It's dark in here, and I can barely see my surroundings.
Mom's green raincoat is in here, but she hasn't worn it in years. Dad's old bowler hat—the one with a thick silver band around the base—is hanging on a metal hook a few inches above my head—Grandpa gave it to him when he was a boy, but he hasn't ever worn it. Mia's 8th grade math textbook is in here. I could give it back to her, since she lost it, but she won’t be needing it now seeing as she’s a sophomore.
No one looks in here. It's where everything that wants to stay hidden and locked away is stored. The things our family dislikes. What they want to forget.
I climbed inside a few weeks ago. I want to leave and see my family, who hasn't seemed to notice I'm gone, but it's not as easy as you might think. I got inside this closet hoping that someone would find me, and I won’t leave until they do.
My arm brushes against Mom's old prom dress. It’s pink and frilly with floral patterns stitched around the hemlines, just evidence of how much a person can change. She would never even look at something like this now. She’s a hater of bolds and lover of neutrals. But back then she was a different person. Back then she must have looked astonishing in this, so much so that she and Dad got voted king and queen.
My older sister, Mia, got the best of both worlds—Dad’s silky black hair, Mom’s surprising capacity to tan, and soulful blue eyes that are all her own. Meanwhile, I got stuck with the same utterly untamable hair as Mom, an abnormally long nose that seemed to have come out of nowhere, and stunted growth due to all of my food allergies and restrictions. Mason looks as effortlessly good-looking as Mia. They got lucky, and I got stuck in a closet.
I'm allergic to dogs, Mia's allergic to cats, and Mason accidentally killed his pet goldfish the same day we bought it, so our household has a strict 'No Pets' rule. No pet-sitting the neighbors’ puppies, no feeding the squirrels in the backyard, no keeping ladybugs that somehow keep ending up inside. None of us really complain about it, though. We're all too busy with our own lives to take care of an animal or any other living thing at all, with the possible exception of a few plants stationed around the house.
Our house is beige, and incredibly big. With four people and Mason living in it, we need all of the space we can get. Mia's sixteen, so she needs her privacy, meaning she locks herself in her bedroom all day and doesn’t let any of us in there ever. I don’t remember the last time I was in Mia’s room. I don’t even remember what it looks like. Mason and I are younger, but there's no way we're sharing a room. We made that extremely clear from the moment we first started looking for a new house. But the fact that we don’t sleep in the same room doesn’t seem to stop him from waking me up in ungodly hours of the morning. Our rooms are next to each other, with Mom and Dad’s on the other side of his, and then the bathroom.
Mia’s bedroom is on the first floor, down the hallway from the kitchen, which is next to the dining room. The dining room opens up into a surprisingly small living room, and down the same hallway as Mia’s room is the bathroom. There’s a door in the kitchen that leads out to the backyard, and another one in the living room out to the porch, which goes halfway around the entire house. I love the house, despite how each room is another failed attempt at being well decorated. With three kids in the house, the place isn't the neatest. Of course, we’re all teens now (or almost), but we wrecked the place when we were younger and Mom and Dad never got around to fixing it, being as busy as they are. Mom is a lawyer and Dad is a college professor, and they don’t spend much time in the main part of the house, anyway. When we first moved in, they hired someone to remodel the basement so there would be not only a laundry room and a third bathroom, but their own private offices. We're supposed to leave them alone when they're working down there, unless, of course, it’s an emergency.
I'm still waiting.
I’ve been in here for so long already, but I still remain optimistic. I just keep telling myself, ‘I know it’s today. Someone will find me. Someone will open the door with a smile and a batch of freshly baked gluten-free cookies.’ Then I pause, and think, ‘Even cookies with the gluten would be okay. I won’t be able to eat them, but it’s a nice gesture’. Then I sigh and peek through the slats in the door, to see if anybody is out there. But nobody is.
Nobody ever is.
Any feedback? I was thinking about metaphors, and I believe that (with the help of my amazing friend Kat) this piece is a good example of one.