This is actually a rewritten veriosu of my story "Summer's Day Events". I wrote that one in Grade 9, when I was a little freshman and now in Grade 13, 5 years later, I needed to hand in another creative writing story for Writer's Craft. I thought I would see how much I've improved.
Warming the Heart
I was bored. As in bored enough to wish I had a summer job. Bored enough that I wouldn't mind doing English homework. And almost bored enough to entertain my little brother, Jake. Almost.
It was sweltering today, a record high, and my temper was right up there with the temperature.
"Ally, Ally, Ally, Ally, Ally, Ally!"
All I wanted to do was crawl onto my bed, crank up the air conditioner and die.
"Ally, Ally, Ally, Ally, I wanna go swimming!"
Why was I born first? What god decided it was me who had to deal with this?
"Ally, Ally, Ally, Ally, please?"
"Arg," I grumbled. "Get me the phone, I'm sending you over to Robbie's house. I can't deal with you anymore."
Fifteen long minutes later I was blissfully alone. But I was back to being bored.
I guess the smart thing to do was to get my school stuff ready but that almost sounds worst then being bored. Almost. I got up to grab my stuff. Last week my mom and I spent ages shopping for binders and papers. It was such a big deal to her that we got in a huge fight over coloured pens. Pens! I mean, I know high school is such a big deal and everything but, well, I don't know. I'm happy to not think about it.
I sat uselessly in front of the huge fan my family ran constantly in the living room and started to add dividers to my binders. It was a mindless task, one that required little to none thinking. But I knew it would only last for a while. Then I would be back to my original state. Bored, bored, bored.
After that was done, and everything else to do with school was done, I took a nap with reruns of the Simpsons on the television and woke up to the 6 o'clock news. I half expected to wake up to Jake putting something gross in my hair; Robbie's mother usually dropped him back at home before dinner.
I basked in the peacefulness for a while. Hey, if you had to deal with that boy everyday you'd learn to appreciate solitude like I have. But then the news ended and Robbie still wasn't home and I realized I should start worrying.
I picked up the phone and started to dial Robbie's house. Robbie's mother probably just decided to feed the two boys and give me a break. The phone rang once. I twirled the cord between my fingers, waiting patiently for the phone to be answered. It rang again. Still no answer. I shifted my feet. It rang once more before there was a beep and the machine picked up.
"Hello! You have reached-" I hung up the phone. I had no desire to leave a message. Chances were they were in the car on the way here and I was over reacting. I settled on the couch again and flicked through the channels before settling on a cheesy sitcom.
The air was humid but not as stifling as it was before. I hadn't sat down for long when the phone rang. I jumped up to grab it and nearly slipped getting to it.
"Hello?" I answered a bit breathless.
"Hi sweetie," it was just my mother. "I'm going to be a bit late today. Traffic is just ridiculous. Just eat whatever you find, all right?"
"Sure mom," I said as cheerfully as I could. "Be careful."
"I will," she sighed. "I'll see you in a few."
"Bye," I said. I heard her cell phone hang up before I replaced the phone on its cradle.
If mom found out I had skimped out on babysitting duties again she was going to kill me. It was time to take some drastic measures.
I picked up the phone again. Mrs. Johnson was an old retired nurse that lived next to Robbie's house in their apartment complex. Sometimes, when Robbie's mother was in a hurry, she left them with her. Sometimes it seemed like it they were always with Mrs. Johnson, Robbie's mother loved taking care of two hyperactive nine-year olds just as much I liked taking care of one
The phone rang a few times before it was picked up.
"Hello?" the voice was shaky and uncertain. Mom hated it when the boys were at Mrs. Johnson's because she was getting on in years. I must admit I didn't like talking with her that much either but that was more because all old people freaked me out. Mom was more worried Mrs. Johnson was going to forget to feed the kids or something because of her Altztimers.
"Hello Mrs. Johnson," I asked politely.
"Yes, that's me."
"This is Ally, Ally Emerson."
"Oh yes, dear, I remember you," she sounded sweet.
Well, that was one obstacle out of the way. "Yes, well, I was wondering if Robbie or his mother is home yet? Or have you seen Jake? Do you remember Jake, my little brother?"
"Oh, yes," she said absently. "Jakes, I remember him. He has the most adorable little cowlick, just like my son, James. Do you know James?"
"Yes," I sighed. This was getting nowhere fast.
"Oh dear," she her tone changed. "Is Jake all right? That nice lady and those two boys just ran out of there a little while ago. She was in a right panic over them"
"Yes, yes, oh dear, she was dreadfully worried," Miss Johnson said. "Something about the heat. She whisked those two boys right over to the hospital."
Awe fuck. I grilled her for all the information she had but that was it. I slammed the phone down and struggled to think. Hospital. Jake. Death by mother. I needed to get over there and fast. Car, car, who had a car?
It was only Jake, my mom and me and all my friends were my age so I couldn't ask one of them for a ride. I didn't really want to call up anyone's mother either; the last thing I wanted was this to get back to my mom. Well, if something serious happened I guess I was busted anyway but for now I was willing to hold onto the hope that I could get out of today without a screaming match.
There was really only one person left.
"Hello?" it only took one ring to get through.
"Phil," I said trying to keep my voice from cracking. "It's Ally, um, Kelly's friend? I need to, ah, ask you a favour."
"Kelly isn't home," he said bluntly. "I'll tell her you called."
"No, Phil, don't hang up!" I pleaded quickly. Damn, this was going to suck. Phil and I weren't on what you called 'good terms'. He was four years older, which pretty much made any sort of social interaction out of the question, but it just seemed like every time we ran into each other we just rubbed each other the wrong way. "I need you to drive me somewhere."
"Wait! It's important," I only had a minute or two to plead my case. "I mean, uh, it's my brother. You see I kind of need to pick him up."
"That doesn't sound important."
"At the hospital," I blurted out.
There was silence on Phil's end. I held my breath as I waited his decision. "Ok," he sighed. "I'll be there in a minute. You'd better be ready to go when I get there."
"I will," I let out my breath quickly and smiled in relief. "You have no idea how much this means to me."
"Yea, yea," he grumbled. "See you in five." He hung up the phone but I could care less. He was coming to get me and that was all I cared about.
I had to slap away mosquitoes for a few minutes before he rumbled to my house. I didn't even wait for him to stop before I had the rusty door open and was sliding in. I slammed the door; it was the only way to would stay closed and clicked on my seatbelt. Phil looked a little startled at my swiftness but he stepped on the gas.
"I'm really sorry," I broke the tension in the truck. "I wouldn't have asked if it wasn't important."
"Whatever," he sounded pissed.
"I mean it," I retorted. "It's not like I've ever asked you for anything before."
"It's not like we're friends," he mocked. The tension grew. I bit my nails and he wrinkled his nose. "So why is your brother at the hospital?" it seemed the silence was getting to him. Good. He started it.
"I don't really know," I replied. "He was over at someone else's and something happened I guess."
He took his eyes off the road to shot me a disgusted look. "You looked worried," he said sarcastically and I narrowed my eyes at him.
"For your information, I am," I turned to look out the window. "Why else would I call you of all people?"
That shut him up. We pulled to a shaky stop at a red light. I felt guilty all of a sudden. I guess it was kind of awkward for him to be giving his little sister's friend a ride. I wondered if, when I was old enough, I would give Jake's whiny friends rides places. I suddenly felt a flash of empathy for Phil.
"I'm sorry, I'm being a jerk, I guess," I ground out. Phil shot me a bewildered look as the light turned green and we started moving again. "I have a lot on my mind."
Something hovered in the air between us. I don't know exactly what it was but, well, you know that test thing? The pink elephant feeling? The, what would you do if you walked into the room and this giant pink elephant thing was just sitting in the corner sipping tea like it belong there? Would you say anything or would you just let it be?
"So. Are you looking forward to high school?" he asked nervously. It was going to be the 'let it be' direction.
"I'm fine with it," I didn't look up. "I'm just a little nervous."
"Well you don't have to be," he told me reassuringly. "High school is a breeze once you get used to it."
"Easy for you to say," I grumbled then scolded myself. We were trying to pleasant conversation. "I mean, it always looks easier after you've been through it. But when you are just starting it looks hard."
"Yeah," he agreed. I thought we were just going to let the conversation go at that but he kept on talking. "It wasn't easy I guess. I know the feeling, being the oldest. My first day," he paused for a second then continued, "my first day was horrible. I got lost getting to every class and my math teacher was this little Japanese guy. He could never pronounce my name right. For the first week everyone called me 'Phil My Crack In', rather then just Phil."
It was a lame story but at least it was something. "That's reassuring," I played a long.
"My point is, I lived through it fine. You will be fine too; the first few weeks are chaotic for everyone. And you have your friends, right? It won't be that hard. And if you have any problems you can just ask me or something."
Wow, that wasn't like a step towards something resembling friendship, that was like a leap over the freaking Grand Canyon.
"Thanks," I smiled as we pulled into Visitor Parking.
"I'll come with you," he offered as he turned off the car. "I have to drive you home anyway."
I nodded and opened my door.
As it turned out, Robbie and Jake has been playing on the porch when Robbie fainted from the heat or something. Robbie's mother just ran both of them out to the hospital without calling, absent-minded as she was. We managed to get home before my mother and Jake ran into the house, relieved to be home to his Playstation. I had the obligatory 'thank you' to say.
"Um, so, thanks for the ride and for, well," I looked at the ground. "Well, just thank you."
"Uh, yeah," he drummed the steering wheel. "Your welcome and, I guess I'll see you around huh?"
"Yeah," I smiled a little and he smiled back. "Yeah."