Home by Julie Feferman
The house shakes like an earthquake from all the yelling. I remember sitting in my bedroom, wondering if one day the walls would decide they’ve had enough and just collapse. My door is tightly shut, but the yelling, cussing, and screaming still seem to flood right in. The harsh noises seem to pierce through my ears, and I begin to think of a way out, an escape from this suffocation. But where? Anywhere but here I decide. Quietly emerging out of my room, I tiptoe past the noise and slip carefully outside. Immediately, the cold air fills my lungs. I make my way down the driveway and remember how much I’ve always loved watching the sunset. I knew I shouldn’t be out here, but instead doing my homework diligently, pretending not to hear the chaos downstairs. What a joke.
I sit down on the frigid concrete by the side of the road, thinking about life. I’ve always been very good at zoning out, but this time, my daydream was abruptly interrupted by the sound of wailing sirens somewhere.“Gosh it’s cold out here”, I think to myself. The icy wind causes my hair to swing in several directions as I look out onto the busy street, watching cars drive by. But even all this commotion seems more peaceful than inside. Shivering, I glance up at the sky and watch the bright pink and orange clouds move swiftly in the wind. The bright, cheerful colors reflect on the window of the house across the street. Suddenly the window lights up, and the room fills with people. I watch as a family laughs and hugs around the dinner table. No one is yelling. No one is crying. And no one feels trapped inside their own home, feeling suffocated by their own family. They seem genuinely happy, and I can’t help but wonder what that’s like.
It was getting dark out, but I wasn’t ready to go back. I decided to go to The Hill. Making my way across the street, I pass the same house, imagining myself being a part of that family. I keep walking, and eventually a hill comes into sight. The hill that my brother and I used to go sledding on, the hill that I would climb a thousand times and pretend to be on top of the world, I used to think that hill was the top of the world. But it seemed so small now. A lot of things did. Once at the top, I sat down on the damp grass and watched the cars race by. I must have been out there for a while, because it was completely dark when I heard a familiar voice behind me. My mom sat down next to me, and that’s when I realized that no family is perfect, but I’m lucky to have mine.