The kids are outside playing, laughing and being giddy youths.
I watch them from my window, the curtains just hiding me from view.
I see a boy kick the football over our fence, and he quickly skips over the white wood, landing in a thump on the sandy ground that surrounds my house.
He goes searching for the ball, and I watch him eagerly.
I freeze up, as I heard my mother call my name and quickly twist around, afraid.
"Yes, Mama?" I reply, my body trembling in fear. My mother was a surly woman, very strict and uptight. I liked to believe I was nothing like her.
But I was more like her with each passing day.
"What are you doing by the window?" she asked me coldly and I swallow.
"Just watching the children outside playing."
"Oh yes, I see one of those little rascals in on our lawn."
"He's just looking for his ball."
My mother frowned, her eyes slitting in vengeance. She suddenly pounded on the glass and the boy jumped alert, looking around for the sound.
"Mother, please!" I yelled at her, and grabbed her arm, pulling her away from the window, "Here, let me just talk to him"
My mother growled.
I swallowed afraid. I could feel little sweat balls running down my forehead. I moved passed her awkwardly and clenched the front door's knob.
I pull the window door open and wander out to the yard.
The boy freezes when he sees me, and I wave to him, nervously.
"Here," I said and went over to a bush. I got on my knees and dug my hands into the thistles and thorns. I felt the skin of his football and grab hold of it, pulling it out.
The boy blushes slightly when I hand the ball back to him. And as he was taking it, his hand touched mine.
I froze and looked at him nervously, giving a shy smile and a little giggle.
"Thanks, Sophie..." He says to me, his blush reddening.
"How do you know my name?" I asked and he just laughed.
"I'm in your class, silly!" He says with a charming wink, "I sit behind you."
"Oh..." I gasp, and I see the other boys and girls approach my fence, waiting eagerly for the ball.
"I'm Thomas, just so you know." The boy said to me with a grin, "Do you want to play with us?"
I stiffened up when I heard my mother's loud shriek, "Get inside this instant!"
I tremble and Thomas looks at me worried.
"Coming, mother!" I yell back at her and turn to leave.
The next day, there was a knock on the door and my mother opened it, to see who was there.
I listened in from the living room, and swear that was Thomas.
"Can Sophie come out today-"
"No." My mother warned him, "You're trouble."
She slammed the door in front of him and went on her way. I looked up to her from a book I was reading and gulped scared.
"Don't you go hanging around with a hooligan like him, Sophie..."
"Yes'm..." I said, though my voice dipped in a sad tone. My mother nodded her head and went on into the kitchen.
Thomas came every day to that door that summer until my mother finally barked at him.
"Why do you keep coming here? My Sophie is nothing special!"
I gasped when I heard her say this.
Thomas looked at her shocked and said back quietly.
"Maybe not to you, Miss Camperon, but to me... she is something else."
"Hmm..." My mother murmured surprised and I finally came to the side of her to see Thomas there.
"Yes, I'd love to go out with you," I said, disobeying my mother. My mother gasped shocked as I pushed passed her and Thomas followed my out of the front yard, my mother yelling.
"You'll regret this, little missy, when you come home!"
"Why?!" I shouted back coldly, "I'm nothing special, aren't I?!"
My mother pulled an expression that was incredulous, and Thomas and I walked the footpath to the beach.
Thomas asked me as we strolled slowly down the path, "You're mother..."
"Yeah," I said back quietly, "My mother indeed."
"She's a bitch." I said, not defending her, "She wants me to turn into a mini her."
I felt Thomas touched my hand with his, and I gave a soft smile, blush coming to my cheeks.
"You'd never be like her."
I looked at him and felt a teardrop slip down my cheek.
"What's wrong?" He asked and I gulped, replying.
"I don't want to go home."
I waited till it was late when the sun had set and the night air was cold. I pushed opened the gate to my front yard, and nervously crept over to the door.
I grabbed hold of the doorknob and pushed it down, entering the home, which was surprisingly quiet and dark.
I turned on the hallway light and the living room light and saw my mother just sitting down on the armchair, a bottle of wine in her hands.
"Mum?!" I said, horrified. I looked at her and she just blinked her eyes slowly, highly intoxicated, "What are you doing, drinking at this time?!"
"I..." She was speechless, and look at me ashamed, "I'm so sorry for what I said today. Sophie."
She added, leaving the chair and dropping to her knees before me.
"I'm so sorry I said you were nothing. You are my world!"
"Then let me actually live my life!" I demanded shaking her outreached hands away from me, "I wasn't born to be yours! I was born to be me!"
My mother quivered her bottom lip, and closed her eyes, whispering, "Alright..."
From then on, things changed rapidly. My mother slowly transformed into someone who was loving and happy, giving me the freedom to be with my friends and to see Thomas.
It was years later that I married Thomas, and became a family with our little boy, Jacob.
When Jacob was ten, he was asking to go down to the beach with the kids from his school.
"Please, Mum!" He begged, "I won't do anything bad! I swear."
"Hmm..." I hummed a little concerned and froze when I realized I sounded just like how my mother used to sound.
"Okay! Go! Go!" I shouted, shivering at that thought. I gave him a kiss on the cheek, and he rubbed off the mark with his sleeve.
"Cool, thanks!" I heard him yell as he hurried down the path. I felt Thomas place his hand on my shoulder, and I smiled, turning my head to look at him.
"He'll be fine," I said, as reassurance to my husband.
"I know he will," Thomas replied, "He's got his mother's sense."
"And his father's courage," I said back, and Thomas smiled. He leant forward and kissed me.
I closed the door moments later and we went into the living room to relax. The golden sun slowly setting in the distance.