Short Story: Memoirs of a Latchkey Kid
The Scar Loneliness Left Behind
Independent yet lonely. Introverted yet self-sufficient. I could take care of myself and my sisters (and my mom when she was home). I didn’t think there was any other kind of life. I didn’t know being home alone wasn’t normal. I thought I could do anything because I could take care of myself. The two scars on my sister’s head and face distracting others from her beauty prove that I couldn’t. A circular scar on my older sister’s thumb made from an attempt at M&M pancakes proves that I couldn’t. The large, gaping scar the size of a jumbo crayon on my left hip proves that I couldn’t.
I was home alone once again. While watching something about swings on TV, I decided to make one in the closet all by myself. Full of responsibility at 8 years old, I was just a child who wanted to have fun. I hung a simple brown faux leather belt in the closet, fastened the buckle, and climbed in. I didn’t even think about whether or not it would hold me. I swung back and forth lost in the joy of freedom before I heard the door.
My mom wasn’t due home for another few hours. I didn’t know who walked in that door, and I couldn’t remember if I locked it. Fear. I was so scared. Fear overwhelmed me. I jumped down quickly without thinking. The buckle loosened and caught onto my hip. It stung. Blood gushed down my leg. The searing pain was unbearable. No one was at the door. It was my imagination. I didn’t move. I lay there until my older sister came home. I don’t know how long it was. I didn’t want to move.
My two sisters always found something else to do after school. My mom was working two jobs trying to keep our family from sinking. The doctor diagnosed my dad with Schizophrenia. He wasn't around much- mentally and physically. My mom left him about a year after she realized she couldn’t handle it anymore.
All of her hard work and sacrifices made me the woman I am today. To this day, I don’t want to accept help because I’d rather do it myself. To this day, I’m still afraid when I’m all alone in my own house as a grown woman. To this day, I remind my mom that I appreciate every single sacrifice she encountered.
Is your latchkey kid safe?
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