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Blue

The light bulb flickered as I hit the edge of the flashlight against the palm of my hand. The light would not last through the night. I’d lie in bed until my mom stopped pacing the hallway. I would watch as the shadows cast by her feet moved back and forth across the floor on the other side of my closed door. When she’d stop in front of my door, all of my muscles would tense. If she knew I was still awake, she would come in and I would never be able to get some sleep. I would wait under my covers until the light peering in from under my doorway disappeared.

I crawled out of bed and tip-toed my way to the kitchen. I opened up the drawer to the left of the sink and very carefully rummaged through the rest of the junk that was thrown in there and grabbed the batteries I needed to power my flashlight. On my way back down the hall I passed by my mother’s room, where I could hear the television. She was still awake, and at any moment she would come out and begin her pacing again. Hurriedly, I returned to my room and very quietly closed the door, turning the doorknob to avoid the clicking noise it made when it would shut. I ran over to my bed and struggled to replace the batteries in the dark.

I turned on the flashlight and quickly covered my pillows with my blanket to make it seem I was sound asleep in bed. Reaching behind my dresser, I grabbed my dented tin can where I kept my crayon bits. I didn’t have a sketchbook or a notepad to draw with, and mother didn’t want me marking the walls. I hid my color pieces, so she wouldn’t find them and suspect anything. Taking my flashlight and my tin can, I crawled under the bed, scooting up against the wall. I let the blanket hang a little over the edge in case she walked in. I wouldn’t want her noticing the light illuminating from underneath the bed.

I focused the flashlight and propped it up against the wall. I opened my tin can and took out the blue piece to finish the sky I started the night before. I could not make the sky too big because I did not have much left of the blue crayon, though skies were meant to be endless. I ended up falling asleep under my bed that night and woke up late for school the next morning. I wasn’t worried because my mother was usually still asleep when I left for school.

 

***

 

I walked the longer route back home that day as I did most days. I didn’t have to worry about being home in time for dinner. There usually wasn’t any food on the table anyway. My mother never seemed to be hungry enough to cook anything, not even for me. But she must have been awfully thirsty because she always had a drink in her hand. As I got closer to home, the feeling of uneasiness began to grow inside me with great intensity. I entered through the back door, which was closer to my room to avoid passing by my mother. I didn’t want to catch her in one of her moods. This particular day, however, my plan to avoid my mother did not work. She was in my room when I had gotten home from school.

She was screaming and enraged. I froze before the doorway. Everything in the room had been moved from its place. I am still not sure what had made her go into my room and move everything around. That didn’t matter. What mattered was she found my drawings on the wall and was absolutely furious. She had also found my tin can and thrown it to the floor; crayon pieces were everywhere. She was scraping the paint off of the wall with some tool from the junk drawer. I was so distraught I had not noticed my mother had turned around and was saying something to me.

She screamed, “I know I told you never to mark these walls! How dare you! How dare you disobey me?!” “I’m sorry, Momma. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I didn’t mean –”

My mother interrupted me by raising her hand and then I was on the ground. I wasn’t sure if the ringing in my ear was from her screaming or the impact of the blow. She had gone back to removing the paint, even carving out some pieces of dry wall.

Still on the ground, I was crouched over, motionless. I looked around the room. I didn’t know what I was looking for, or if I was looking for anything at all. On the carpet, not too far from my reach, I noticed the tiny bit of blue crayon I had used to finish my blue sky. I quickly stretched out my arm to grab it. I clutched it in my hand and shoved it into my front jean pocket.

English Exercise 2

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