Shoe Step

I remember when my mom and my biological father used to get into a fight. I would go to my room, try to mute any commotion and start zoning off into another place in my head. It usually worked. I guess that’s why I still don’t really remember why they ever fought. After minding my own business in my room, escaping into my own little world, I’d be awakened back to reality by the sound of the front door slamming. Not surprised, it was my mom. She would always leave the house after a fight. She told me before not to worry. She did this because she needed air.

The house would always be cautiously silent after she had left. The next thing I would hear through the wall is my biological father flickering his cheap lighter to continue his chain-smoking that had been momentarily ceased due to the argument. That would be the cue for me to tiptoe towards the window. I believed my mom and my biological father had forgotten me by then.

Still young and short, my elbows would fit perfectly against the ledge of the window. I would be leaning against the window trying to see as far as possible out to the streets. I would be alerted by any shape of shadow I saw coming and any shoe steps I heard, expecting it to be my mom.

I specifically remember this one night. Usually I would be exhausted from being so anxious of waiting upon her arrival. But that one night felt different. I saw the warm contrast of the moonlight and the streetlight lighting up the neighborhood. I heard the tree leaves rustling from the cool night air harmoniously with a cricket’s melody . I felt the fresh breeze brushing my cheeks every now and then. Waiting did not feel like waiting that night. Forgetting how long she had been gone, I had been immersed in the night, in a moment of timelessness.

Not knowing how long the night has gone by, I heard her gradual shoe steps, saw her shadow getting closer to the house and finally the sound of the front door closing. She always came back. It was just a matter of time.

That night, relieved, I tucked myself in bed with a big smile.

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