Mrs. Arguello, our Middle School English teacher, asked her 8th grade students to write a memoir. Here is one student’s story…
Who Was Here?
By Callie Russo (8th grade student)
The wind blew in our faces as we rode back up the street to the deserted house, the one that had the front yard made of dirt hills and one little patch of flowers. It had two giant, ugly looking trees that covered the front yard. The window curtains looked plastic, and the window panes were yellowed from age. About a week earlier, my neighbor Abby and I discovered the yard and decided to call it our “dirt road”. Since the house looked so old and worn, we doubted that anyone lived there; and we never saw anyone go in or come out of it. We enjoyed riding our bikes over the small, bumpy hills, so we wanted to go back.
“This is actually pretty cool,” said Abby. “I can’t believe we have lived here forever and haven’t come to explore this creepy house. Yet, I’m still worried that someone may live here and come out when we’re here!”
“I think we’ll be fine,” I said. “And if someone does catch us, it will probably be the neighbors telling us to get off of this yard. Besides, this is actually sort of fun…”
I knew that was all a lie, and I knew I was just saying that to make myself feel better. I didn’t want to tell Abby that we shouldn’t ride in the yard anymore, because we both wanted to have fun, and I didn’t want to leave. I quickly realized that we got trapped into something enjoyable, but risky. We were bored last week and didn’t know what to do. Plus, the end of the sidewalk led to the dirt. All I could hear was the squeaking of our bike pedals, but then Abby’s stopped.
“Wait a minute,” she said. “Why is there a silver car in front of the house?”
Her words stopped me. I looked at the car. I tried to think of a reason to tell Abby why it was there, but I knew what I was going to say would not be true.
“Maybe it’s the…neighbor’s car parked across the street?” I said with a shaky voice. I had seen cars parked across the street before, but never this one. We thought no one lived there; we thought it was too old of a house to live in! Why did we do this? I knew something was going to happen. This was probably not a very smart choice. We decided to pass the house instead of going to the front yard, just in case. As we passed the car, we heard a small but angry voice.
“Hey!” someone yelled.
We turned around. Behind the car there was an old man with very white hair and glasses, holding up a sharp shovel.
“Come here. I recognize those tire tracks,” he said in a knowing voice, touching my tire.
My heart was beating so fast. I thought he was going to call the police if he didn’t believe us. This was all our fault; actually my fault. I was scared to death, and Abby’s face was practically white. I could tell by the look in her eyes that we were both thinking the same thing now. This old man lived there, we had never seen him before, and we were in really big trouble.
“Was this you two and all of your little friends? And if you didn’t realize, you ran over my flowers too!” he hollered, pointing his wobbly finger towards the dirt.
“Yes, w-we’re sorry, and we promise not to do it again,” we replied with our jittery voices.
“You naughty, naughty, children! You realize those are not your flowers? Where do you live? I will be wherever that is in five minutes.”
For a second I thought he was just saying that to scare us, but he sounded serious. His mouth was tense; it was practically folded in half. We pointed down the street where our two houses sat right next door to each other, because we thought lying would make it worse. He stopped talking and just stared at us so we could leave. We slowly but surely got back onto our bikes, and pedaled really fast until we got home. We didn’t even say a word. We just went inside and shared our frightening experience that we had; the words just slipped right out of my mouth. I didn’t know what happened to Abby, but at least my parents gave me a “you’re in trouble” look.
I dreaded the moment when the old man would be at my house, but he never came. My dad still forced my sister and I to write a note because she also rode on the front yard too; she just got lucky and wasn’t there to see the man. We also bought flowers to plant as a replacement for the ones that were partially destroyed. As I walked up to the front door to place the items down the next day, I felt a quiver through my body. Even though the car wasn’t there, I still tried knocking. Yet, of course, there was no answer. When the weeks passed, I never noticed the car, but saw that the note and flowers were gone. Today, I never see him. I found out that he only comes to take care of the house – he doesn’t really live in it.
When I set the flowers on the doorstep, I had a little ball of fire inside me, yet I felt shame at the same time. I felt the disgust of anger pulling at me at how we couldn’t ride the hills anymore, but again, that was our choice to do it. I learned that I shouldn’t just go in other people’s dominion without permission, but to also take advantage of the mistakes I have made and fix them right away instead of covering it up or trying to wait for something good to happen. Now Abby, my friends, and I found plenty of other fun things to do that don’t involve the scary house. Yet, we still wonder what lies within it…