Kevin woke up to an alarm. His parents wanted him to start using one, now that he’s coming to the end of middle school. He sat up and clicked it off and lay back down. From across the hall his mom hollered.
“You’re still getting up, Kevin.” He groaned but got up, sauntered into the bathroom, flipped on the shower, stripped and stepped in. The cold water practically made him shriek but his body adjusted as the water slowly warmed.
At the breakfast table his mom had made eggs and toast again. She had been more motherly lately, Kevin guessed it was because his middle school years were coming to a close and he was going to start high school soon. Either way Kevin didn’t mind. He dug in and quickly drank all the orange juice as well. His dad sat at the other end of the table, flipping through the paper.
“Kevin, how’s math coming.” The usual nothing conversation with dad. Kevin gulped the orange juice again and answered.
“It’s alright, finished my late work last night, gonna try and see if I can hand it in today.” His dad shook his head solemnly.
“You know I don’t like how you have late work. You shouldn’t ever be late with things.” Kevin kept nodding but didn’t bother listening. It was the same as before. ‘You shouldn’t ever be late,’ and ‘it doesn’t speak well for yourself when you carry yourself in that way’, which was referring to his torn jeans and long hair. A few minutes after, his dad finished his speech Kevin excused himself from the table and went towards the bathroom.
In the mirror Kevin saw a teenager, fresh-pimpled and grease-skinned. The thick rimmed glasses kept his hair from getting in his eyes but overall his dad was right, he dressed like a bum. Kevin was okay with it, he was at that age where he was growing out of being protected by his parents. His dad knew it, obvious by the lack of speeches, but mom wasn’t.
After brushing his teeth Kevin quickly grabbed his bag and headed towards the door. A few days ago he had missed the bus so since then he left a few minutes earlier than usual.
“Oh, Kevin,” His dad stood up. “Here’s your weekly.” His dad took out his wallet and pulled out a folded twenty. Kevin smiled and practically skipped back to his dad.
“I nearly forgot!” Every Friday Kevin was given a twenty for help around the house and keeping with his studies. The tradition started about a year ago when the family sat down and discussed money and finances. Kevin didn’t care for the meeting but he loved what had come from it. With the same smile on his face Kevin grabbed the twenty and rammed it into his pocket.
“Save, if you don’t want to find yourself without money.” Kevin said something quick and checked the clock, said bye and left. He had a few minutes still but didn’t want to hear another speech getting shot at him. Usually Kevin saves, not because he wants to be ‘financially stable’, but because he wants to buy a new MP3 player. His old one broke about two months ago and he needed to save up about three months worth of money to get a new one.
Kevin stepped onto the sidewalk and walked his way towards the bus stop. He had to go about a neighborhood down and cross the street to get to it. All in all it wasn’t that far. The weather was okay. It had been raining a lot lately, now that spring had finally come, so today was wet and grey. Kevin dodged a few puddles here and there and headed further down the sidewalk.
A few houses ahead of him a handful of girls walked, each of them going to the same bus stop and the same school. One of them, Andrea, had recently started to flirt with Kevin. He didn’t mind, he’d had a crush on her since sixth grade. It all seemed cruel though, Kevin thought as he followed them, listening faintly to them ramble on about whatever. He expected, overall, that her actions towards him were just some cruel game to entertain her until she moved away this summer.
Kevin put his hands in his pockets and pulled out the twenty. With this bill it would make his total now about $160. If he waited another month, maybe more, he would be able to get the MP3 player and wouldn’t have to walk anymore and allow his thoughts to entertain him, instead of the music.
A quick vibration from his backpack and Kevin stopped midstride. Kevin knew what it was. It was the embarrassing piece-of-garbage phone his mom had bought for him so they could keep in contact. He didn’t bother bringing it to school, it might cause a seriously awkward moment and God knows Kevin doesn’t need another one so close to the end of the year. Grudgingly Kevin swung his backpack around, opened it and took the phone out. It was from mom.
“Hey, hun. Its mom.” No kidding.
“What’s up mom.”
“Dad and I are eating out tonight so I have food in the fridge for you, just heat it up and –“
“I got it mom, thanks.” She couldn’t have told him afterschool?
“Alright, hun. Love you much. See you later tonight.”
“K. Bye.” He hung up and put the phone as far deep in his backpack as possible. From behind him Kevin heard the doors of the bus close and the engine start up.
“Oh, hell no!” Kevin quickly stuffed all of his crap back in his bag, zipped up, and ran towards the moving bus. He ran a few steps but the bus kept going, until it turned the corner and was gone entirely. Kevin put his hands on his knees and gasped for breath.
It wasn’t all that bad, he probably wouldn’t be late. He’d found that a few shortcuts through people’s yards is just enough to get him at the school with just enough time to get to his seat. Of course he would be sweating and people would be laughing but the embarrassment would have to be put aside. He can’t miss first period math if he wants to have a good case so he can hand in the late work.
Quickly Kevin turned towards the house closest to him and headed towards the school. On his bike Kevin could probably make it in 4 minutes if he pushed himself but, as if by some horrible fate, his bike had also broke earlier in the year. Kevin promised himself that, after the MP3 player he would start saving for a new car (it was, after all, about that time for him).
Kevin leapt over a hedge and through someone’s yard, praying that they wouldn’t see him. As he climbed up over the fence he heard the door slide open.
“Hey, kid!” An old man walked out. “Get off my lawn!” Kevin quickly climbed over and fell on his back in the other yard. After a moment to catch his breath Kevin got back up and ran towards the other fence, after he would take a sharp right and head through the alley, cut through the park, and finally get to the school.
Kevin leapt over the fence again and sighed with relief. The other yard usually had two or three Dobermans in it. Thankfully they must have been inside because of the rain. Kevin headed down the alleyway, making sure that he didn’t brush against any of the moldy garbage.
At the other end of the alley was one of the busiest streets in town. Kevin could cross it, as long as he timed it right with the lights. He burst out of the dark alley and looked down the sidewalks and streets. The lights were red and the sidewalks were practically empty, save a few shopkeepers cleaning up the sidewalks in front of their stores, getting ready for the day. Kevin looked ahead. Above the treelike he could see the school. With a breath of relief he looked both ways again and crossed.
It would take about three minutes to cross the park. It was the largest in the city. He’d need to keep between the basketball courts and the bike path. Kevin remembered a while back when he ran through the basketball court he had a little encounter with a small gang. Nothing happened, really. They took his money and also slashed his bike tires, hence why he didn’t have it now. Likewise, too far passed the bike path was another gang. They were a little older than the basketball court people. Kevin was pretty sure they had a few concealed weapons. He always stayed clear from over there. If it wouldn’t have been for him being late all the time Kevin wouldn’t even come through the lousy park.
Kevin walked briskly across the street and made it to the half way divider. He never really liked crossing the street, even if he looked both ways like his parents had taught him. Out of nowhere the crappy phone began to vibrate. Trying to take it out and walk, Kevin found himself practically spinning, grabbing for the phone. At last he grabbed it, holding his backpack under his side.
“Hello!” He yelled into the phone. “Who is this?”
“Its mom, Kevin.” Ugh. Kevin started to zip up his backpack but caught it on one of his homework assignments for math. “****’ A.”
“Kevin! Don’t you dare-“A horrendously loud horn blared behind him. Kevin turned, just in time to see the front of the bus a few feet from him, barreling at him at nearly 45 mph. Kevin froze, the last thing he heard before it slammed into him was the screaming of the brakes and the horrible sounds of the tires trying to stop the bus.
Kevin opened his eyes with horrific surprise. He turned to see two piles of twisted carnage and steel at his feet. His fellow students were sprawled throughout the street, some still moving, others not. In awe Kevin looked down at him. His clothes were nearly torn away from him. Through the blur of tears he realized something.
He was perfectly fine.