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The Tower of Toronto

“What if I’m alone forever?” the narrator wonders when her mother isn’t waiting at the bus stop

Boom! Crackle! It was dark and rainy, and as the clouds cried, lightning flashed through the sky like a gun being fired. The sky darkened. But in our school bus, there were always rays of sunshine. Our school bus wasn’t really a school bus, but more like a van. That didn’t really bother me and my friends, because we were always busy doing things to pass time. We did things together, like homework, or played truth or dare, or even watched movies on my friend’s phone.

But like always, people would start to get dropped off and disappear like cookies from the cookie jar until it was just me and my friend Gabby.

“Don’t you ever get lonely when it’s only you on the van?” Gabby asked.

“Sometimes, but not really,” I said. But inside I knew that I was always lonely when it was just me. She looked at me with her eyebrows up in her questioning way, like she was searching for what I was really feeling.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” she asked me again.

“Yes, I’m okay. Really, I am,” I said reassuringly. We stopped in front of her house, and as she was about to. leave she said, “Well, I’ll see you Monday. Bye!”

“Bye,” I said as she shut the door. As we were leaving, I looked through the window and saw her bright polka-dot umbrella open up and bloom like a flower as she walked toward her building.

The van grew quiet without the voices of the jokers and the happy. All there was now was stillness and quiet. I had nothing to do but sit. Why am I always the last one? I thought. I leaned on the window and looked outside, only to find cars driving by—where they are going is left a mystery to everyone but the person who’s driving. On the sidewalk, there wasn’t a single soul to be seen. It was also a beautiful sight with raindrops that would water the plants and the wind that would tickle your neck until you put on your scarf or zipped up your jacket. But the darkness that hid behind this beauty was in the thunder’s booms and crackles that would scare cats and dogs, making their hair stand on end.

As we reached my stop, my eyes searched through the field of rain for my mother’s bright-green and white umbrella that would be wrapped in her warm hands. But I couldn’t find her. Maybe it’s because it’s too dark to see. She must be somewhere around here, I thought. So I asked the driver if I could go outside to see if she was coming. I went outside in my black raincoat and looked for her. I still didn’t see her. I wouldn’t accept the fact that she wasn’t there, so I decided to look for her.

I went up the block to see if she was just arriving from the supermarket, but I didn’t see her. I went down the block to see if she was turning the corner on our street, but she wasn’t. As much as I wanted to believe that my mom was somewhere here, I had to accept that she wasn’t. No matter where I looked, how much effort I put into finding her, how long I waited, she wasn’t there, period.

I shook my head, though I knew that wouldn’t help the situation. Where could she be? I wondered. What can she be doing that is more important than picking me up, that she would just leave me here? A sea of questions with unknown answers filled my head as if this problem were a puzzle that I couldn’t solve. I heard the van roar to life and drive away, leaving me behind. Fear fell upon me. I felt like an ant in a world full of darkness.

The only thing I could do was walk up the stairs and wait till someone got me. As I walked up the stairs, I thought, What if no one gets me? What if I’m alone forever? As I reached the top step, I plopped down and sat as if on command. I stared past the field of rain, past the buildings and into nothing. My eyes stung as tears tried to make their way down my cheeks.

It felt like the time when I was small and my mom was busy with work and my brothers never seemed to notice me and would never play with me. It felt depressing with no one there to give me the love I needed, no one to give me comfort. With no one to talk to and no one to play with, I had to accept the fact that I was alone, and no one would be there. But I didn’t accept the fact that I’d just be by myself and sad for the rest of my life. I knew that my mom was busy, but I knew that she still loved me and that my brothers just acted like boys. Still, after a while, I wanted to have a sister, a person I could play with because I couldn’t just keep playing with myself forever. I asked my mom if I could have a sister, and she said that I’d have to pray hard if I wanted one. I never gave up on that dream. I had hope, and on March 13, 2012, my sister was born.

Voices I knew well interrupted my thoughts. I turned around in joy to find my siblings coming out of the building and my grandma behind them, scolding them for making too much noise.

“Mommy went to buy something, so she told us to pick you up. We were kinda late because Aja and Ernest were playing around,” my sister said.

“No, that was Ernest who was playing around, not me!” my brother Aja said.

“No, that was you!” my brother Ernest said. I rolled my eyes at them as they began to fight about whose fault it was and wrapped my sister into a tight hug.

“Never do that again,” I whispered in my sister’s ear.

“I won’t. I promise,” she said.

Ugochinyere Agbaeze
Ugochinyere Agbaeze, 11
New York, NY

Justine Chu
Justine Chu, 12
Fremont, CA