The Road Home: Chapter 7| September 25, 2019
It takes a few days for me to realize something about this new house. Sissika is not here. She didn’t come. We didn’t bring her
I am wrapped in the edge of the white billowy curtains by the big bay window. Sissika is with me, and we’re standing together, watching as the car pulls up into the large circular driveway. A lady with a clipboard gets out, followed by a man and a woman. They are walking up to our front door.
Sissika grabs my hand and we run together to the big closet in the entryway. We slide open the door, slip inside, and then pull it closed along the track. I have no idea where Mommy is. But that’s okay, because Sissika is here.
I hear footsteps, the soft creak of the front door, voices, and then receding footsteps. Sissika and I stand together in the dark, hiding and waiting. I don’t know what we’re hiding from, but it has to do with those people. And we are waiting for them to leave.
The footsteps draw near again and so do the voices. Suddenly the closet door is sliding open, and the lady with the clipboard is standing right in front of us.
“And this is a nice-sized hall closet. You can keep all your coats and boots and other accessories in here,” she’s saying. She doesn’t seem to see me or Sissika. The couple peers in after her and looks around, murmuring something about the size. Although they are looking straight at us, they don’t smile at us or even acknowledge us, seeming to see right through us. Sissika has always been invisible to everyone except me, but now I am invisible too!
The people turn to walk away, and then the clipboard lady slides the closet door closed, as if we are not even in there. Sissika and I share a secret smile.
The new house is called a ranch. It’s all spread out on one floor — no stairs. I guess that’s what they have in Texas. I’m not involved with any of the unpacking. But I am involved in the exploring. The house has a beautiful yard and nice plate-glass windows in the front door. Mommy warns me to be careful of fire ants, whatever those are, but I don’t listen and I walk outside barefoot. Soon I am screaming and there are huge ants biting my feet and legs. I have to soak my legs in buckets of cold water. And I will forever bear the scars of that misadventure.
It takes a few days for me to realize something about this new house. Sissika is not here. She didn’t come. We didn’t bring her. When Mommy asks where my imaginary friend is, I tell her that she was not imaginary. “She didn’t want to come,” I say. But in my heart, I wonder if we forgot to pack her.
[Sissika, if you are reading this, please tell me what happened to you! Are you grown up too? Are you also a writer? What are you doing with your life?]
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 779)
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