I walked out of room then out of the house and headed home. On getting to my house which is just a few houses away, I met the whole house in darkness. I opened the door gently with my own keys. I removed my shoes and once my eyes got accustomed to the darkness, walked quietly to my room in order to not awaken my mum. She always had a hard day at the laundromat where she works.
I dropped my bag and shoes beside my bed and laid down on the bed. I was so tired to the extent that the moment my head touched my pillow, I slept off.
“Michelle!” Mrs. O’Connor called, “Michelle Emily O’Connor come here this instant.”
Ugh. I groaned. This is so not good. Mum never calls me my full name unless I’m in deep shit.
“Coming!”I yelled back.
I removed my headphones from which I was listening to Adele’s Hello, picked up only my phone and headed towards the sitting room.
It was Sunday morning. The day after the… You know what? I don’t even want to think about it.
I entered the sitting room and met my dad reading his usual morning newspaper. Mum was sitting with a magazine beside her on the couch. Her arms were crossed over her chest. Mum’s arms are only crossed whenever either I or my elder brother, Max was in trouble.
“Morning Mum, Dad” I greeted.
“Morning dear,” Dad replied without taking his eyes off the newspaper.
Mum didn’t answer me. Rather she threw me the You’re-so-in-trouble-look.
I sat down on the couch opposite mum’s.
“What was yesterday all about Michelle?” Mum asked the very moment my butt touched the couch.
I decided to play dumb. “Just a sleepover party for a few friends,” I replied, though I knew she was talking about the incident with the scholarship girl.
Mum frowned. “Why did you treat that poor girl in such a manner?”
I couldn’t understand how mum had gotten to know about the incident. Then, I glanced at Mrs. Jones who was standing a few feet away, and saw her look guiltily at me then lower her gaze.
That tattler. She’s so in trouble.
“Which manner mum? I only did the right thing by telling her that she couldn’t sleep on the bed so that she won’t dirty it. That’s all.”
“That was wrong and cruel of you, Michelle. You shouldn’t treat your fellow human being in such manner. It’s pure wickedness.”
“It’s not wickedness mum. I was just doing the right thing.”
“The right thing? You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Mum said and rolled her large eyes. I got my eyes from her.
“That was a very wrong act. Don’t let the fact that we are rich get to your head and make you nefarious and obnoxious.”
Ugh, there it is again. Two words the SG had said which I don’t even know their meanings.
“Haven’t you heard that wealth has wings? Though I don’t pray for it but don’t you know that one day, all this wealth can just disappear? My dear I’m this world we are, we have to treat people well because we don’t know where we’ll meet them in the future,” Mum admonished.
“That’s bullshit mum. Wealth doesn’t have wings. And in this selfish world of ours, only the selfish survives,” I countered.
Mum shot me a glare. “Watch your language, young lady.”
“Sorry mom,” I muttered.
“You’re wrong Michelle. In this selfish world, only the generous and kind survives. That’s why we have to be kind to people.”
“I disagree mum. So you’re trying to tell me to be kind to poverty-stricken people like that scholarship girl? No way. God forbid,” I said with my voice slightly raised .
Mum looked at me in shock . She didn’t even know what to say anymore. She turned to dad. “Honey, can you hear what our daughter is saying?”
“Uhn uhn,” Dad replied with his face still buried in the newspaper.
“Edward! Your daughter is here saying gibberish and all you can say is ‘uhn uhn’?” Mum shouted.
Dad finally raised his head from the newspaper. “Michelle listen to your mum and be nice to the less privileged.”
“That’s nonsense. They aren’t in our class and they shouldn’t be treated well.”
“Michelle why are you this stubborn? What do you have against the poor?”
“Everything mum, everything. They’re just too disgusting for my liking.”
“Disgusting? Do you think they are happy with their poverty? No they aren’t. They also want to be rich but not all fingers are equal. That’s why you have to treat them well.”
“I won’t mum and that’s final.” I said as I stood up and left for my room.
“Michelle come—” Mum started but she was cut off by dad. “Let her be Barbara. She’ll still change.”
Change my foot, I thought.
I climbed up the stairs and met my brother, Max coming down.
“Hey Michelle,” he greeted.
I didn’t answer. I just nodded in his direction. I was too angry to answer. I passed him and I could feel his gaze on me. He must be wondering what was wrong because we are close buddies and I’ve never answered his greeting with a nod.
I turned around. “Morning Max.”
“Morning. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing” I answered.
He turned and continued down the stairs while I headed to my room to continue listening to my music.
I yawned as I turned and looked at the wall clock. It was six o’clock. Time to get ready for school.
Yeah it was monday morning. The day I’m to perform that stupid dare. I’d already perfected my plan, though it wasn’t the first plan I had had, but it was a better and much more evil plan.
I knelt down, said my prayers, stood up and went to shower. I came out with a towel tied on my chest and an old shirt tied on my wet hair.
I dressed up in a blue turtleneck blouse, black jeans and black sneakers, put on some lipstick which I’d brought with the dress and shoes, picked my backpack and headed to the kitchen where I met my mum drinking her usual early morning coffee.
“Morning mum,” I greeted as I went to her and pecked her cheeks.
“Morning my princess. How was your night?”
“It was fine, mum,” I replied as I went to the cupboard and grabbed a bowl and box of cereal. I then went to the small but efficient refrigerator and took a carton of milk. I took everything to the kitchen table, set them down and sat on the chair opposite mum.
I poured some cereal into the bowl, added milk and stirred it.
After taking a spoonful, I looked up at mum and that’s when I noticed the dark circles under mum’s eyes.
“Mum you’re overworking yourself. It’s not good for your health, you know,” I said with concern in my voice.
“I’m not dear,” Mum countered.
“You are mum. Do you want to be like dad?” I asked and felt tears rush to my eyes as I remembered my dad. That very loving and caring man. Very handsome too. I got my blue eyes and one-cheeked dimple from him.
It had been a very great loss when he’d died. Dad was very hardworking and was trying all his best to make sure I and mum lived comfortably. Being a non-educated man, he did a lot of meager works like carpentry, cleaning, messenger and janitor just to make sure we had food on the table.
He was a workaholic to the extent that he rarely ate breakfast and one day he’d forgotten to put on his pants when going to work. Fortunately, I’d seen him before he’d left the house.
It was his being workaholic that had led to his demise. That fateful day, dad had looked pale and mom had insisted on his staying at home but being the stubborn person dad was, he’d insisted on going. It was while in work that he’d fainted and on being rushed to the hospital had been diagnosed with typhoid fever, overstress and ulcer caused by not eating well.
Mum had been told to bring two hundred dollars for treatment. Where would mum get such a huge amount of money? Mum tried her best but was only able to get a hundred dollars but by that time, it was too late. Dad had passed away.
I cleaned the tears off my eyes and I saw that tears was already on the brim of my mum’s eyes.
We both missed him but what could we do? God giveth and taketh. I put my left hand on the table and put it in mum’s hand to comfort her.
“Promise me you won’t overstress yourself anymore, mum.”
“I won’t, my princess, I won’t,” Mum answered as she squeezed my hand.
I looked at the time and saw that it was already quarter past seven. Assembly starts at eight.
Ugh, I don’t want to be late. I quickly disengaged my hand from mum’s and gulped down my cereal.
“Slow down Nat or you’ll choke on your food,” Mum cautioned. I slowed down a bit, finished my meal and went to wash my bowl at the sink.
I grabbed my backpack from where dropped it beside the kitchen chair, tossed my phone and earphone into it and carried it.
“Bye mum and don’t overstress yourself,” I said as I bent to peck my mum.
“Bye baby. I won’t. Love you,” Mum replied with a smile.
“Love you too.”
I walked out of the kitchen and out the door.
Glistering High here I come. And this time it’s not-so-gentle Natalie that’s coming, I whispered to myself with a huge grin on my face.
I was more than ready to face any bullshit!