The cool air nipped at my skin as I stood outside my front door. I could hear the moans in the streets and smell the weed in the air as I let out a deep breath.
I turned around to face the front door, the light above the door flickering in the darkness. The stars shined down on me as I pushed open the door, slowly and softly. I froze with the door wide open, the cold air sneaking past me as I listened to the sound blaring through the dark living room.
The curtains were wide open and from the outside I could see a woman on the tv cooking. Another cooking show. I walked inside the house and closed the door behind myself. I locked it, bolted the door to keep the cold air out.
Placing my bag down on the ground, I took my shoes off. Slipping my feet into a pair of flats, I walked towards the living room and smiled softly to myself as I saw my dad sleeping on his beaten leather chair. The room was freezing as I walked inside and tried to find the remote to the TV. It was placed on the brown coffee table.
I switched the tv off and the room was covered in darkness immediately. Reaching out blindly, I switched the lamp on besides my dad. He was sleeping, as if nothing in this world would bother him. I was thankful for that. Picking up the blanket, and not wanting to disturb him, I placed it on him, wrapping him in the blanket gently. I picked up the tray full of food which dad had not finished and walked out of the living room and into the tight dark hallway.
The lights were either broken or I hadn’t paid the rent. It was due today but Tom, my landlord had never shown. I had stood in the cold for an hour, waiting for him to show. He hadn’t. Not a text or a call to tell me he was busy.
I walked into the kitchen, and switched the lights on. They worked. Dishes from dinner were still in the sink as I placed the tray besides it. I was in no mood to do the dishes. I picked up the plate of food and placed it in the microwave.
I heard a meow and I froze, seeing a black cat in my house. I held in a scream, trying to hiss at it.
The one thing that frightened me were cats. I was absolutely terrified of them. The cat watched me as it sat peacefully near the back door. I pushed myself up against the fridge, near the door and reached out my hand. The cat stood up, waiting eagerly to leave. I opened the back door and immediately the cat ran out. Letting out a deep sigh, I closed the door and locked it tightly.
Tonight was just not my day and with school in the morning, I was ready to give up already and sleep forever. I shrugged my jacket off as I walked out of the kitchen and upstairs to my room. The house we were living in was a two bedroom house, with a single bathroom. It was in the worst part of the neighbourhood but that was all I could afford.
I pulled out my phone to text Lizzie. Picking me up tomorrow? It was barely ten pm but I felt tired as I walked into my room.
I placed my jacket on the chair I had for reading and switched the light on. The white walls were completely bare, a little damp because of the raining weather at times. Walking towards the window that had bars on the outside, I closed the curtain. My single bed was placed beside the window, making it colder in the nights. Two sets of drawers for my clothes and other stuff were placed opposite my bed, giving me enough room to walk around a little.
My phone buzzed and I pulled it out to see a reply from Lizzie. I smiled to myself. If you promise to let me copy your maths homework? Pretty please with a cherry on top, Charlotte?
I replied back with a simple okay before placing my phone on the bed. I walked towards my drawer and pulled it open. I pulled out a long thick shirt that I no longer wore except for bed, along with a pair of leggings and walked out of the room, towards the bathroom that was so small, that everything felt like it was suffocating.
Closing the door behind myself, I put the toilet seat down and placed my clothes on it. A blue towel was besides the shower. I pulled it away and placed it on top of my clothes. I turned the shower on, letting it warm up as I stripped and locked the door behind myself.
A five minute shower was needed to get myself ready for bed. Tomorrow I was going to start my senior year. My last year of high school.
I stepped into the shower and closed my eyes. Tilting my face up, I let out a sigh and let the water drip down my body.
I was absolutely shattered today and I needed to rest because it seemed as if the world was finally catching up to me and mocking me for running away from my problems.
I needed sleep.
The bad thing about sleeping in a house that had a single radiator was that your body woke up before your mind ever did. I had been twisting and turning in my bed for the past half an hour. I already knew what time it was.
I never needed an alarm clock, because my body would start shivering at half five, waking me up. My mind was slow in catching up and I needed another thirty minutes to open my eyes.
Sitting up in my bed, the duvet fell to my lap as I pushed the strands of hair that had escaped from my bun, behind my ear. I yawned and covered my mouth as I stretched.
I pulled open the curtain, and the sun gleamed through, a mockery to my cold body. My hair was a mess as I stood up. I had forgotten to brush it out yesterday after my shower, and I knew it would be a tangled mess.
My dad called from below and immediately I ran downstairs. Without hesitation, I stepped into the living room to see my dad standing in the middle of the small room, in front of the tv, with his arms crossed.
“Did you talk to your mom? I can’t find my phone or my keys. I should go pick her up from the grocery store.” He sighed and shook his head, as if he was disappointed with himself. “Help me find them.” He walked towards the chair he was sitting on and pulled the blanket away, looking for a pair of keys we no longer had.
“Dad.” I called out to him, to catch his attention. He didn’t look at me as he tried to find his keys, by pulling the leather cushions away from the couch. I grabbed his hands, stopping him. He looked towards me and I smiled at him softly. “Mom called and she said you have to eat first. She’s stuck in traffic and will be home soon.”
Dad nodded to himself and smiled as he stood up straighter. I let go of his hands. “What’s for breakfast? What should I make? Pancakes or waffles?” He thought to himself, lost in his own thoughts.
“How about I make you some pancakes? With jam and nutella?” I grinned at him as he nodded happily and sat down on his chair.
He leaned forward and picked up the remote, while switching on the tv. “She left the cooking channel on.” Dad chuckled to himself as he watched the channel.
I walked out of the room, the smile instantly disappearing from my face, as I headed upstairs quickly to brush her teeth.
It had been six years since my mom had died in an accident. A mistake from God for taking one of the people away from me that I couldn’t live without. It was a cold winter day and the roads were covered in black ice. It had snowed the night before but dad had fallen terribly ill and mom had sneaked off to the closest pharmacy.
Dad had been seconds away from leaving, to find mom. I had begged and cried at the age of 12 to not be left alone in the house. A storm was growing somewhere close by and I was terrified of being alone. Two police officers had visited us minutes later, apologising for the death of my mom.
My life had disappeared that instant, when my father had collapsed and been rushed to the hospital. He had stage two of Dementia. I had never realised it until I started to see the signs my parents had kept hidden from me. He would start forgetting where his favourite socks were, or where his house keys were. He would forget to help me with my homework. I had always assumed it was due to his age.
My parents couldn’t have kids, they had tried and tried for years and years. I was born when they were 40 years old.
Day by day, year by year, my dad was forgetting stuff. I had taken him to the hospital, and they had diagnosed him with Stage Four Dementia, two years ago. I had no idea what it really meant but I had done my research the same night. Dad had quit his job at the Gym, because he had to stay home. We had to sell our house, the house I had been born in, to live.
I had no other family than my dad. There was no one else that could help me so I had taken up the duty of it myself. My parents had brought me into this world and I would always be thankful for that.
Letting out a sigh, I started to make the pancakes. The batter was already made and placed in the fridge. I mixed it with a spoon and pulled out the small tub of butter. I placed the butter on the pan that was heating up. It fizzled in the pan and I poured a little bit of the batter into the pan. I started making the others quickly.
“How long for breakfast?” Dad called out from the living room.
“Just a minute!” I answered instantly as I pulled out a plate from the cupboard. Placing the pancakes on the plate, I turned the gas off. I leaned up on my tiptoes and pulled out the jar of nutella and jam.
Walking into the room with the tray in my hands, I smiled as dad picked up the towel and placed it on his lap. I placed the tray down in front of him on the coffee table.
“You promise not to go out today?” I asked him as I poured him a glass of orange juice. It was his favourite.
“Mary is going to come over so she’ll keep me company.” He answered and then started digging into his breakfast. That was my cue to go.
I walked out of the living room once I double checked my dad had everything. I walked to the kitchen and started cleaning up. It was a complete mess and Lizzie would be arriving in an hour.
Lizzie, short for Elizabeth, and much cooler, was my best friend. We had grown up together. We used to live in the same neighbourhood until I had to move. When mum died, Lizzie was constantly besides me, never letting me go and making sure everything was still okay. Lizzie was the reason I constantly smiled. Some days, Lizzie would come to help me with dad. To keep him company while I took a long shower or took a quick nap. A promise to be friends for eternity hung between us. We would never break it. Lizzie wanted me at her wedding. Her plan was to find a high school sweetheart to get married too.
I finished cleaning the kitchen and walked out once I dried her hands. I headed towards the living room to see dad eating his food. A knock on the door made me smile and I immediately opened the door.
Mary smiled at me, a white hairband in her curls to push them out of her face. Her dark skin glowed as she smiled at me. “Hi sweetie.” She walked into the house, taking her coat off.
I smiled at her. “Hey Mary.”
Mary hung her coat up as I closed the door behind her. Mary was a kind soul that always came to help me with my dad. She was a 50 year old ex nurse who would visit every morning to stay with dad just so I could go to school.
“Has he taken any pills today?” She asked me and I shook my head as Mary started heading to the living room. “That’s good. Why don’t you get ready for school?” She smiled at me.
I nodded and watched as Mary walked into the living room, greeting dad with a cheerful hello. Dad instantly replied, knowing who she was, and I smiled to myself as I walked upstairs.
Dad was having a good day.
I walked into my room and closed the door behind myself. Walking to the drawer, I opened it and pulled out a pair of blue denim jeans and a black shirt which I could tuck in. I would wear my black jacket on top. I pulled open one of the lower draws and paired a black bra and black panties together.
I had a shower last night because I knew I could be late. It was senior year and though I knew most people would skip the day, when they were only meeting the teachers, Lizzie would be here in an instant.
I got dressed quickly and brushed out my hair. I pulled it up into a messy bun and stuffed it with a thousand bobby pins so it wouldn’t move. I sprayed perfume on myself. After applying concealer, mascara, and a little light shade of lipstick, I picked up my school bag that I had already prepared two nights ago.
I heard a horn outside and I grinned to myself as I tied my shoes quickly. I opened my room door and smiled.
Senior year. Here I come.