One Day I Will
I'm upstairs in my room, gazing out my window, trying to ignore the ladybugs and hornets stuck in the screen's cracks. I'm watching my parents yank the crinkly cover over our above-ground pool. It's a dark and dreary charcoal grey, with metal rimmed holes in its edges, meant for threading rope, in order to secure the cover to our pool's feeble edges. I had managed to escape helping them with the excuse of "yes, I do have homework on the first day of school. Can you believe it?!" But I had failed to escape the dissatisfaction I harbored for my life. No, I did not want to die. It was not that my life was so drastically horrid that I just couldn't bear it anymore, or that I had suffered some painful tragedy. In contrast, I had just grown tired from the seemingly endless monotony of my everyday schedule.
Noticing my leg prickling beneath me, I shift my weight and turn on my bed, my mattress groaning in protest. My eyes run over the furniture and objects in my room; my dresser with clothes spilling out of the drawers, my mirror, half obscured by "I Just Got Fluoride" and "Be Beary Healthy: Please Don't Smoke" stickers, my calendar with meticulously painted pictures of goddesses from various religions, my desk, with piles of unfinished stories, outlines, and sticky notes of poetry lines. Although the clutter could seem chaotic, the only word that comes to my mind is mundane.
Suddenly a splash of pink catches my eye; something sticking out from behind my closet door. Upon closer look, I notice that it is my cousin's old duffel bag, given to me because the company monogrammed her name wrong. Instantly I remember every sleepover, and the continuous mockery of "But your name isn't Caitlyn. And why is it spelled so weird?" Simultaneously, I also remember every night I packed that duffel bag with quiet clothes, and whatever change I could find in my pencil case and in the broken heaters. I remember every night that I was so convinced I was going to run away from home. Walk to my friend's house and live there, because they had the Spice Girls on CD instead of a cassette tape, and they had peanut butter and jelly was in the same jar, just like in Matilda, the kind of peanut butter and jelly my mother wouldn't buy.
I never did get out of my front door, or even the quieter back door, with that violently pink bag. But I did leave once. That time, it wasn't even planned, packed for, or even expected. I didn't go to Jen's house, or Allison's, or even Betsy's. In fact, I barley got past my neighbor's house.
I was in fifth grade, and our computer was new; the first one my family ever owned, so it was treasured. I had taken some typing classes in school, and used a few programs like ClarisWorks—but our computer was a PC. I was so angry that we didn't get a Macintosh, and that I wasn't sure how to run Microsoft Word of any of its other stupid programs. Shutting it down was a different process too. But I didn't know that.
I was on the Internet, playing a game, even though I had already used up the designated hour my mother gave to me daily. She was out grocery shopping—and she wasn't going to call. My father was outside, mowing the lawn like a maniac, too wrapped up in his own work to pay attention to my actions. Anyway, I could have been doing typing homework. Everything seemed to be going my way that Saturday—no one had eaten the last blueberry muffin, there was a movie on Disney Channel later, and my mother had agreed to buy me Lunchables.
Suddenly the computer froze. I didn't think anything of it at first, so I flicked off the power. I waited the customary few minutes, tapping my fingers on the chipped wood of the second-hand desk, and then turned the power back on. An unfamiliar blue screen flashed in front of my eyes, searing into my retinas. I panicked. Not only had I been on the computer without permission, but I had broken it too. I knew I had to fix it, but I was in such shock that no solutions came to my head. What I did next was utterly out of instinct. I ran.
Listening to my sneakers pound against the pavement, I kept my eyes locked on the ground. I moved swiftly across my driveway and onto the street that was considered busy and dangerous—for a suburb. I had only walked about forty feet when I saw my neighbor walking her two Dalmatians. I had always hated those dogs; they growled at everyone and barked unexpectedly. They scared me. So I tried to go around them—but of course, my neighbor had to stop me. I hated her too. She thought she was famous because she was on TV with a vacuum cleaner once.
"Why, hello there Rebecca! Where are you going?"
"Where are you walking to?"
"Um. I don't know. Um. The baseball fields."
"Do your parents know?"
"Alright. How about I walk you home?"
I scowled at her in response, but reluctantly followed nonetheless. She made me stand by her side while she spoke to my dad about what I did, as if I was her child. As soon as she turned back towards the road and yanked at her dog's leashes, I bolted up to my room and waited for my mother to come home—I could explain things to her.
Now as I'm sitting in my room once more, fingering the letters of my cousin's misspelled name, sick of enduring tedious tasks and commitments, I feel half inspired to fill this bag again. Pack up my essentials, take the car, maybe pick up someone else who's worthy to spend the journey with, and just leave. Drive west, or maybe south, or maybe a little of both. Turn up the radio, and try to drive into the sunset—because at times like these, even the most sick clichés seem lovely.
But you won't. You've gone too far to start over now. You cannot let your hard work go to waste.
But fantasy always seems so easy.