn’t mind that Tyler and Aiden couldn’t make it that day.

I Understand

On the playground, up past the slide, along the unbalanced bridge, and through the monkey bars known to give calluses, the boys are teasing me again. Making fun of me, though not in a clever or serious way. I shouldn’t let it get to me because if they’re making fun of me it means they like me. It means they like like me.

“Boys don’t know how to tell you, sweetie. If he teases you it means he has a little crush.”

Are you sure mom because he teases me about my height and my ability and the fact that I’m a girl and I’ll never be as strong as him and I go home and he’s all I can think about? Oh, I guess it’s working. I guess I like him too.

Trying to Forget

I know he didn’t mean it and to be honest, I’m not sure it’s something I’ll remember about him. Hopefully, my mind is here to help, hopefully, she subconsciously forgets all that is not well enough to be remembered. Kaylin is older than I am. She’ll remember without a choice to forget. Across the house, my mom’s tears echo quietly. She makes a considerate effort not to allow our ears to hear her, it doesn’t work. Kaylin sits with me playing, pretending to not hear the front door slam outside my window. She gets up and walks over to our parent’s room. I follow, but I don’t think I’m supposed to. She sits down next to our strong mother who seems more broken than usual, I sit on the other side of her. I don’t understand why, but Kaylin begins to cry alongside our mother. I join them in a confusing attempt to fill the lonely space that a loud slam created.

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