Shades of reds, oranges, and yellows blinded me. I shot up in bed, my heavy breathing filled my bedroom. Darkness. I wasn’t near any explosions. My hands ran over my face and through my hair. Actual brown strands tangled in my fingers. Years of a closely shaven head I felt shaggy. Taking a deep breath, paused, and let it out slowly. I repeated that pattern until I was breathing regularly. Was I ever going to escape the nightmares?
Using my leg to kick off the sheets as I felt trapped suddenly. When the fabric was moved my heart sank. There it was, the sub where my one leg had once been. The true nightmare that was never going to end. Leaning forward my hand ran over the knob that had been my left leg. My fingers were shaking. The phantom nerves played tricks on me as I could almost feel the leg. My heart pounded against my chest once again. I yelled out as I grabbed my remote and threw it against the wall. I did what I was supposed to do, why did this happen to me?
Placing my freshly made copies in the plastic drawers behind my desk. A small smile grew on my face. I had my plans done for the first two weeks, copies done for the first, week and all my students’ desks were labeled with polka dotted name tags. The teacher across the hall popped into my doorframe. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt with the schools logo on the top.
I turned to see Mrs. Vanyi, the teacher across the hall. Her big purse was over one shoulder a large cup of coffee in the other hand.
“Good morning,” I grinned and fixed my college t-shirt.
“So, the masses start tomorrow. Are you excited?”
“I am, but also nervous.”
She laughed. “That’s normal.”
“I’d hope so,” I yawned.
“Yeah, I was working on the lessons last night.”
And texting my ex-boyfriend.
“Just don’t let the kids notice or they’ll pounce on you. Also try to remember we are all on a team, we share materials so don’t feel bad for using what we give you.”
I laughed. “I know.”
I fixed my headband and looked at the clock. Today was going to be a half work day then the rest of the day was ours. Tomorrow the students would be starting and the school year will begin.
“What do you have left to do?”
I spun slowly around my room then stopped at her.
“I feel like I’m forgetting something, but I think I’m ready.”
“Well, I’m working a few things paperwork wise in my room. If you need anything call out to me.”
She waved at me and I wandered back to my desk. I turned my music on a little louder. I grabbed my marker and started to write my student names on each agenda book to place on their desks. Smiling I hummed to the music and my phone vibrated. I looked up then over to my phone. I chewed the inside of my cheek. I opened up the text message from Sawyer.
Good morning. What you up to?
Just waking up still in bed
I glanced up at the clock, it was eleven thirty. I sipped some of my water.
How about you?
I totally told him last night that I was working. However, he didn’t have the best memory.
I’m at work but leaving in thirty minutes.
Great maybe we can hang after dinner tonight.
I smiled and I let out a sigh. I had to help cook dinner with my parents. He knew this.
That should be good, I can be ready around 7.
I looked up at the clock. It was time to go. Grabbing my phone and water I draped my purse over my shoulder. Getting up I turned my lights off, taking one last glance at my room before leaving. As I headed down the hall I peeked into Vanyi’s room. She was picking up her purse.
“See you tomorrow!”
She grinned at me. “See you tomorrow! Try to get one last good night’s rest.”
I laughed and made my way down the hall. Other teachers were starting to file out. I signed out in the office and said my goodbyes to the women in the office. As I walked out I felt the warm sun on my face. I grabbed my sunglasses out of the side pocket of my purse. I smiled. I could live in this warm weather forever. I was half tempted to look at schools in another state just to have the better weather. I couldn’t bring myself to leave everyone though.
There sat the white car that got me through high school and college. I loved that car. My friends in high school had a couple road trips. A stain in the backseat from one of the times I babysat one of my cousins. When I got the car I said I would drive it into the ground, and I was eating my words. I figured once I was able to save enough money to get into a place of my own the next thing I would worry about was a new car. I just had to make sure my car lived that long.
Turning it on it took a couple turns to get it to chug on then rolled down my windows. I had a forty minute ride home. After college I was happy I got a job less than an hour away from home. Especially hearing my friends that had already graduated before me were talking about how hard it was to get a job. As I backed out I watched my coworkers stroll out of the school building in clusters. I backed up and pulled out of the parking lot. My fingers rolled and tapped the steering wheel as I drove. At the light a song from high school came on. I smiled and turned it up. The light turned green and I hit the gas.
I started to belt out the words real loud. At the next light I made eye contact with the driver next to me. He raised an eyebrow at me before slowly turned to face forward. My cheeks warmed and turned the music down a couple of notches. When the light turned green the guy sped ahead and I was happy a few feet away I was able to veer right and got onto the highway. As I sped up to merge into the light traffic. With one hand on the wheel I used the other to roll up my windows as the high speeds created the waves of sounds vibrating my eardrums.
I weaved in and out of traffic as I was ready to go home. To enjoy the last bit of freedom before the school year started. Not that I wasn’t excited for my first year of teaching. Only two exists to go and I shifted in the seat. I sped up a little faster and nearly squealed as I turned to get off the highway. Getting off the ramp the town that I had lived in my whole life surrounded me. One light and a few turns then I would be in the neighborhood that I grew up in. The rest of the way was done in a blur. A couple of kids were running through a sprinkler at the front of the neighborhood.
Waving I drove by them. One of the women down the street passed me as she was walking her Golden Retriever, but the dog was pulling and I wondered who was really walking who. My parents’ house was at the end of the cul-de-sac. Their house was in the middle at the circle almost welcoming everyone as my mom’s flowers popped against the brick front of their house. Parking off to the side of the driveway I turned it off. I grabbed my bag and got out. Walking up the driveway the bright sun poked through the tall trees. As I made my way up the sidewalk, passing my mom’s purple and blue hydreas bushes.
My key was already in my hand and I turned the lock to make my way in. the house was quiet. I kicked my shoes off and nudged them off to the side with my foot. Then I climbed the stairs, skipping a few as I went up. Once I was in my room my smile dimmed. There stood my laundry basket, clothes were piled nearly a foot above the room. I was wearing the last clean pair of panties. If it wasn’t my last pair there might be one left. I guess my last day of freedom was going to be done with adulating…yay laundry.
I sighed and turned to look at my dresser. I grabbed my hair tie. I twisted my dark brown hair until I had a bun on the top of my head. My once loose dark brown hair was now in a tower, a few strands poked out. With any luck my hair would be in nice loose curls for when I went to hang out with Sawyer tonight. Glancing in the mirror I thought I’d maybe touch up my make up too before I left, well once a time was actually in stone. I took my phone out of my bag before dropping the bag on the ground. My whole face scrunched, still nothing from him.
Tipping over my laundry bin I started to sort all the materials. There were three piles, whites, colors, and darks. I couldn’t afford to turn my whites pink. My luck would be meeting a parent after dying my whites pink, what parent would that would be professional? Shaking my head I picked up one of the piles and carried it down the stairs. Using my elbow I flipped open the washing machine then dumped the materials into the deep drum. Pouring in the detergent and fabric softener I knew that it was going to be a lame ending of my freedom.
Once the start button was pushed I went back up to my room to wait to switch the loads. When I was back in my room I plopped down on my bed and picked up my phone. I played around online for a bit then got bored. Finally I clicked on Kensi’s text message on my phone.
I’m bored, entertain me.
Grabbing the remote I turned on the TV and started flipping the channels hoping that something would be on during the day. Over the summer I watched my fair share of daytime TV. It was also kind of scary how easily trapped I got with the shows, mindless, but amusing. My phone went off and I saw Kensi’s name lighting up my screen.
Isn’t that my line?
I smiled and slouched against my headboard. I paused for a second and my fingertips started to tap on the screen keyboard.
How does it feel?
You don’t have my flair
I snickered. I didn’t and I wish I had.
Worth a shot. What are you up to?
Ready to pull out my hair, apartment shopping. Rent is crazy, I’m about to ask if they want some blood when we sign
I literally laughed out loud. The poor person showing her apartments.
You still want to rent then?
I’m starting to see why Reed suggested on buying a house…
I raised an eyebrow.
You want to buy a house now?
I didn’t say that and you’re not getting me to say that in writing
Smirking my stomach still dropped. Then I looked around my room. It had a couple posters of countries that I wanted to visit. There was Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Big Ben, Tagma hall, and castles in Scotland in addition to Germany. My sheets and curtains were still a lavender color that I picked when I was twelve. She was ready to move out with her boyfriend.
My luck would be he see that I texted you about a house and go buy one behind my back then hide a ring in there.
I chuckled when she responded to herself.
Would that be a bad thing?
That’s a lot all at once, I want to make sure we can travel together first without me shoving his corpse in a hotel garbage shoot
There’s something wrong with you if that’s where your mind goes
There’s a whole lot wrong with me, where do you want to start?
The washing machine dinged. Groaning I took my time getting up and rolled out of bed. Picking up the next pile I had to bend back down to grab a panty that had dropped. I could not wait to get my own place. Once in the laundry room I dropped the clothes in my arms onto the ground. Then I put the clothes into the dryer that were in the washing machine. After that I put the clothes into the washing machine. The rest of the afternoon I finished up the laundry then started dinner. My mom left out some easy chicken dish recipe that she had gotten from the neighbor and wanted to try.
I put everything together and had it in a pan in the oven when my dad came home first. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop open. He had his computer bag draped over his shoulder. His glasses were perched on his nose. His once dark hair was starting to be sprinkled with salt. He turned around to face me as he came in through the garage.
“Hey, how was your day?” he asked as he placed his bag in the doorway of the kitchen.
He placed his hand on the wall as he kicked off his shoes into the living room.
“Good, I think I got everything ready for the first week.”
He nodded and walked over to the oven. He opened the door then closed it again. He wandered around the kitchen until he had a can of soda and sat at the table with me.
“It feels like not that long ago you were coming home from school and doing your homework at this very table. Now you’ll be the one assigning the homework.”
I smiled. “I know, it’s a little surreal. However, I can’t wait to meet the students that I’ll be working with for this year.”
He took a sip of his drink and put it down. The tier for dinner went off. He got up and pulled the pan out. That was when mom walked through the garage door. Her hair was tied back in a bun, a pencil was sticking out of the side of it.
“I have great timing,” she giggled.
She dumped her pile of papers onto the counter. The papers topped over and spread across the stone top. She pecked my dad on the cheek and went around him to grabbed four plates. I raised an eyebrow at her.
“Mom, we only need three.”
She looked down at the ceramic plates in her grasp. She shook her head.
“That’s right. A week later and I’m still grabbing a plate for your sister.”
“She’s only at school, she’s will come back.”
My mom put one plate back. Dad took the plates from her and dished out the food. I put my laptop on the counter and took a plate from them. The three of us sat at the table and started to eat.
“I hope that she is having a good dinner.”
I raised an eyebrow at her. “Audrey is at college, not in the slums.”
My mom huffed. I resisted from rolling my eyes.
“I just hope she’s eating a well-rounded meal.”
“She tried eating ice cream for dinner while she lived here, I can only imagine what she’s doing when you’re not around.”
My mom narrowed her eyes. “That’s exactly what I’m afraid of.”
I took another bite of food.
“What’s your plan for tonight?” my dad questioned.
I shrugged. “Finish my laundry and take it from there. After all tomorrow is the first day of school.”
The rest of dinner was pretty quiet. Mom talked about her day at the office. Dad talked a little about the finance meeting he had after lunch. I finished and went upstairs to finish folding my laundry. Everything was folded and put away. The clock kept going on, but I didn’t get a text from Sawyer. I kept clicking my phone to see if I made a mistake and missed it. Finally it was time for bed. I sighed and crawled into bed. I guess he got caught up with something and couldn’t hangout after all. I pulled the sheets back and got comfortable. Tomorrow was going to be a brand new day.
My nerves were fully alert and my heart was pounding. I was pretty sure even though I put deodorant on when I left the house I needed to reapply. I took a deep breath. As I let it out slowly I shook my hands. My eyes scanned the room. I had everything done. I knew I was ready for these kids. The bell rang and I went to stand by my door. The hall was still empty. Then it started to fill up with elementary age students getting off the bus. Kids started to go into the other fourth grade classrooms. I felt like a kid again waiting to get picked for a team in gym.
Finally a little boy who was gripping the straps of his blue book bag walked up to me. He had dirty blond hair, olive skin, and dark eyes.
“Good morning,” I greeted him.
“If you say so.”
He went passed me and towards the room. His eyes went from desk to desk before he settled on one closer to the window. He unpacked his stuff, and put his bag into his cubie. More students started to file in. I shook each one hands. They all smiled at me. My eyes kept going back to the one on the other side of the room with his back turned to me.