The ball goes up. The ball comes down. The ball goes up. The ball comes down. This happens a million times before the bus gets here. I’m still waiting.
I like kool-aid but mom outlawed it. Mom’s funny. She always outlaws something but forgets before the end of the week and then we will have kool-aid again. Blue flavor and red flavor and lemon too. Ball goes up. Ball comes down.
I have on my favorite shirt. That’s what mom calls it. My favorite. She kisses my forehead in the mornings and leaves a smudge and I wipe it off with my face all scrunched but I don’t mind really as much as I pretend. She smells like apples. Apples in the morning. Cigarettes at night. Unless she’s outlawed them. Then she smells like gum and talks fast.
Mornings are the worst. Except Saturdays. Like sometimes? I wake up? And I start to get ready for school? And mom hasn’t gotten up? And then I remember that it’s Saturday. And that is the best, it really is!
The bus picks me up in the morning. Mom drops me at the corner to catch it then zips to work, which she wishes she could outlaw. But they give her money and money doesn’t grow on trees or fall from the sky. The ball goes up. The ball comes down.
I’m either early or just missed it because nobody else is here. Mommy says okay kiddo, I can’t wait, out you go, love you. It’ll be Christmas soon. I don’t know when but I see wrapping paper in store windows. I think what I really want is a baby brother.
Nobody’s here yet or everybody’s gone. I will sit on the bus with Mike. Mom says he’ll be here, don’t worry. My mom and Mike’s mom, they are best friends. Best friends like me and Mike. Mom says nuh-uh, you are my best friend. I scrunch my face and say yuck but I don’t really mind. I worry if I do get my Christmas present the baby will be her best friend but I don’t know. She likes me a lot. She won’t forget me. We can all be friends but I’ll be her best friend. Ball goes up. Ball comes down.
A car, a big car. Mom outlawed big cars but here comes one. The car stops. A pretty lady shouts. Me? You’re here for me? Mommy sent you to bring me back home? She says her name and I don’t remember it but I don’t even know the name of Mike’s mom. Those are grown up names. I’ll know them when I grow up. Right now I have to go with the pretty lady. She says mommy says.
I’m little and the car is big and my stomach hurts because mommy outlawed these cars and she hasn’t forgotten. The pretty lady pulls the seatbelt over me and drives. We are going fast. We pass a light, we pass a light. We pass the light that is my light, our light, mom’s and mine. I tell the pretty lady and she smiles and tells me that’s okay, we’re gonna miss a lot of lights.
Desiree Wilkins is the mother of Sam. She is married and works full-time and has been writing forever, whenever she gets a chance.