by Robert Conforti

I opened the door and closed it behind me. I was at my house alone. I had just come home from another day at school, we had learned something about how to calculate the area of a 3-dimensional prism. I'm 11 years old, my name is Octavian, and I am an only child. My father left me and my mom and I live alone with her. My neighbors are very nice so they help us out. I don't think we would be where we are without them. I locked the door behind me and set my bag down on the couch. I made a bowl a cereal and started eating. While I was eating I grabbed my phone and texted my mom and asked her when she would be home. I put my phone away and finished eating. I put my bowl in the sink and grabbed my Xbox remote of the couch and started playing Call of Duty. After about 11 rounds of playing online, my phone buzzed. I pulled it out of my pocket and saw I got a text from mom. She would be home in 5. Perfect. I finished up my round and turned off the Xbox. I walked up the to my room and turned on my computer right as I heard the door open.

“Hi mom!” I yelled from my room. I heard her put down her keys and start walking up the stairs.

“Hi” she replied. “How was school?”.

“The usual, math and social studies. BORING”

Mom shot a look at me.

“But I did learn how to calculate the area of a 3D prism”.

“Well at least you're learning SOMETHING at that school”.

She grabbed my dirty clothes and started the washing machine. “What are you working on?”

“We have to write a story for Language Arts. Mine is about a kid who has to save his family before an ogre eats them”.

“Oh, that sounds rather awful. Anyway I am going to make dinner so you keep working”.

She kissed my head then went downstairs. I kept working for another 20 minutes before my mom yelled up the stairs “Dinner!”. I went downstairs and asked what we were eating.

“Mashed potatoes with some carrots”.

“I hate carrots. Why do we keep buying them?”

“It's what we can afford, for now”.

I ate without a word. The food was actually amazing. After eating I went back to my room and finished my story. I was really proud of myself. I closed my computer and walked over to my closet. I picked some pajamas and went into the bathroom. As I was turning on the shower my mom called.

“Make sure to only stay in for 10 minutes, the bill is really tight right now!”

“Ok mom!” I called back.

I took off my clothes, grabbed my toothbrush and hopped into the shower. I quickly washed myself and brushed my teeth in under 5 minutes. I got out and of the shower and went back to my room. I hopped into my bed and fell asleep. As soon as I closed my eyes, the world around me changed. I was in an old barn, I tried to change the location but for some reason I couldn't. I looked around and found it was actually my great grandpa’s farm. It looked more rundown than what I remembered. I walked around, wondering why I was here when I saw something in the corner. It was this peculiar looking shovel. The weirdest thing about was that it was not dirty at all, its was actually shining. I felt like I have seen that same shovel somewhere… It reminded me of my father in some weird way even though hated him, I still missed him. A tear slowly slid down my face. I woke to hear my mom crying in her room. I got out of bed and went over to her room. When I got there, I saw her in the corner, drinking from a wine bottle. I pulled it from her grasp and tossed it to the side, making sure it didn't break. She cursed. I hugged my mom even though she pushed away. I told her it would be ok, this was not the first time I had to baby my mother like this. We were both going through hard times. But I know we will make it. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something. But when I looked, I turned to see nothing. I was a little scared so I pulled my mom closer to me. I stayed with my mom that night, even though I couldn’t sleep I made sure my mom did so she could work tomorrow. I was thinking about the shovel from my dream, why was it so peculiar? There were lots of questions that would never get answered, like why did my dad leave us? Why did I pushed the thought out of my head. We were going to make it. I knew we were.