some sort of news
Mom knocks on my door at eight in the morning, telling me it’s time to get out of bed. I have been awake for two hours already, since I couldn’t fall back asleep when my alarm I forgot to turn off reminded me what today held.
“Ready to go?” She asks me through the wood. I glance at my backpack, the one I usually use for school, the one I spent hours packing last night, crying as quietly as I could so Mom wouldn’t hear me.
"Yeah, I'll be out in a second," I call out, careful to keep my tone devoid of the emotion threatening to slip out of my eyes.
"Alright, honey, I'll be in the kitchen."
I sit on the edge of my bed. Last Tuesday, I just got home from school, laughing with my best friend about some gossip when I saw my mom's face, colorless and gaping, standing out from the bright, happy hues of our living room. She was staring at her phone when we walked in. Rose took one look at her face and glanced at me. "I'll see you later," she mouthed, then stepped out the door after giving me a brief hug.
"What's wrong?" I asked Mom, setting my backpack down.
She shook her head soundlessly and handed me her phone. I read about an accident that had happened earlier while I was in third period. A man had been drunk driving and swerved into another car, causing both to plummet to the cliffs below the road. I got more confused as I read, wondering why Mom thought I needed to know this. Then I understood when I read the drunk man's name.
I stared in complete disbelief, almost dropping the phone. I collapsed against Mom, my throat thick with shock. I cried into her chest as she stroked my hair, murmuring condolences that seemed more directed to assure herself.
"Aspen?" I hear Mom shout through the door. I jump up, wiping my wet cheeks quickly.
"Coming!" I grabbed my backpack and threw the door open. I paused and looked back at my room, with the pale blue walls and daybed by the window, once filled with pillows and stuffed animals I had curled up next to for endless hours at a time. The small wooden desk that had been Mom's I had used for writing my poems and finishing homework, side by side to the trusty old bookshelf I stored all my favorite books in, like The Fault In Our Stars, Counting By 7s, and multiple copies of Wintergirls. I silently said one last goodbye to it all and walked out the door.