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East, west, home is best

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I had just finished polishing my nails. They were dark blue, and the nail polish-smell was slowly spreading in the room. Outside I could see the snow falling down, all the trees outside were white of snow, but the wind was about to tear it away. I opened the window a little just so that the smell wouldn’t stay in the room. I picked up the remote control and pushed "play". I was waiting to hear the beginning of my newest CD, but I was wrong. My brother had obviously borrowed my CD-player while I was at school, as usual. I never could quite understand why he couldn’t just use his own. But for once he had left a nice CD in my player. It was some nice guitar playing in the beginning. I laid down on my bed and just stared at the ceiling. I was kind of bored. I had nothing to do, I had done all my homework for the next day- actually I had done all the homework for the next week or so, I wasn’t supposed to be at any meetings or anything. Of course my room was a mess but I wasn’t feeling like cleaning it. The lyrics of the song were depressing and the room was slowly getting colder since I had opened the window. I took a wool blanket and pulled it up over my head. After a few minutes I fell asleep.


I was brutally torn out of my dream by my mother. She was standing over me. She had turned on the light and was screaming at me. "I thought you were dead or something. I can’t believe that you are able to sleep in… " My sleepy brain wasn’t ready for that kind of noise so soon after waking up, so it lost the rest of the yelling. I was blinking against the bright light, and the sound when she took some plates from the floor and a couple of glasses from my desk, made my ears tremble. She slammed the door behind her and I could hear her tramping down the stairs. Quietly I sneaked out of my room and into the bathroom. I brushed my teeth and put on a pyjamas. I sat down on my chair took up the remote control and turned on the television. There wasn’t anything interesting on since it was two o’clock in the night. I watched a little MTV, and then I fell asleep.


I woke up when the phone rang. Since I had fallen asleep on my desk, I just had to turn my head a little and push the " speaker" button. "Hello" I said with my best "I just woke up" voice.
"Hey! Why aren’t you at school ? " It was my best friend Gina.
" What?" I looked around. Kind of disoriented since I had been sleeping on a hard desk all night and not in my soft bed. I rubbed my neck and answered. " Huh ? What’s the time ? Am I late ?" She laughed,
"Late? No… not really… just like … 3 hours late…!" I gasped.
" What ? NO! "
" I guarantee it! " I could hear her laughing in the other end.
" But how am I going to get to school now ? I can’t walk!"
" I guess you just got really sick this morning - yeah ? "
" …huh ? Yeah… really bad headache."
" Ok! Well I got to get to class! Get well soon! " She hang up. I sighed. Well - at least I didn’t have to take that biology test we had. I got up and walked down to the kitchen.
"What are you doing here ? Aren’t you supposed to be at school?" My brother was standing in the kitchen, making himself some breakfast
"That was funny, coming from you!" My brother was 17, he was supposed to go to some kind of school, but he never did. "I’ve got a headache" I explained
" Does mum know? " He was talking with food in his mouth.
" You’re disgusting!" I knew he just did that to irritate me. I went into the bathroom. Took a shower. When I came out of the shower I noticed that my brother
had left the house.
"Maybe he went to school " I laughed just by thinking of it.


When mum came home, she yelled at me. Said that I had shirked school, and that she wouldn’t write a "sick - note ". I didn’t care. It wouldn’t be the first time anyway. I would just ask my dad to write one. Since my parents had joint custody, he could write one just as easily as mum. I think he just does it to make mum mad. Kind of childish but I don’t care, as long as I don’t get yelled at at school too.


I was about to take my jacket and go out the door when my mum screamed. "Where are you going ?" she sounded almost hysterical. " Out!" I knew that she would freak but she had done it before. I slammed the door behind me. She opened the kitchen window and shouted " If you’re going to your dad now, you can just stay there!" " Maybe I will. " I ran down the hill, and down to the bus-stop. I knew that the bus to town would come by any minute now, so I sat down at the moist and cold bench. I wiped away the snow from the lower part of my legs. It was cold. I was hoping the bus would come soon. The bag fell down from my shoulder. I had almost forgot that I had taken it with me. I always carried it around. It was a shoulder bag, which I had got from my grandmother when my parents split up.


I guess it was about four years ago then. They took out separation when I was 11, the divorce was final a year later. They got joint custody, and I lived three weeks with each of them. They always bought me gifts and took me to movies in the first two years, then they kind of gave up when they understood that I wouldn’t take sides in their stupid fight. Mum’s still angry with dad. I don’t know why, no one ever told me anything.


An old man was on his way over to the shed, so I stood so that he could sit. I jumped from one foot to the other to stay warm. Finally the bus came. It was an old bus, it looked like it was going to fall apart very soon. I sat down in the back of the bus. When I sat down, I saw clouds of dust jumping into the sky. Everything in the bus was dusty, even the driver looked dusty. I looked out of the window, the sky was grey, and the snow was falling so tight that everything outside looked white. When the bus came into the city I jumped off almost at once. My dad lived in the house where I spent the first 12 years of my life and half of the rest. It was a nice white house, a symbol of my dad’s good economy and wealthy parents.


The garage was closed so I wasn’t sure if he was home. I went up the driveway, and pushed the door handle down. It was locked. I rang the doorbell. I waited for a couple of minutes and realised that he wasn’t at home. I went around to the back of the house. The big veranda was covered with snow. I could see bumps in the snow where I knew that there were standing chairs, tables and a barbecue.


Bustling about in the snow to get over to the living-room window, I could hear a voice asking: "What are you doing?"
" Trying to get to the window!" I turned around, waiting to see one of the usual old rich men who used to live next door. But the voice belonged to a boy in a blue and black jacket. He was obviously shovelling snow.
" Why ? The guy’s not home." He leaned to the shovel.
" How do you know ? "
" We’re watching his cat. He’s not supposed to be home until next weekend. His kid was supposed to visit him or something. "
" Oh yeah… He was going to that meeting… " I sighed. I struggled my way back over the veranda. "Thanks anyway."
" No problem" he started to work again while I stood on our porch, trying to wipe away the snow before it melted and made me soaking wet. It didn’t work.


I walked into town and found a burger restaurant and ordered a menu. I sat down and ate a big burger, and some French fries and a soda, watching the people outside. After half an hour, I had decided what to do. I went to the bus-station. . After a couple of wrong numbers I finally called the "information" to get my grandmothers phone-number. The people behind me were getting kind of irritated so I decided to make it a quick conversation.
"Hello ? " My grandmother wasn’t as old as most of the other grandparents I knew. She had just turned 60.
"Hey grandma! It’s me!" My grandmother and I had always been good friends and I called her all the time.
" Hello Denise!" We talked about nothing for a couple of minutes, then I asked.
" umm… would you mind If I came and stayed with you for a while ?"
" No of course not! Does your mother know ?"
" umm… no she thinks I’m at dad’s…"
"Well I’m sure she won’t mind."
"Oh- well I’m not" She laughed. Someone touched my shoulder. The line was getting kind of long. " I got to go now. I’ll take the first bus from here."
" OK sweetie" I hang up.


When I came to my grandmother’s house, we talked. She knew about the situation with me and my folks. She and I had always been able to talk about anything. She tried to make me understand that I should try to reason with my mother, but I had tried that before she would never listen to me. I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I just kept thinking of my parents and why they had split. Finally I got some sleep. But when I woke up It felt like as I had slept for just a few minutes. I didn’t understand what had woke me up, it wasn’t dark outside, but the sun wasn’t up yet. I could hear cars passing outside the window.


Suddenly the ceiling was light up. The trees outside made funny shadows on the ceiling. Almost before they were there, they disappeared again, when the lights of the car outside was turned of. I jumped out of bed and over to the window. The car outside was dark. I couldn’t see so much of it, because my grandmothers garden was full of big trees. I jumped into some slippers and ran down the stairs. I could hear someone at the door. Someone was trying to open the door, but it was locked of course. I sneaked overt to the door and removed a little of the curtain. Then the person rang the door bell. I jumped, the noise sounded like thunder in the silent room. I carefully unlocked the door and opened it. My mother was standing outside. She had snow all over her blond hair and her mascara was all over her cheeks, she had obviously been crying. She looked at me with red eyes. Our eyes met, and we hugged.

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