It’s business as usual this warm summer evening. We’ve already had dinner and mom is behind me in the kitchen making tuna grape salad for lunch tomorrow. Dad is in the living room with me watching TV, drinking Dr. Pepper, and eating potato chips. Every time I hear the chip crunch I type a little harder on the computer. I don’t understand why he gets to drink pop every day and eat potato chips when the rest of us aren’t allowed to drink pop at all and can only eat potato chips on Sunday. Granted, I will sneak all the junk food and pop I can when I’m out with friends, but it’s still annoying to be at home listening to him chow down on something I can’t have. I’m just glad I have my own laptop to escape into when I’m at home. I open my multiple AIM conversations and reply to my friends. Of course, I’m paying special attention to the window of Crazy76Monkey. I just saw him when we were working at Vacation Bible School but I cannot get enough. He responds quickly and I swear my heart skips a beat every time I see that blinking message box. I ignore the food preparation and chip chomping behind me and sink into my own little world again.
Matthew is already back in his room having fallen asleep on top of his Hotwheels. My mom finishes putting the food away and cleaning the kitchen then heads off to bed reminding what time we have to wake up to be at the church. We’re doing arts and crafts at Vacation Bible school this year. My dad stays up a little longer watching TV then in his office on his computer before heading to bed. When he heads off to bed he reminds me I have thirty minutes until I myself need to be in bed. I nod my head and say goodnight knowing full well I will stay up far beyond thirty minutes. I continue to chat with my friends as they sign off one by one. Finally, it is just Liam and I chatting. I know we could do this for hours, he definitely doesn’t have to sleep since he lives with his grandma. Plus, he’s sixteen so he has more freedom than I do.
Crazy76Monkey (11:47): You’re going to be at VBS again tomorrow right?
Gomelodie99(11:48): Ya are you and Dan going to help with music and arts and crafts again?
Crazy76Monkey(11:49): We should all go downtown after VBS tomorrow since it’s the last day
This is only one of the single greatest suggestions I have ever read.
Gomelodie99(11:51): That’d be fun!!!
Gomelodie99(11:51): I’ll talk to my parents but it should be fine
Crazy76Monkey(11:53): It will be a group of us. Ask Allie if she wants to come too.
Gomelodie99 (11:55): brb
This is my tactic if a conversation ever begins to lag. I wait a little bit then see if he’s come up with something else to talk about.
Crazy76Monkey (12:00): Hey!
Crazy76Monkey (12:00): What’s up?
Gomelodie99 (12:01): Nm, u?
Crazy76Monkey (12:01): Nm, excited for tomorrow
Gomelodie99 (12:03): Me too
I hear someone moving around in my parents’ room down the hall. It’s probably my dad. I am not supposed to be awake right now. He cannot find me at the laptop.
Gomelodie99 (12:04): Oh crap, gotta go!
Gomelodie99 (12:04): See u tomorrow!
Crazy76Monkey (12:04): See u. Goodnight
I slam the laptop and take two giant steps to my room shutting the door so it is open just a crack. I leap under the covers and close my eyes as I hear footsteps nearing my room. I know it is my dad because he is the only one who ever gets up in the middle of the night. He checks the front door, I can’t tell if he opened it. I think I remembered to lock it. He then opens my door and checks on me. Since it’s dark I open my eyes as he’s leaving to make sure it’s him and not some crazy person from the street. My night-light gives me enough light to confirm it is in fact my dad. I know people would think I was crazy if I told them my fears but every time I hear a floorboard creak in my house, I think something is going to happen. I’ve just had this feeling for years that something bad is going to happen in my house. I thought there were vampires under my bed until I was ten; I guess I’m just prone to paranoia. I hear my dad start up his computer in the office that shares a wall with my room. I hear the beep signaling power then the sound of Windows XP chiming in. I drift off to sleep thinking about seeing Liam the next afternoon.
What in the world? I wake up with a jolt and open my eyes. It’s still very dark outside and it takes me a moment to realize why I’m awake. I hate being awake in the dark. It freaks me out. I can hear my mom screaming from my parents’ room at the end of the hall. “No! Please! Don’t, no!” She must be having a nightmare. It’s not a high-pitched blood-curdling scream, but it is frantic. Unfortunately, thanks to my paranoia and frequent sleepless nights yelling for my mom it is sort of a norm in our house to yell out when scared. She continues to yell her pleas and I think about going back to their room to check on her. Maybe my dad fell asleep in the living room and can’t hear what I’m hearing. Then I hear his voice repeating “Sh, calm down. It’ll be alright”. Well, that’s good everything must be okay. I think again about going back to their room just to double check on her because she still sounds upset. It’s the least I can do after waking her up so many nights with my own terrified screams. I start to swing my feet off the bed to go back but instead I fall back on my pillow and fast asleep.
When I wake up in the morning I am again confused and wonder if I dreamed everything last night. The huge knot in my stomach would tell me otherwise. I look at my clock and am surprised it is six in the morning. This never happens during the summer; usually I am sleeping until eleven if I can talk my parents into leaving me alone. It sounds like there are voices at the end of the hall. Is the back door open? It is then that I hear the sirens. Immediately, I know what has happened.