Everyone around her grew larger; their shadows looming over her were thicker and their voices more pronounced.
It was a day like any other—until it wasn’t. Her parents were in front of the TV, where Amanda saw hurried figures in turquoise costumes and blue masks covering their mouths.
A shadow came up to her, the warm and perfumed one, and said: ‘You’re not going to school tomorrow.’
‘Why?’ Amanda asked.
‘Why do you always ask so many questions?’ her mom said. ‘Most kids your age would be thrilled not to go. Consider it early summer vacation.’
Amanda never understood the patterns of school dynamics. She didn’t enjoy being there, but she grew a bit too attached to the structure. On the first night after hearing the news, she crawled under the kitchen table and rocked back and forth. She had nothing urgent to wake up to the next day, anyway.
Her mom wasn’t too invested in her daughter’s education. The latter only remembered her visiting the school once, after her teacher had asked to meet with her. Amanda had to wait outside the classroom, and all she heard was something about an artistic spectrum. She wanted to know what it meant and why it mattered, but her mom refused to talk about it.
Now, more than ever, neither of her parents acknowledged her presence. She passed the days in her room, trying to determine the right times to go to the bathroom, in between thumping noises and unintelligible screams. The sounds of the house developed a scary texture. Had it been like this before?
Almost every night, she grabbed her book and went under the kitchen table. She liked it there; she could see and imagine all without being seen. She was safe, with no timeless time hanging over her, and no questions unanswered.
She didn’t know when this period would end, but at least the night was limitless.