My name is Keira Folkins and I am a student at Sussex Regional High School. Writing is something I love to squeeze in between my responsibilities on our small family farm and jobs such as picking blueberries at my uncle’s farm or volunteering at the local nursing home.
I am also very lucky to have great friends to hang out with at and after school. They are awesome critics of my pieces. Besides writing, I love to be active and outside with my trusty ole’ dog and to get on my family’s and friend’s nerves. That is me in a nutshell.
by Keira Folkins
Eve Menderton slammed the screen door closed as she headed out to her friend’s meeting spot. The spot was a telephone pole that stood an equal distance from everyone’s house and was easy to find, since all you had to do was look for the Nikes hanging from the wires.
When Eve arrived, she placed her back against the pole and slid down onto her butt, exhausted from the summer heat. Pulling a Dr. Pepper from her knapsack, she took a swig, wondering where the gang was. At that moment, Smith’s curly mop of hair came into view.
“Smithy, what took you so long? I was beginning to wonder if you were even coming.”
“I’m here now, aren’t I?” Smithy sat on an overturned pail. “Who else is comin’?”
“Joelle for sure and since there is nothing else going on, everyone’ll probably show.”
Smith was pretty cool and also the oldest of the group, although there was not much difference in age between any of them. He had brown curly hair, a skinny body, and these really icy blue eyes. Eve always wanted eyes like his, since hers were a faded brown that she felt belonged on a teddy bear.
All at once, Eve’s best friend Joelle and the rest of them came along. On the popularity scale at school, they were in the middle. They weren’t rich, but they weren’t on drugs or into robbing places either. There was Eve, the raven-haired one, and Joelle, who had rich, long and curly blonde hair. It was kind of a golden wheat colour. Travis was next. Even though he was home-schooled, he was the neighbourhood car guy. Cars were the only thing that would get him talking; otherwise he was pretty quiet. Then there was Fillianne, who was red-haired and had a million freckles but only on her arms. Also, there was Marcel, the boisterous one whose main chum was Smith. Smith usually went by Smithy. Marcel had a sister named Matilda, Tillie for short, who was a year younger but still really cool.
As soon as everyone had cooled down a bit, the bunch headed to the movie theatre. It was called the Ryanville Theatre. For the kids, it was just a hangout to avoid the major heat waves and get the town gossip. No one actually went there to watch the movie much, but the plush seats and great popcorn were worth the small entry fee. With only a five-minute walk, it didn’t take long for the gang to arrive, get popcorn and enter the screen room.
Steering away from a group who were eating suspicious-looking candies, they chose the middle section. Everyone sat in a circle formation, occupying parts of three rows. In the seats, they didn’t sit the normal way. Not facing forward and all orderly. Eve liked to use the back of the seat diagonally in front of her for a foot rest and the armrest for her back. The movie commenced and the gossip started flowing.
“Did you guys hear what happened at Burger Hut?” asked Marcel.
As Tillie leaned forward, waiting for the juicy details, Marcel snatched some of her popcorn.
“Eve, didn’t you hear something of a drug bust in town? Was it a bust, Marcel?” Eve almost always told Joelle all of the news she heard.
“Yeah, the cook was putting crack in the salt containers and selling it out the back door.” Marcel was looking pretty smug with this information.
“That’s crazy! In an innocent town like ours?!” Everyone cracked up at Fillianne’s joke because everyone knew how rotten a town it was.
“Oh look, a Corvette!” Travis pointed at the sports car on the movie screen.
“Hey, that guy who failed like twenty times in my class has one of those,” Smithy said.
“If he can afford one of those, then he should be able to buy his graduation certificate!” laughed Joelle, as she threw Eve a gummy.
“It is pretty crazy that a twenty-year-old guy is in your tenth-grade math class,” Eve said.
“Maybe I should beat the smarts into him.” Travis flexed his biceps.
“Really? Aren’t you the same guy who fell into the fish pond because a duck flew out of the bushes and scared you?”
Travis scowled at Fillianne’s remark as everyone else snickered.
The credits began to roll on the screen and the group insulted and laughed at each other as they made their way out into the sunny afternoon. Fillianne parted ways to go see her dad at his repair shop and Travis tagged along to get a peek at the recent shop project: a 1967 Mustang. Eve waved goodbye to the others and headed up her street to the slightly rundown shack she called home.
Not bothering to ease the door shut, Eve let it slam and expertly picked her way through the empty alcohol bottles to find Uncle Bruce watching ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ while downing yet another bottle of vodka. Eve lived with her Uncle Bruce because he was the only local family that she had. Her father had died in crossfire at a nearby robbery. He was a well-known police member and the best father Eve could have asked for. Eve missed him very much but mostly at night. That was when he would often light a bonfire and make Eve S’mores with her name smeared onto the cracker.
“There you go, Eve,” he would say as he handed her the messily labelled S’more and they would bite into the treat at the same time, letting the mess ooze down their chins. He then would laugh his signature hearty laugh as he wiped chocolate from Eve’s nose.
When her father died, her mother got so depressed that she became mentally unstable. She lost custody of Eve. Sometimes Eve would visit her at the clinic but her mother hated seeing her, saying that she reminded her too much of Eve’s father. Eve was angry at her mother for leaving her with boozed-up Uncle Bruce.
Uncle Bruce was obviously not making supper so Eve looked at her options. She could go to the telephone pole for every night that either Smithy or Travis lit a small campfire and people would bring pizza or something else. It was a popular spot for people like Eve. She attended the telephone pole supper quite often but had a hankering for a home-cooked meal once in a while. She phoned Joelle, whose number she knew by heart. She knew Joelle wouldn’t mind letting her come for supper. Her Mom knew all about Uncle Bruce, and she would be happy to help.
“Hey, Joelle! What’s on the menu tonight?”
“Corn casserole and it’ll be done in like a second so get your butt over here! Mom’s making home-made rolls too, so come on!”
She hung up and looked over at Uncle Bruce. He’d be just as happy with his booze as Eve would be for casserole so she didn’t even bother inviting him. In fact, he didn’t even look up as Eve made to leave.
Being so used to going over to Joelle’s, Eve cut through her yard and barged through the door. Lassie, Joelle’s dog, welcomed her with a good licking.
“Hey Eve, come eat before it gets cold.”
Joelle’s mother shooed her into the kitchen to the guest seat that had a steamy heap of casserole placed in front of it.
“You missed the prayer, want another one?” Joelle asked through a mouthful of corn.
“No, I would probably starve before it was done,” Eve laughed.
One thing about Joelle was her large appetite, but she wasn’t a pig. She could share if she really needed to.
“After supper, are you coming to the telephone pole with me?” Joelle asked Eve.
“Sure, is there anything special going on?” Eve spread a blob of butter on her roll.
“Some classmates are coming from across town, so with three times the people, something oughta happen.”
Joelle’s mother, Mrs. Ducte (but Eve called her Jackie) gave them a warning look that suggested no fights, right?
Joelle and Eve knew better than to make promises because anything could happen at the telephone pole.
Wiping their lips, Eve thanked Jackie for supper as she and Joelle grabbed their jackets and headed outside. It was dusk and there was only a thin line of sunset left. The shadows were blending in with the night. The only place where shadows still danced was at the telephone pole where a bigger than normal bonfire raged.
Stepping onto the site, Joelle grabbed a leftover piece of pizza and they went over and sat beside Fillianne. Fillianne was sitting on the same overturned pail that Smithy had been sitting on earlier that day. She had an upset look on her face.
“What’s up, Filly?” Joelle knelt beside her.
“Oh, those older boys are giving Travis a hard time. You know, calling him the wimpy mommy-schooled kid? Travis is boiling but he wouldn’t dare throw a punch.” Fillianne shifted her gaze over from her friends to the scene unfolding in front of the fire.
A loud shout shifted everyone’s attention to the shadows beyond the fire. A drunk man, still holding a bottle, swayed into the light. It was Uncle Bruce.
“Where’s Eve?” he demanded. “She needs to be punished!”
Uncle Bruce smiled an evil grimace when he spotted Eve.
“Left no pizza for old Brucie, did ya? After all I have done for you? You are gonna pay for this RIGHT NOW!”
The older boys, out of fear, gave Uncle Bruce a wide berth as he stumbled toward Eve with the bottle poised to hit her. Just as he moved his hand, a stick hot from the fire hit Bruce in the side, causing him to drop and break the bottle. In spite of the pain, Uncle Bruce picked up a shard of glass and swung it around making contact with his challenger. Travis fell backward with the glass shoved into his stomach, spewing blood everywhere. The older boys forgot that he was the ‘untouchable wimp’ and rushed to his side. One ran to a nearby house to call for help. Uncle Bruce ran into the woods only to pass out and be found by the police just minutes later. When the ambulance arrived, it loaded Travis and they allowed Joelle, Filliane and Eve to go with him to the hospital.
Eve looked at Travis all wrapped up in a blood-soaked blanket and felt she was to blame. She was the one who had been living with Uncle Bruce. She was the one who had made him angry. Travis would not have been there, hanging onto life, if it weren’t for her. If only her mother hadn’t ended up in that depression.
With the girls on her heels, Eve ran into Mental Assistance and screamed for Fawne. Fawne was her mother’s nurse and also Eve’s social worker. She had been a huge support for Eve through the past few years.
Fawne popped up from behind a corner and waved them in. Storming past her, Eve flew into her mother’s room. Her mother was lying on her side staring blankly out the window.
“Mom!” Eve screamed, not caring if she woke the other patients. Fawne and Eve’s friends rushed to close the door. Her mother turned over to face Eve, the hurt showing in her eyes as tears threatened to overflow.
“Lying in bed isn’t going to bring Dad back to us! You still have me, you know! A daughter to care for! I have had to face this alone because YOU couldn’t be there for me! You need to come back, Mom! I NEED you!
The tears were now coming out in a waterfall on her mother’s face. Eve held her mother’s hand and managed to choke out, “Dad would want you to be happy. It isn’t me stopping you from being happy, it’s you. Dad’s gone but I’m here.”
For the first time in forever, her mother didn’t yell, “Get out!” She didn’t turn away. She actually spoke.
“I know Dad wants us to be a family again. I know that now, because of you.” She squeezed Eve’s hand with a strength she’d never had since her husband’s death. She smiled a real smile. “I am going to beat this so I can be the mother that you deserve.”
It was tears of joy that they were now both crying. Neither one noticed that Fawne had reopened the door and was watching.
“I think that reality finally broke the depression.” Fawne looked over the top of her clipboard. “Yep, the best cure there is. Reality and the love of a child. ”
She smiled and then said that best sentences in the world to Eve. “Everything is looking good. Your mother can be released in as little as a couple of days. Once the doctor signs off and she gets her medication to take with her, she will be good to go!”
Fawne took care of all of the paperwork and Eve stayed with Joelle while the arrangements were made. Her father’s life insurance was enough to get Eve and her mother a small house that was still within walking distance of the telephone pole.
Eve never realized how much she had missed her mother’s cooking until they finally sat down to their first meal in their new house. Her mother still had some bad days, but Jackie was always on hand to cheer her up.
Travis was released from the hospital after having surgery to repair his punctured liver. He lost his wimpy reputation and became somewhat of a legend among the older boys. The gang became closer than ever before.
Uncle Bruce remained a drunk but Eve didn’t really care what happened to him. A million apologies couldn’t erase what he had done. In honour of getting rid of him, Smithy tied a pair of Bruce’s old boots together and threw them up beside the Nikes on the telephone wire.
Life returned to the usual hanging out at the theatre and at the telephone pole. It seemed that things were so much better than before. There was no doubt that they were.