“April? April, where are you?” My mother is looking for me, her voice growing more worried by the second. I’m in my closet, hidden under a bunch of pillows and blankets. The door is slightly cracked, with light peeking through. My earbuds are in my ears, but not on, so I can still hear her voice.
She opens the closet door and sits down on the ground next to me. She speaks in a soft, soothing voice, barely above a whisper, “Hey, angel. Did you have a bad day at school again?” I nod. “Were the kids picking on you again?” Another nod. “Well, I put the kettle on for some caramel coffee. Would you like some?” One more nod. “If you want some, you’re going to have to come out to get it. You know the rules.” I sigh, and unwrap myself from my cocoon.
My mother stands up to stretch, and as she does, the phone rings. I follow her out to the kitchen, where she picks up the phone and takes out two coffee mugs. The door opens and my little sister, Autumn runs in, already in her soccer clothes. She grabs a banana from the fruit basket and runs upstairs to her room, only stopping to pet our cat, Lucifer, on the head.
My mom sighed into the phone, “Yes, I know, Avery, it’s just that with April’s birthday coming up, my work schedule is getting tighter and tighter…” My therapist, Dr.Avery Picketts called again. She wants to meet more often, what with my meltdowns getting worse and more frequent, but my mom doesn’t have the time, and I’m not old enough to drive myself yet.
I walked into the living room, sat down on the sofa, and turned on my favorite movie of all time, The Princess Bride. I curled up in a blanket and Lucifer jumped on my lap, settling down for a mid-afternoon nap. My mom walked in with the coffee and some popcorn. She smiled at my choice of movie, but didn’t speak. She sat down and kissed me on the head, before handing me my coffee. It was warm and minty. It calmed my mind a bit. After a while, my mom glanced at me, then back at the screen. Then she did it again and again.
Finally, I stared at her with an expecting frown. She sighed, “I got a call from the school. They said that you entered a piece of writing in the essay contest.” My face grew red. She continued, “I read what you wrote and I think we should start taking you to speech therapy again.” I shook my head violently. I couldn’t stand speech therapy. “Your first appointment is tomorrow.” I stood up quickly, dropped my cup of coffee all over the couch and ran outside, crying. I was so frustrated, I wanted to cream, but it was as if my throat couldn’t create the sound. I hid in the shed. My mom knew where I was. I was always too afraid to leave the yard unless I was getting in the car. I slept there all night. My mom came to wake me at noon for my appointment. I fought her as much as I could, but it was no use.
She got me in the car and we drove in silence the whole time. I didn’t even-no, I couldn’t even cry anymore. We drove on the highway and skipped the turn we usually took. I nudged my mom pointing at the exit sign. She told me she knew and that we were going to a different one then we usually did.
We got to the building and I glanced at the colored walls and the puzzle piece logo. We walked inside. It was one large room with a bunch of chairs in a circle and a microphone in the middle. I sat down in one of the seats. A boy came up next to me and sat down. He looked about 9, with sandy brown hair, glasses, and a smile. He started signing to me his name. Evan. I grinned and glanced at my mom, but she was gone. I thought to myself, maybe this won’t be as bad as I thought it would be. And it wasn’t.