Mrs. Pauley (Day 18)

Dear Diary

I’m ready for school to start. I miss my friends. I can’t even believe I said that. But I am. Since we moved to this new neighborhood away from my  BFF I’ve been bored to tears. I really did cry yesterday after my mom said I couldn’t spend the night with Jessica. Why do I have to stay home to take care of their kid? I deserve a life. I’m only twelve!!!! I should be biking to the ice cream shop with Jess instead of sitting in this stoop again while the little brat watches Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles and plays stupid video games. At least out here I can write without him bugging me. 

Dear Diary

Mrs. Pauley is the best thing about this street. She makes the best cookies ever. She’s the reason why I haven’t run away from home. Well, those cookies are. She offered me some cookies one day. I was all like stranger danger at first but all she wanted to do was talk. I can’t leave my stoop in case the brat breaks his leg pretending to be superman and jumps off of the top bunk again. I need to listen for his landing. Anyway, Mrs. Pauley comes over here every morning at 10:30 and leaves at 11:25. She has to get home in time for her stories which is some tv show that’s been around longer than I have. She’s tried to get me to watch with her but I reminded her of my invisible barrier. 

Dear Diary

I’m not sure how much of her stories to believe. She says she and Mr. Pauley have six sons. They all moved away from this place a long time ago. I understand why. I’ve never seen one of them. Who doesn’t come visit their parents every once in a while? They are always walking to the corner store together. They make a cute couple. Man, I wish Jason and I could be a cute couple. He’s definitely got the cute part down. But he’s 14 and thinks I’m a kid but I’m not. I’m officially a woman now. Which is kinda scary. What do I know about being a woman? But I can’t go up to him and say, hey Jason I’m a woman not some kid. Who does that?

Dear Diary

Last night I heard sirens and saw these lights on my wall. I looked outside and saw an ambulance. All I knew is it was parked outside their building. The next morning when Mrs. Pauley didn’t wave at me on my way to school I got scared. I thought something had happened to her. She’s always in the window in the morning and on the stoop when I get home. I run extra laps during PE so I don’t gain weight eating all those cookies she greets me with after school. But it wasn’t her. It was Mr. Pauley. Nosy Rosey told me after the second day of no Mrs. Pauley. Who names their kid Rosey? When Jason and I get married I’m naming our kids Katherine and David. Who can make fun of those names? Mr. Pauley died. Mrs. Pauley would not answer her door. I watched neighbor after neighbor go to her door with food or flowers but she never answered the door. Guess what? She really does have six sons. One of the other neighbors told my mom the bums didn’t show up for their dad’s funeral. I’ve never been to a funeral. Well let me tell ya just take the f-u-n out of that word. There was nothing fun about it. I cried for Mrs. Pauley. She looked so sad. 

Dear Diary

It’s been about a week but when I got off the bus yesterday there she was. Cookies in hand. Really on a plate but you know what I mean. I gave her a big hug when I saw her. She talked until dinner time that night. Mom let me stay out longer cause she knew Mrs. Pauley was probably lonely without Mr. Pauley. So she told me that she’s never worked before. She spent her years being a wife, mother and volunteer. Now that Mr. Pauley is gone what is she going to do? I hope he stuffed the mattress full of money or invested in Apple. Maybe her boys will come to her rescue like Jason did on Wednesday. Jess and I were walking down the hall when that stupid Roger bumped into me making me drop my homework folder. Ugh!!! Papers were flying everywhere. But I looked up and Jason was there with a handful. His hand touched mine and I wanted to scream, cry and kiss him all at the same time. Instead Jess said thank you cause apparently all I could do was look at him like a dork. What woman does that? I need to work on my surprise face in the mirror. I’ve been working in my, hi Jason but I guess practice doesn’t make perfect. 

Dear Diary

I’ve been crying all day. The dumb police came and took Mrs. Pauley away. She couldn’t pay her rent since Mr. Pauley died. I offered her my runaway fund but she said no. I can’t believe they threw her stuff on the curb and put her out. All she did was hold on to a picture and her cookie sheets as she watched that jerk of a landlord change the locks. It was so sad. I can’t believe she’s gone. She lived in that apartment since before the Internet. Her son’s ain’t loyal. She said she and Mr. Pauley invested in them hoping they would help take care of them when they were older. Now she’s living with her sister in another state. Mrs. Pauley sent me a letter and a care package, she refuses to text me. Guess what? She sent my favorite cookies. 

*****The neighborhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years. Write it in the first person.*****

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Fears (Day 17)

Spiders, snakes, being old(er) and alone and living a life without purpose. Those are my top four fears. I have other things that make me fearful but I don’t want to go on and on about things like Stephen King’s books and movies. Have you ever read Tommy Knockers? Shudder, that was my last scary book. Then there is that red rum scene in the Shining that make me want to hide in my closet. 

Last year my ex took me back to court to change custody. Some days I was very afraid. The financial impact and the possibility of him winning the case caused me anxiety for many months. 

I refuse to live the rest of my life in fear. I had plenty of fears growing up. I feared too many things and people. I was concerned about what people would say to me, if the mean girls were going to threaten to beat me up, were they going to make fun of my clothes today? Those are big deals to middle school girls. 

When thoughts come to my mind or I’m having too many negative conversations with myself I repeat two of my favorite quotes. “Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt and “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.