Can You Pick Me Up?
By Lela Smith – Originally published in Queensbury High School’s Seeing Blue, 2020.
Dad, can you pick me up?
Everyone’s loud, but altogether it’s too quiet. Everything’s blending together, but the boy right next to me is talking right in my ear, right to my brain, drilling a whole in my head painfully slowly. It all comes too close and stretches too far all at once.
Mom, can you come get me?
I can hear voices downstairs. The house echoes everything we touch, I know you feel it too, you have to. My finger prints bounce off the walls forever. It drowns my ears, but it’s not loud enough to drown out the voices downstairs. They’re not meant for me. Too bad. I’m what they’ll get.
Are you okay? You haven’t answered my texts. You don’t have to come get me, I know you like it better at home. But just distract me for a bit. A joke? Maybe something you heard today at the bus stop, something meant for someone else. Just a hello, quick and simple? I’d settle for your grocery list.
Eggs. Bread. Milk. Cheezits.
You shouldn’t get the milk. Makes you gassy. Hah. that’s a fun word. Gassy.
Your grocery list just ended, and I’m all out of jokes. So the echoes close in on me now. This house is so quiet it’s deafening. There are so many people I’m all by myself.
Or I was. I’m really alone now. I’m drenched in sweat, bolted up in bed, and I’m all alone.
But it doesn’t feel like it. Or it does, but in the bad way. I’m alone, but I’m not me-time alone, I’m psycho shower scene alone. I’m lamb for the slaughter.
Nobody’s here now. Not Mom. Not Dad. Especially not you. You like it better at home. That’s ok. I do too.
I like it better alone.