I Bet She'll Smell My Fear

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The house is quiet, and I'm alone with my thoughts. I can't believe I did this to her. I'm horrified of what she'll do to me in return. How am I going to get out of this alive?

Submitted: September 21, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 21, 2015

A A A

A A A


She’s going to do that thing again, that look that says “You’re crazy, and you should feel bad”. I’m already listening to that look, and she hasn’t even made it home yet.

The bin in the kitchen will be the beginning. She’ll come inside and go straight to the kitchen like she always does. Maybe she’ll finally start on those cookies she’s been promising me for a week. The bin will sit in its lonely corner of the room, waiting with my baited breath for her to open its lid. The look won’t come right away. Her face will be blank while she processes the contents of my plastic lined doom. Each shattered piece of betrayal will gather itself behind her mask of confusion until it forms the picture I so desperately want to keep hidden.

I broke her favorite vase.

She’ll turn and called my name softly, her slender hand holding the bin open as if to display my shame. I’ll pretend not to hear her. I’ll bury myself further into my favorite novel on the ghost of a prayer already unanswered that she’ll let it go before it begins.

She won’t.

My name will be called out more harshly, with all the authority of her motherhood. My full name, Rhynne Crystal Asad, will clap against my eardrums and march down my spine with painful electricity. I’ll sigh into my book and take my time finding a bookmark. She’ll wait for me. She’s patient.

I’ll slip one leg out from under the covers. One foot in the grave.

With a colossal shifting of courage and dread, the second foot will follow its partner. Immediately after will come my torso and head. It’s too fast. She’ll find the shards too quickly, and I’ll not be ready.

It’s ok. It’s ok. You’re fine… You’re going to be finefinefine.

I whisper this mantra to myself even now, watching hopelessly as the reel of my immediate future plays behind my eyelids.

Each footstep I make will beat the air as if the gong of Death were playing on my behalf. Its eerie music will follow me through the threshold of my bedroom, down the tiny hallway of our country home, and across the living room she keeps so meticulously clean for guests. At the edge of the kitchen where white carpet meets cool, cream colored tile my feet and the gong will come to a sudden stop, like the final heartbeat of some great beast of old at the hands of a knight errant.

She’ll turn, gesture silently at my shame, and give me the Look. Countless times she’s sent its devastation my way, but this is the first time I’ll feel its weight like a physical blanket on my shoulders. I’ll stammer my story out, tell her about our cat, Pru, who tangled herself in my legs. I’ll describe the dramatic way in which I fell backwards into the tiny table placed in the perfect viewing position that the vase called home. I’ll paint myself the heroic figure, describing my juggling attempts at catching it with as many grandiose adjectives as my yet developing mind can call up.

All the while she’ll be giving me that Look.

She’ll keep staring at me, waiting patiently for me to finish. I’ll start talking faster, coming up with a dozen reasons why I never meant to do this to her, never meant to fill that bin with the shards of my clumsiness. I’ll stumble, trail off…fall silent.

She’ll finally open her mouth and speak.

“…Why did you try to hide this?”

“I knew I’d get in trouble.”

“If you knew you’d get in trouble from the start, why did you think you’d be better off lying to me?”

“But I never lied! I just told you the truth!”

“No. What you did was break my vase, clean it up, and then try to hide the pieces under a pizza roll bag.”

“I…”

“You’ve really disappointed me.”

The words will hit me with all the force of an atomic bomb, metaphorically disintegrating every molecule of my body until it lay on the floor as little more than a bile of emotionally destroyed ash. I’ll hang my head, fighting tears, and wait for her to give me my punishment.

“You’re grounded for five months.”

No! I shake my head against that absurd number. Mom would never do that over a vase.

“You’re grounded for the next two weeks, and you’ll have to earn the money for another one.”

There. That makes more sense.

I blink against the blurred page of my novel and realize that I don’t remember what I’ve read. A humorless laugh bounces its way out of my parted lips. The house phone beside me beeps loudly, making me jump. Its battery is low. I stare at the little blinking icon and suddenly have an idea. She won’t find the shards in the trash because she’ll already know they’re there!

I swallow. Is this really a better idea? I’ll still be grounded. I’ll still be forced to give up the next three months of snack money to buy her another one. Maybe, though, just maybe, calling now can spare me the Look. I pick up the phone and press the speed dial before the excitement of revelation can desert me. The phone rings once, twice, and then clicks.

“What, honey? I’m at work.”

“Itrippedoverthecatandsmashedyourvase!”

“…wait, what?”

A deep breath. “I tripped over Pru, mom… I fell backwards and accidentally knocked over your vase.”

“…”

“Mom?”

“Thank you for calling and telling me right away, Brie.”

“You’re not mad..?”

“Of course I’m angry, but an accident is an accident.”

“Then…am I grounded?”

“No, not this time.”

“…really?!”

“Really, really. Now I’ve gotta go. And clean up the mess before I’m home. Carefully!”

“Yes ma’am!”

I hang up the phone in a daze. No Look, no disappointment, no grounding or payback. I feel as if I need to throw salt over my shoulder.

Pru takes that moment to push open my door and meow for food. I scowl at her but soon smile. One disaster was avoided today, but a million more lay in wait.

 


© Copyright 2020 Rhynne Asad. All rights reserved.

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