• Lisa

Rude Awakening

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

Is that the phone? I rub my eyes as it rings again and again and scramble off the top bunk. The phone is still ringing when I stagger into the kitchen.

The mother’s voice fills the phone, “Go look in the living room and see if the tv is still there.” Her whispering holds urgency in its command.

Walking into the living room, my feet are cold because a growth spurt required the removal of the feet from my footy pajamas. I am sobered by the emptiness of the space where my sister and I watched television before going to bed.

Coming back to our blue princess phone, I confirm what the mother suspected.

“A guy just wheeled in our tv trying to sell it to me.” The ‘in’ she refers to is the 7-11 where she works the graveyard shift somewhere outside and nearby. Hearing a dial tone, I realize I’m the only one on the phone.

Thinking nothing of the unlocked door, I head back to the bedroom I share with my three-years-old sister, Mindy. As I climb the ladder, I see her yellow curls on the pillow and that she is still asleep.

The knowledge that a man was in the apartment while my sister and I slept alone might have been lost on the mother, but it was not lost on five-year-old me. Rather than being frightened, I am mildly annoyed, especially since My Grandmother rigidly follows the rules. Without the promise, or threat, of her coming home to check on us, I quickly fall back to sleep.

I never discussed the events of that night. I did not have a voice because she did not have ears.

My Sister Mindy and Me at 5 and 3 years old.

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