Kaitlyn Smith, Grade 10, Duval High School
She sat on the swing letting it sway back and forth. The other kids ran up to their parents and boasted about how good they were, how great their first day of school was. She watched each one of the parents faces light up with joy just at the sight of their child and the expression grew as the child began to recount their day with enthusiasm.
They wandered off, the parents, the children. Eventually even the teachers left, without a glance back at her.
She kicked the ground again and sighed “Come on mum...”
It had been her first day of school too; she wanted to do the happy family act like everyone else. She wanted to tell her mother everything. She wanted her mum to be there, and the expression she had seen on everyone else’s face to be on hers too.
Her Mother hardly had any time, she was a cop. Every time her Mother left on an assignment. She had always made her promise that she’d be home in time for dinner. Her Mother always used to respond with the same words. ‘I wouldn’t take any job if I thought it meant I wouldn’t be here to have dinner with you my darling.’
She heard ambulance sirens as loudly as she had heard police sirens earlier. She couldn’t help but think her Mother had gone out on a mission. Her Mum had forgotten about picking her up, forgotten about her.
She waited, she always had to wait for her Mum.
The sun started to go down and she sighed, jumping off the swing. She slung her bag that had laid discarded on the wood chips beside the sing set over one shoulder. She finally turned into her street, adjusting the strap over her shoulder for the hundredth time. She glanced further down the street to her house and smiled when she saw the car in the driveway.
She sprinted down the road, she wanted to see her Mother again, she really had missed her, and had so much to say, as every child did after their first day. She ran straight past the car and through the front door, grinning like mad. Her face as red as a tomato, her breathing far too heavy. But when she looked around, there was just a man standing in the room.
“ ‘scuse me sir, but where’s my mummy?”
He kneeled down in front of her, a look of pure sympathy on his face. “I’m sorry...” He held out her mother’s badge and gently laid it to rest in the palm of her up turned hand.
“I’m sure your Mother would have wanted you to have this...”
The badge in her hand was heavy. Her bag slid off her shoulder crashing to the ground. Nothing mattered anymore. She turned away from his face, trying to look somewhere that didn’t remind her of her Mother, trying not to let the tears in her eyes show.