As every typical morning, I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 5:55. I wasn’t the type of person who had a major problem with getting up early. I dressed in a sports T-shirt and my long soccer shorts I had laid out on the floor before I went to bed yesterday. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much floor to speak of; my room was the smallest bedroom in the house and was constantly covered with clothes. Being a soccer player didn’t leave room for free time, including simple chores and tasks.
I walked down the mahogany stairs and landed right by the living room. Our house was your normal cookie-cutter domain that would fit in just about any suburban neighborhood. It was more modest in size, leading to a slightly cramped environment. We made enough money, but we didn’t aspire to mansions. It was an ordinary life in an ordinary house.
Upon reaching the living room I was greeted by my babysitter, Carrie. My parents were on a business trip somewhere in Europe for their job—low-level lawyers for international corporations. Since they were going to be gone for a week and didn’t trust me and my sister to look after ourselves, my mother hired Carrie to watch us.
She was only slightly taller than me and only slightly older. She had dirty blond hair, turquoise eyes, and a smile that seemed all too fake. Almost every day she had a shirt with her favorite band on it, Green Day. Sometimes it was the same shirt. Combined with an overly-caring attitude, Carrie came off as a very annoying individual.
She looked up at me and gave me that fake smile of hers.
“I hope you’re hungry,” she said, “I made my special pancakes this morning!”
Carrie’s knowledge of cooking was on par with that of a first grader and her Easy-Bake oven. Carrie made pancakes almost every other day.
“Oh goodie,” I said with mock happiness.
“Good to know, because I made three, just for you!”
It was hard, but I managed to put on a smile. “Oh joy.”
I brushed past her and took off at a brisk pace down the hallway to the kitchen. It was pretty small, with only just enough room for a little square table and four chairs. The refrigerator had to go into the living room. The kitchen’s color scheme wasn’t what we had wanted: it was a very light blue with gray stripes. The staff at the Home Depot down the street appeared to have been colorblind.
My sister Stacy was already slowing chewing on her share of pancakes. She looked like she might be getting sick.
Stacy was only a grade below me, going to the same school as well. She had blonde hair cut short just above her neck, brown eyes with sharp facial features, and was about a head shorter than me. We never really bickered and argued as most sister-brother relationships ended up being, but instead we were pretty polite to each other.
I sat next to her at the table. My eyes were still adjusting to the light and my voice was groggy from lack of sleep.
“Too many pancakes,” she sighed. “It’s fun having a babysitter, huh?”
I nodded. “I used to love ‘em, now I hate ‘em.”
“The pancakes or babysitters?’
I shrugged. “Pick either one, I feel generous.”
I took one bite of one of my pancakes, then immediately felt nauseous.
“Never mind… it’s the pancakes.” Way too many pancakes… my body starved for something different.
“You got soccer today?” she asked me.
“Yeah, just after school lets out. Why do you care?”
“Oh, I’m just having some of my friends over. I wouldn’t want your ugly face around here to scare people off, y’know.”
“Funny,” I said with a weak smile. I didn’t have the same amount of energy today. Whether that was a result of sleep deprivation or the pancakes I didn’t know. I had a suspicion that I was about to find out.
I took a glance at Stacy, who looked even worse than she did a minute ago.
“Hey, don’t tell me you’re thinking about going to school like that.”
“I have a big test today. I don’t want to make it up, especially on a Friday.” Her face seemed to have become completely pale when she said this.
“I think you should take a day off,” I advised.
She sighed and looked at me with annoyance. “You know Carrie will be all over me if I so much as cough.”
“Then fine. Just stay away from the pancakes,” I said, smiling.
After drinking some milk and cleverly dumping my pancakes under some trash in the garbage bin, I headed upstairs into the bathroom. I looked into the mirror; my short brown hair was mainly flat, but stuck up in some parts, my somewhat-green eyes were half-closed due to my lack of energy, and my face looked unblemished today; a rarity in high school.
I splashed some water on my head and hurriedly matted down my rebellious hair, lazily running a comb through. It didn’t really help much. For a while I stood looking at myself, thinking that I had gotten much older in just the span of a year.
Carrie eventually came upstairs to check on me and insisted that she brush my teeth. I kindly refused. After she insisted to apply my deodorant, I quickly said, “I have to head for the bus,” and moved even more quickly out the door, grabbing my Green Bay Packers sweatshirt on the way and slipping it on.
She shouted after me, “It’s only six thirty-three!” but I was already out the door and heading down to my stop, my feet pounding heavily on the pavement. I knew she meant well, but it came across as creepy sometimes… most times.
No other day could have been more commonplace. It was late into the fall season, with many of the trees decorated with various shades of red, yellow, and orange. A gentle breeze meandered down the street, picking up leaves from the ground and twirling them in miniature tornadoes. Out on the horizon, the sun was creeping onto a light blue sky, its rays just now beginning to travel down the length of the road.
I went down my street towards an intersection where two cul-de-sacs branched off from the main road. Well-groomed lawns and polished homes flanked me on either side, sunlight starting to shine on their innumerable colors and differing constructions. The weather and the accompanying surrounds gave off a very positive vibe, and it wasn’t long before I was able to forget about babysitter woes and sleep loss.