Anger Gives Mandy a Clear Voice

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Mandy is the youngest of the kids in her neighbourhood and often feels voiceless when facing the other kids.

Submitted: June 20, 2017

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Submitted: June 20, 2017

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Mandy rushed to the living room as the phone rang, stumbling on her school backpack left on the floor on her way downstairs.

 

”Hi Mandy, it’s Luce, been a while. We wanted to head to the beach and play some volleyball with the guys. Can we borrow your ball? You can tag along, if you want.” Lucy and Mandy lived on the same street but hadn’t talked in two years.

 

“Hey. Yeah you can borrow the ball but I don’t feel like getting sandy.” Mandy’s voice became even higher than her normal pitch, fluctuating like the cry of a squeaking mouse.

 

“Great, I will be at your place in ten minutes” said Lucy, leaving Mandy unsure whether the 'great' was in response to the ball, or to her not coming.

 

She looked through the window to find another sunny and windy Spring afternoon on top of an empty street. Maybe we are getting too old to play ball running up and down the street, Mandy thought. Mandy never liked volleyball, team sports or really any ball games for that matter. Most of the time she did not even know where her own glowing ball was. Back in her room she found the ball in a corner, pressed between the wall and the left leg of her writing desk. It was fluorescent yellow; the kind no one else would ever have or mistake for their own. Back in school the balls were mostly conventional white ones, the kind that break and get replaced without anyone noticing.

 

Mandy was the only kid on her street with a volleyball, but now at the age of 12 she had no more friends living on her street. That did not bother her, as Mandy had good friends at school and many more in her theater classes, where she spent most afternoons. Her friends from theater class would rather tell jokes and funny stories than play ball, which made them the best friends Mandy had. She kept the ball by her side as she went back to watching Bill Nye the Science Guy.

 

Ten minutes later the bell rang and Mandy threw the ball to Lucy through the fence. Lucy is a fully-developed 15-year-old, with a proper waist, mid-sized breasts and pimples on her face. Mandy puts her hands on her small rounded belly and feels the weight of being three years younger, the youngest of the street kids.  

 

”I’ll bring it back later today, ok?” Lucy said.

 

“Sure”, Mandy replied timidly, aware that Lucy would get the same answer from her no matter what she had asked.

Years before, when Mandy was around eight or nine years old, she played a lot with Lucy, Daniel, and the other kids from the neighborhood.

 

But that was before the incident of the summer of 95.

 

Lucy had done many stupid things before, but nothing that bad. Once, she tried to steal Mandy’s doll’s dresses. Alice, the cool girl who watched Mandy while her parents were away, was the one who saw it and told Mandy to go get her. “How could someone play with you at your place, take your things and not expect to get caught?” Mandy thought in sadness. But the other kids from the neighborhood had never done anything stupid. At least not until the Summer of 95. After that episode, Mandy knew that it was best to stay away from those kids.

 

Most kids from the neighborhood loved Mandy’s house as it had its own swimming pool. Some other people on the street also had swimming pools, but they did not want to have anything to do with kids. So many of the kids befriended Mandy for a free pass to her swimming pool. It is not like Mandy was not cool or fun, she was all of that. But why on Earth would a 13-year-old girls be friends with a nine-year-old? That was not really obvious to Mandy back then, at least not until the big fat cruddy thing happened.

 

So what was this summer trouble? Mandy and her family were out of town for a couple of weeks during summer break. Some of the kids fancied a swim in the pool. So much that they started breaking into Mandy’s house to go for a swim. However, during their little summer breaking-and-entering, they also ended up breaking Mandy’s beloved trampoline. Not exactly smart if you do not want to get caught. But hey, these were kids, not pros. A family relative caught them, and Mandy’s parents spoke to all of the kids’ parents. And of course to Mandy.

 

”Mandy, you know, when we were away, Lucy, Marianne, Leonard and Sarah broke into our house to use the pool. Oh, and they also broke the trampoline”.

 

She did not cry, as she never did. She just said ”ok” with the weakest and slowest sound, a sound certainly not reproducible by another human being. Even Mandy was surprised by her involuntary reply. It wasn’t ok. That was the first time in her life that Mandy felt like a helpless trapped mouse.

 

So after that, no more friends in the neighbourhood for Mandy. There are plenty of people in the world, I can replace them with better ones.” she thought.

 

So, back to her glowing yellow yellow ball. A few hours later on the same spring day, the phone rang.

 

”Mandy, it’s Luce. We were playing and Richard hit the ball too far into the water. We tried to get it, but it was too far out. You know we didn’t mean to lose it though, right Mandy? We will get you a new one.”

 

Are you crying?”

 

”No” Mandy said, aware of once again sounding like a crushed mouse, despite being practically foaming at the mouth. No, Mandy was not crying. How could she think I would actually cry over a BALL? Mandy thought. As Mandy hung up, she could hear in her mind Lucy’s voice laughing at her, and regretted not having said more to Lucy on the phone. No, she was not crying and she did not care about the ball, but once again she felt made a fool of by Lucy. The three years that separated Mandy from Lucy felt like three sharp stones in her mouth blocking her from saying anything aloud.

 

A few days passed, then weeks, and still no ball. Sitting on the couch watching Pinky and the Brain, Mandy suddenly wished she would just call Lucy and ask about the ball. She was not afraid of calling, she knew the worst that could happen would be that she’d get some little lie, that the older kids might laugh at her, and she might once again sound like a squeaking mouse. But then again, she did not even want to be friends with these kids anymore. Mandy was angry, and for the first time she could understand how strong she really was. She was no mouse, but rather a poisonous rat. The rage of not being heard made her more incandescent than any other kid. And that sudden self-awareness heated her head and turned her face red.

 

But then again, playing ball was never her thing. What would she do with a new ball? Donate it to the school? Give it away as a birthday present to a friend? Break it on Lucy’s bedroom window? Smash it in Lucy’s face? Light it on fire and accidently throw it at Lucy? Set Lucy’s hair on fire? Set Lucy’s house on fire?

 

Mandy slowly rolled off the couch and left the house for a walk around the block, grabbing a matchbox from the table on her way out. She bumped into Lucy two blocks away, in front of Daniel’s house.

 

“Hi Lucy, I’ve been thinking, instead of getting me a new volleyball it would be more more useful for me if you got me a Uno card deck. It is also cheaper so it is a win-win situation,” said Mandy, this time completely able to keep her voice at an even pitch as she stared Lucy in the eye.

 

“Is that even a thing? Where would we find this geeky thing of yours?” Said Lucy, as she glared at Mandy.

 

“You could also just give me five dollars and I’ll get it myself.”

 

“Ok, well Mandy I need to check with the others. I’ll get back to you once we have the money.”

 

“Perfect, I will just knock on your door tonight to get the money. I am sure your parents can also loan you the money if you haven’t been able to collect it by then. You know, it has been a while.”

 

Mandy turned her back and snickered as she imagined how much she had annoyed Lucy. She kept walking a few blocks, walking all the way up to Lucy’s house. It was a warm Wednesday afternoon and the suburban streets were empty, even as the houses exploded with the whirring of the A/C. Mandy picked a stone from Lucy’s backyard, threw it furtively at Lucy’s window and ran back home as fast as she could, passing Lucy on her way, with a big fat smile on her face.

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Aline Rauh Muller. All rights reserved.

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