1430 c/o Jason Lee Norman

Don't Let Me Explode (Cont.)

At her kitchen table she sits doing her homework. Her mother is there, clearing up dishes and running water in the sink and wiping down the countertops. The girl’s backpack sits on the chair beside her, looking up like a neglected puppy. The girl puts down her pencil and looks up at her mother. Her mother comes up behind her and checks the homework. She reads with her fingers. When she comes to the end of the page she stops and shakes her head and then kisses the top of the girl’s head. In the girl’s head there is silence. The backpack slumps and falls on the floor.

In her room, at a small desk, the girl sits with her page of homework covered in pink eraser flakes. The backpack is sprawled across her bed like a junkie. Downstairs her father slams the front door and enters the house. She can hear the sound of his shoes in the kitchen. His voice makes a low echo. He comes up the stairs and enters the girl’s room. He stands behind the girl’s chair and brushes away the pink eraser dust. He shakes his head, kisses the girl on the cheek and leaves the room.

The girl’s backpack smiles as she fills it with her marbles again, and her sticks and an old sandwich that she found in her desk. There is a flashlight that makes a clicking noise when she turns it on. She closes the backpack. She opens her window. She jumps.