The twilight of the evening descended upon the suburbs of Queens. The noise and bustle of the city quieted with the mellow sounds of crickets chirping in the breeze. The sweet smells of fresh, evening air filled the neighborhood with nostalgic memories of beautiful spring nights. Children played in the streets moments before it was time to go inside.
Cindy approached her home, nestled deep within the urban jungle. Her heart began to race as her paranoia flooded her thoughts with hallucinations of attackers lurking in the bushes. The well-lit street felt more like a tangerine tunnel with no escape or safety in sight. Cindy noticed that a group of teenagers were shambling down the street towards her house. Some of them were wearing hoodies, while others wore sideways caps with the pants always struggling to stay atop their waist. It was dark enough that it was hard to see who these kids were, and in her mistrustful, poisoned mind, she assumed that these were delinquents on the prowl.
Cindy shifted into panic mode as she scurried to find the keys in her purse. She kept digging through the bag, pushing aside her makeup, toiletries, cell phone, pens, notebooks, and wallet. No keys were in sight and the youths were drawing closer. Their chatter grew louder as their obnoxious cackling bounced throughout the empty street. Cindy shook her purse. She heard the jingling of the keys, but was still puzzled as to where they could be. Then, as if the Devil was finished playing pranks on her, Cindy found her keys tucked away in the second pocket.
She seized her keys like a frog catching a fly and, in her haste, dropped the brass teeth on the floor. The keys jingled loudly, catching the attention of the young boys who were, at the time, minding their own business. Cindy’s breathing accelerated to match the beating of her heart. She grabbed the keys off the floor and struggled to put them into the keyhole. Her free hand balled up into a fist as each knuckle cracked in preparation for the ensuing conflict. She cursed to herself realizing that she tried to force the wrong key into the lock. Her mistake allowed the punks to be mere feet from the walkway to her house.
A dull thud hit her front lawn followed by two distinct footsteps. Cindy turned around and placed each key between her fingers, creating a homemade claw of jagged brass, hiding her weapon from their sight. She saw one of the teens had walked onto her lawn. Her arm tensed as she prepared to lunge herself into conflict, only to realize that the boy was picking up an orange and blue foam football. The young man looked up at Cindy and paused for a moment. Both looked like deer caught in headlights. The teen said, “Sorry, Ma’am,” and walked back towards the group while spinning the football in the air.
When the teens walked away, Cindy noticed that some of them were wearing blue shirts which read “Boys & Girls Club of America” on the front and “Volunteer” on the back. Cindy stood there, speechless at what had just occurred, but the emotions inside of her were still rising to a boil. Cindy, ashamed of her stupidity, screamed forth her cauldron of emotion. She slammed her palm into the front of the door, crack! Cindy pulled her hand back and saw that a portion of the door splintered inward, cowering in fear. The unpainted wood revealed itself in a brilliant orange. The pristine white door however, was now scarred with the impact of her might.
She looked at her hand and watched the chips of paint and wood sitting atop her palms. She whispered, “Oh my God,” and wiped her hands clean of the damage she caused. While removing evidence of vandalism from her palms, Cindy was startled by Jonas’ sudden appearance as he swung the door open with a furious pull. “What the f—huh?” Jonas was surprised to see his wife looking up at him with innocent puppy-dog eyes. He noticed fragments of wood and paint on the floor next to the tips of Cindy’s leather boots.
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