I wake up to a crackling sound. I feel suffocated.
The sheets are tucked in around me, not the way I left them last night. I realize that the crackling sound is coming from downstairs.
I sit up and yawn, take a big breath and smell the bacon.
"Good morning, Ada Sunshine," is what my aunt says when I make an appearance at the kitchen every morning. I am dressed in normal, everyday clothes. Nothing special, or for a fancy occasion.
She acts as if this morning is the same as any other, like we didn't get the worst news of our lives yesterday. As if nothing has changed.
"Good morning," I say coldly after I am in my seat. I don't really mean to be cold, but it comes out that way.
She walks around the kitchen a bit more, flipping pancakes and closing jars and ziploc bags before saying, "I thought you might like to have a little extra time to get ready this morning. The bus comes at 6:30, but I made other arrangements." I look at the clock. I already missed it by 15 minutes.
"Thank you. But what time will these "other arrangements" get here by?"
"7. School starts at 7:30. 'Kay?" I nod my head, but realized that her back is still towards me. So I say, "Okay."
After I finish eating and have my backpack packed and ready to go, it is 7:00 sharp. And I hear the shifting of gravel coming from the long driveway in front of the house.
Aunt Sandra walks me to the door, lingering in the frame as a silver car, I don't know what kind, pulls up in front of the little yellow house. I turn, wave to her, and walk to the passenger's side to open the door.
It's a boy. He has long brown hair and green eyes. His teeth are perfectly straight and smiling at me as I sit down. He has a blue polo shirt on, the kind where it would be easy to flip up the collar, but would look terrible. He looks easy, comfortable from where I'm sitting. I can see Aunt Sandra smirking from the door, watching the two of us in this tiny, enclosed space. The boy takes his hand off the steering wheel and holds it out to me- a peace offering.
"Hey. My name is Henry." Acting as cordial as I could muster up on the spot, I shake his hand.
"Pleasure to meet you, Ada." And with that, we start backing down the driveway.