Spoon of Sugar (23)
My dad came home from work late that night. Karen was already in bed and I hoped she was sleeping. I layed in bed awake until I heard the side door of the house shut and the sound of my dad’s shoes across the tile of our kitchen. I had layed awake waiting for him to come home but I never thought about what I was going to say.
I waited until it sounded as if my dad had settled in the living room and then slowly creeped to my bedroom door. I peered out and down the hall to make sure the coast was clear. From the shadows it appeared like my dad was eating at the kitchen counter. Maybe I needed a drink of water.
I made my way to the kitchen where I found my dad eating leftover spaghetti and meatballs.
He jumped. “You scared me. What are you doing up?”
He made a face as I reached for a cup. “You okay? Something wrong?”
“My bible is missing.”
“You’re what?” He pretended not to hear me and I instantly knew he was already aware.
“My bible. The one that my mom sent me. It’s missing. I’ve looked everywhere.”
“Oh. And you’re sure you didn’t take it somewhere?” he asked me without any sense of concern.
“It was on my bookshelf. I’ve only taken it off a few times and I put it right back.”
“Well, if you’ve only taken it out a few times, it obviously isn’t that important,” he said with some sarcasm.
I sat my cup in the sink and said, “it IS important”.
I started to walk away and he said, “you know, you really need to keep better track of your stuff”.
As I walked back down the hall to my room I said, “funny. That’s what Karen said too”.
“What was that?” he asked.
I didn’t respond. He heard me. I said it loud enough to make sure that he did. I realized that night that the only one who cared about how I felt or what I needed was me. I obviously needed to be more careful with things that I felt were important. Nothing was safe here. I couldn’t trust anyone.
The next morning I woke up to my alarm going off with faint sounds of arguing coming from the kitchen. This was odd, I was usually alone. My dad and Karen had obviously been arguing for quite some time. Karen still hadn’t gotten ready for the day and my dad was already late for work. He stormed out of the side door and backed his car out of the driveway just as I made my way to the kitchen for some cereal. I sat in silence eating as Karen hurried through the house. As I rinsed my bowl the hiccups began.
Who knew that the spasms of one’s diaphragm could set off such a series of unfortunate events?
These weren’t just any ole hiccups. These were the kind of painful hiccups that cause you to convulse, the ones that make you lose your breath and beg for mercy. I’d had these before once, when I had gotten really upset. It was horrible. I couldn’t go to school like this. I couldn’t even breathe. The agony made me do something I’d later regret. I asked Karen for help.
She didn’t know of anything that could cure hiccups, but she shared something her mom use to do. A spoonful of sugar not only helps the medicine go down, but it also helps to ease the pain of hiccups. At least that’s what Karen claimed. She got the heavy sugar canister off the top of the refrigerator and set it on the kitchen counter. I got out a tablespoon and swallowed the sugar. I sat in agony for what seemed like forever, but then the hiccups started to fade. Whether the sugar helped or not didn’t matter, I thought it did. What happened if they came back while I was in school? Karen already had the answer to that. She took a tablespoon of sugar and poured it into a baggy for me. She slid the baggy of sugar into the outside pocket of my backpack. If the hiccups came back while I was at school, I’d be set.
School was rather uneventful for most of the morning and by the time we were working on math I had completely forgotten all about my horrible hiccups. But just before the bell rang for recess, they started up again. My hiccups were so loud that the boy sitting next to me looked over and giggled. The bell rang, I reached down in my backpack, grabbed my baggy of sugar and headed out of the classroom door.
With the baggy in hand I headed down the hall. A few of my friends stopped me to ask if I wanted to play basketball. I told them I would but I had to stop in the bathroom first. They shot me some strange looks and ran off. When I got in the bathroom I unloaded the entire baggy of sugar into my mouth, made sure I didn’t have any on my face and shoved the baggy into my pocket. I got a drink from the water fountain and waited for my hiccups to subside, but by the time that happened recess was over.
About halfway through History my teacher’s telephone rang. She sat there talking for a few moments and kept looking in my direction. It was making me uncomfortable. Not only was she looking at me, but the other kids in my class had noticed it too. After hanging up she motioned to me. I walked to her desk and she told me I was needed in the principal’s office. She handed me a hall pass and sent me on my way. As I passed by my desk she said “you might want to take your stuff with you”. That was never a good sign and everyone knew it. The whole class stared at me as I grabbed my things and made my way out of the classroom.
I walked into the front office and handed my hall pass to the school secretary. She told me to take a seat and that my parent’s were on their way.
They are? What for?
The door to the principal’s office was cracked open and I could see a sliver of her sitting at her desk. She looked upset. She finished up a phone conversation and glanced over to see me sitting outside her door. She got up and walked over.
She shut her door.