There was once a street with a long, golden road and all the shops on this particular street were always open and all the people in the shops were always friendly and there were smiles and colors everywhere you went. It was always the right weather and it was always there’s always plenty of time and no traffic. There were absolutely no dark alleys where gangs might hide. No one was rushed or angry and there were plants and all those plants were green.
Sadly, I made this up.
My name is Thalia Brown and I live on a street with long, muddy cracks in the sidewalk with musty shops that are usually closed and with all the people that are in the shops when they’re open are mean and there are scowls and lots and lots of gray wherever you go. It’s always either too hot or too cold or too rainy or too gray and there’s never time enough for anything and there’s always beeping horns and jammed traffic. Gangs hide in dark, twisting alleys and people are always in a hurry and always rushed. I’ve never once seen someone walking. And there are no plants. Zero, zip, none, nada. What so ever.
So you see what I mean when I say that there is never, ever going to be a street that’s perfect.
But one day things were different. Or as different as thing get around here.
I was walking, no joke, on the very muddy, dried up, cracked cement side walk when I saw something that I haven’t seen in the whole three years my family has been living here. I saw a blade of grass. A single green finger reaching up as if it were trying to touch the gray sky above me.
I knelt to get a closer look. I was about to stand up and run home to get a camera when I heard a noise that always means trouble. The bark of a great, big dog.
Roxy Winters is the only person on our run down old street that owns a dog. And that’s not a good thing. Roxy is big and mean and the worst gangster in town. His dog, Boulder, is big and mean and the scariest dog in town. Well, he’s probably the only dog in town, but he’s still big and mean.
Roxy and Boulder would for sure ruin this tiny slice of hope. Hope of a better, brighter town that would probably be gone the next day anyway when all the rush started back up again, but hope all the same. Roxy was that kind of person. The kind of wretched, terrible, twisted person that would never ever be good news or even close to that. And so I did the first thing that came to mind. I took out a pencil to dig out the tiny plant but Roxy and Boulder were too fast. They were already at the top of the hill. He smirked at me. I narrowed my brown eyes and flicked my blonde hair. He doubled over laughing. I didn’t know what to do next. And so I forgot about the plant and ran for home. Boulder bounded after me barking and nipping at my heels. I screamed. I am SUPER afraid of dogs, especially Boulder. I heard wicked peels of laughter from behind me that could only belong to Roxy.
At home I sat on my tiny bed in my tiny room and sulked. If it hadn’t been so good outside, my day would’ve been better. I flipped over onto my stomach and stared at my pillow.
“Thalia! Come downstairs, honey! It’s time for dinner!” I groaned and pulled my very flat pillow over my head. My mom’s voice didn’t stop. “THALIA! We need to talk!” I pulled my pillow away from my head and rolled off the bed, my feet landing with a THUNK on the floor. I sighed. I hate dinner and I hate talks. I only hate dinner because that’s when I have to talk to Natalie, my older sister who is almost very much as bad news as Roxy.
I trudged down the steps. Then sure enough, there was Natalie nose in her phone. There was mom, nose in her book. There was dad, staring into space doing absolutely nothing. They all looked up as I walked in. Natalie groaned.
“Mom, can’t she eat in her room? She’s so ANNOYING!” My mom smiled and shook her head. I knew what was coming.
“She’s part of the family, too Natalie.” This is the part where I become invisible. I slunk away to my chair and just sat there, waiting. Sometimes I wait for 10 minutes. Sometimes more. But this time I only waited about 2 before my mom turned to me.
“Thalia, babe, we’re going to send you to school when it starts up next week. My mouth slid open way far. I’d been homeschooled since preschool! Natalie went to Uptown High but I just like staying home and doing my work on the torn up brown sofa. They couldn’t send me to school!
“You’ll be really happy there, Thals,” I closed my mouth and looked away. Silent treatment. Or at least until they told me more. “You’ll be only a block away from Natalie so you can take the bus home from school together!” This time it was Natalie’s turn to gawk.
“What?! No, you can’t do that, dad! That’s torture!”
“Mom, really I like it at home!”
“Honey, we want you to make some friends!”
“You’ll get a better education there!”
Soon the whole family was yelling at me. There faces were red and I was just sitting there. I would never like this new school. EVER.
The next day was Tuesday, school supply shopping day. We bought clothes: stiff jeans and itchy t-shirts. We bought school supplies: mountains of notebooks, pencils, pens, calculators, erasers, and highlighters. When we finally got home, it was 8:30 at night.
Breakfast was bright and early Wednesday morning. Today was more shopping. We had forgotten paper, colored pencils, and a jacket. Also, apparently I needed some annoyingly tight long sleeved shirts.
We drove to Target all the way in Birkham which is, according to a 50 year old map, a whole 30 miles away. That’s 40 minutes in a small, hot, sweaty car with Natalie and mom.
Don’t forget to comment and tell me if you liked part one of this story and remember to check out the next part of Never Never.