Time Limit

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I walked home, dragging out the time. I dreaded home. There are different levels of fear. Fear is a distressing emotion brought on by imminent danger, pain, et cetera, whether the threat is real or imagined. There is anxiety which is when there is no tangible threat, it is when you let your mind run wild. Then fear, when there is an evident peril, either mental, physical, or verbal. And then, dread. Dread is the anticipation of something with great trepidation. Home, they say, is where the heart is. Not for me. My mother died in childbirth. The baby did not live. I would have had a little brother. Johnathan. People also say if you name something, you become more attached to it. No one told that to my father. When my mother and Johnathan died, he seemingly died with her. He didn’t care about Johnathan. He often ranted about how the baby killed his mother. My mother, his wife. There was a time, before Mom died, when he would play hide-and-seek or swing me in the swing. But no more. He revoked his parental status. He practically lives in the downtown bar. He is always drunk. Always violent. It only took me five minutes before I was home sweet home. I sighed and mounted the front steps. There was a time when the pristine, white facade comforted me. Now, it reminds me of myself. Beautiful on the outside, full of pain on the inside. I am not saying I am pretty, far from it. Dirty blonde hair that is turning mousy brown and that brushes my hips when I walk. Plain grey eyes. Plain face. But somehow, I still compare myself to the beautiful, but run-down house.

I opened the door as quietly as I could. No one was home. I felt myself give a sigh of relief. I trudged up the steep, wooden steps that led to my room. I walked down the hall, but something was off. My door was open. I always lock my door when I leave. I looked at the doorknob. Well, actually, I looked at the absence of a doorknob. My breathing grew rapid. I inched closer to my room. When I got close enough to see through the doorway, I almost laughed. It was Lainey Lantanoe. My red-headed confidant. She had not seen me yet. Her green eyes were ablaze as she was reading my journal. I do not know why she would even bother to read it. She already knows all my secrets. Her red curls were pulled back in a ponytail. Even pulled up, it easily reached passed her shoulders. I smiled and quietly backed up, careful to avoid the squeaky board on the floor.

“Brooks County Sheriff. Identify yourself.” I mocked the many security commercials we had watched on television together. Deep, manly voice. It took everything I had not to ruin the joke by laughing. I repeated myself and I heard Lainey gasping for breath. I ran back into my room, laughing. She was rolling on the floor, in tears. She sat up.

“You scared me,” She could barely keep herself from laughing. “You need to lay up on the TV.”

“Says the girl who detached my doorknob from my door.” I laughed at her. This is one of the few moments when I am truly happy. When I am not faking a smile or a laugh. She looked at me.

“You locked the window,” That’s how she usually gains access to my room. She motioned to my journal. “Very poetic.”

“Yeah, my life is so very poetic.” I retorted sarcastically. I sat down on my bed and laid back. I stared up at the ceiling. Lainey laid next to me.

“I was talking about all the detailed descriptions of Oliver Pierce.” Oliver Pierce. The boy of my dreams. Also the boy out of my league. Oliver is tall with blonde hair. His hazel eyes pierce my soul and my dreams- no pun intended, I promise. I roll my eyes and laugh.

“It’s nothing you haven’t heard before.” I said. She has heard every one of my “oh my goodness does he like me?” speeches.

“You should talk to him.” She rolls onto her side. I follow suit.

“I can’t. I’ve tried. When I’m near him, I… I choke up. I have no idea what to say.” She giggles. She picks up my insanely pink journal. I hated it, but it was a present from my mom.

“So I’ve heard,” She laughs again. “He’s really easy to talk to. You just can’t start a conversation. How are you two going to plan your wedding if y’all can’t talk to each other?” I throw a pillow at her.

“What wedding? He doesn’t even know I exist.” At that moment, we heard the front door slam. We both jumped up.

“Ivy!” It was my dad. I could tell from the slur blurring his deep, raspy voice that he was drunk. And angry. But this time, he got my name right.

“Window?” Lainey asked, wide-eyed. I nodded.


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