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Heart-Pounding Drama

October 4th, 2006

Just as I sat down to write tonight, I heard the most bizare sound.   At first, I thought it was a cat.   Then I thought that it must be Kenny, except that it sounded like a small animal screaming.   I raced upstairs, and the sound became louder, more urgent, higher pitched and pretty close to terrifying.   I burst into Kenny’s room, but he was sound asleep; not even a snore or hiccup.

I’m alone in the house this evening, as Casey is working late again, and I started to think about how much of the day I was gone today.   And even with the alarm system and Dudley keeping guard, could there be a chance that someone was in the house?   Or did an animal manage to get in undetected through the dog door, get attacked by Dudley, and crawl into a wall to die a slow and terrible death?

I finally got the nerve to walk outside, because the sound was loudest by the laundry room door.   The screech continued, and I clutched onto Dudley’s fur, forcing myself to look around the corner.

And there next door, sitting in the dark on a porch swing, was the world’s sweetest thirteen-year-old kid, Justin, with a clarinet in his determined hands, furtively blowing into the mouthpiece  and emitting the sounds that horror movies are made of.   He saw me staring at him from the driveway and sheepishly lowered his instrument and his head, annd crouched further into the shadows.

I almost called out to him, to reassure him, to tell him it was ok if he practiced, I was just “checking on something” in the yard.   But I could see from his dejected frame that he was hoping that I couldn’t recognize  him in the darkness, and I decided that it would be best if I made a quiet exit.   This is a kid who lives with his grandparents, even though his own mom lives across town, and would do just about anything for anyone.   He is apparently a fantastic baseball player, recruited onto various traveling teams, and yet his Grandmother tells me that he’s bullied in school, that he secretly hurts from not knowing his Dad, and that he doesn’t have many friends.   He spends his free time practicing his pitching in the backyard and fishing off the pier, and helping his grandma with her enormous garden.  

My heart hurt as I watched him hiding on that porch tonight, no doubt banished from practicing in the house because of hte horrific racket he was making.   I wanted to walk over there, put an arm around him and tell him that the clarinet must be really hard to play, and that I didn’t mind if he practiced as long as he wanted.   I wanted to encourage him, tell him that he could be whatever he wanted to be, no matter what anyone told him, and that music was just as cool as baseball.   I wondered if he just needed a hug.   I pictured my little Kenny at thirteen; in between a kid and a grownup, caught in  the middle of  wanting to be a child and wanting to  be more, yet always knowing that Mom and Dad think he’s the greatest thing since sliced cheese.    And I wondered if anyone ever told Justin that.

So I’m back inside, locked up and settled in.   The only sounds are the washing machine and Dudley, whining because  his bone is stuck behind the couch.   It’s funny, but a part of me wants to wake up my little boy, just to tell him again that I love him.


  1. misha says

    that is so beautiful!

    October 5th, 2006 | #

  2. MommyBlog » Best of Intentions says

    […] he would talk to our next door neighbor, a sweet teenager whom I’ve actually written about here […]

    June 11th, 2009 | #

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