I really hated babysitting. Especially for the Millers. I only put up with it because Mom wants me to do it. She said it would be a great learning experience and that at my age she already had a kid and a full time job. I think she just wanted me to see how a normal family functions after what happened with her and Dad. She won’t say it but I know she’s scared I’ll end up messed up after witnessing the way he treated her before we left him but babysitting for the Millers is definitely a bad idea.
As I made my way to the Millers I couldn’t help but feel like something bad was going to happen. I had this weird sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was the type of feeling you get when you sneak out and your phone rings with a phone call from your parents. Although I always have that feeling around Mr. Miller and I wouldn’t have thought much of it if it wasn’t for the rain that pelted the streets. Bad things always happen when it rains. Besides if the rain wasn’t enough of a sign, Mr. Miller’s overpowering figure sitting in that old rickety rocking chair that sat facing out towards the street was definitely sign enough. He looked like he was sitting there for a while and he kept glancing at his watch like he was waiting for someone. When he saw me at the gate, he quickly sat up straighter as if his spine could get any more straight.
“Making it close there, Madeline” he says as I shut the gate behind me and walk up the porch steps. Mr. Miller has a thing for tardiness like how he has a thing for everything.
Mr. Miller was a strange one. He had one of those ‘I’m an asshole’ haircuts that you usually see on cops. It would’ve been fine if he actually was a cop but he wasn’t. After finishing up high school, Mr. Miller tried to join the army. His father was a notable sergeant in the Vietnam War, so like many men that come from generational enlisting, Mr. Miller was all too ready to join the forces. So when the Cold War was at its peak, Mr. Miller tried to enlist, to be apart of history, but he got rejected. I’m not sure why he got rejected. Its a taboo subject within their household. Even the slight mention of the word ‘army’ and ‘turned down’ would set Mr. Miller off into a long spiel about how unfair the army is yet in his monologue he never mentions how it was unfair to him. Once he found out he couldn’t join the military, Mr. Miller tried to become a cop. That didn’t work out for him either because his girlfriend at the time filed an assault charge against him which automatically disqualified him. Finding out that piece of information was hard enough and if it wasn’t for the usual small town gossip, that charge would have been buried deep in secrecy where Mr. Miller likes to keep all his faults. He was just a salesman with beady brown eyes that were always fixated on that stupid watch. The watch was carried down through generations. Starting from his Great Grandfather all the way to him. According to Mr. Miller his son will get the watch next if his son manages to prove himself. Then one day it’ll be his son sitting on that old rocking chair telling that pointless story about that stupid watch while stealing glances at it as if eyes can control time.
I took a glance at the watch on my wrist. I was fifteen minutes early. “Hi, Mr. Miller.” I say while trying to muster up a fake smile.
He gets up from his chair and moves past me to open the front door. Mr. Miller’s familiar scent of stale cigarettes and off brand scotch wafts it’s way up my nostrils and manages to make my stomach turn once again. “Mrs. Miller is waiting for you upstairs with Charlie.”
I held my breath as I quickly walked past Mr. Miller and made my way upstairs.