It’s snowing outside. I can’t sit still. Don’t want too either. This day should’ve been a mystery. Give me something to solve besides math problems in my worn-out book. I want to go outside but mom won’t let me. This winter vacation sucks.
“You have a cold and need to stay inside,” she tells me.
The worst of it is having to blow my nose and the rest of me feels fine. I don’t even have a fever. See, look at the thermometer. She doesn’t look and ends with telling me a hot cup of chicken noodle soup is the only thing I need. I’m glad when she leaves. I can jump up and down on the bed again, go as high as I can go. My legs spring off my mattress and my fingers touch the ceiling every time. I’m committed and there’s no stopping me.
She returns carrying a portable tray of soup and crackers. The aroma of the soup fills every inch of my room. I like watching the steam come off the bowl. It’s a good feeling but I really want to go outside. My mom notices the bed spread is messed up. She gives me a disapproving look. One where it’s clear she is the boss and I better do what she wants.
“Quit jumping on your bed,” she yells.
When I plop down, she sets the tray over my legs. After the incident where I knocked her hand hard enough to tip everything on the tray including the soup, jello, and can of opened 7-Up, she leaves me to place it where I want it. I scooch the tray closer to me, break a few crackers into the soup, and slurp up a spoonsful before putting it down again.
“Can’t I open the window for a few minutes?” I ask.
“No, you can’t,” my mom says. “The only thing you should be doing is resting.”
“You’re ruining my day,” I say with emphasis.
“You’re telling me. I thought I’d have a nice day curled up on the sofa myself. Your father is gone and here I am doing my motherly duties. I knew I shouldn’t have let you go to that birthday party. I’m positive that’s where you got sick.”
She watches me eat and leaves with the tray when I’m done. I wait until I hear her going down the stairs and jump out of bed. I open the window, not caring how much she yells at me later. I can always lie and tell her I felt lightheaded and needed fresh air. I close my eyes and envision myself sledding with my friends down the hills near Jefferson Avenue and Jackson Parkway. If I’m still in bed by tomorrow, I will know someone is punishing me. I open my eyes and close the window.
Back in bed, I hear my mom rattling around downstairs. I imagine she is wondering what my appetite will be tonight. I pull my covers up to my chin and stare at the ceiling fan. I wonder when my dad will be back. I’m envious of my sister being able to be out of her room. The room is chillier. It makes me happy. I take a deep breath and exhale. A smile forms on my lips. I don’t know why. I pick up my Batman comic sitting on top of my math book.
Ah, the life of a ten-year old. Can’t beat that, cold or not.