Anna & Amber's Secret Powers
CHAPTER 3: NOW & ZEN pg. 5
They walked almost silently, both enveloped in their thoughts, both wondering if this had been such a good idea, now that it was getting cold, both wondering what their destiny might hold as they stared bleakly ahead at the night bearing down on them.
Slowly they trudged up the side of Padua Road (it was Monte Vista south of Baseline, but Padua north of Baseline), instinctually dashing into the shadows when oncoming headlights coming down the road sliced into the dusky air. It was almost 6pm, and it seemed like they had been walking forever, but they would have to catch the 6pm van to the Zen Center to stay on schedule. The dusk had slipped away, leaving only inky night behind.
"C'mon, let's hurry up," said Anna, but when she looked behind her, her sister seemed to be stopped.
"Hey," she called out.
"I have to pee," admitted Amber, with almost a little squeak.
"Go behind that big rock," suggested Anna, motioning to where it looked like a boulder and some pine trees were springing up beside the garage of one of the old fashioned houses that dotted the road.
So that is how Amber was caught with her pants down, squatting behind a big rock, a trickle of pee still sputtering out of her, when a light from the nearby garage snapped on and startled them both.
* * *
"Oh no, they forgot their present!" Mom thought to herself when she was tidying up after the girls had gone off to Sherene's birthday party. She picked up the gift, still wrapped, which had been abandoned. It felt lighter than what it looked like from the outside, but she didn't want to open it. It had smiley faces and balloons all over it. "Maybe I should drop it off at Sherene's?"
She got out Sherene's number and was about to call when Dad came home from work. Dad dropped his wallet and keys on the piano bench and went to the kitchen to get a drink of water. He could hear mom getting on the phone in the next room. It sounded like she was on the phone to Megan, because she was talking about Anna and Amber and a party. But then mom's tone changed, from nice and apologetic to bewildered to finally a little shocked and angry.
Dad heard Mom say, "But they told me it was her birthday!" Then, "But you came to pick them up!" And finally, "How is it possible no one knows? Then where did they go?"
Mom had hung up by the time Dad plopped down at the computer to check his email. She had a face like she had just eaten some peppers. "Anna and Amber are missing," she said.
"Finally, we were able to get rid of them!" he joked.
"They lied to me and now they're nowhere."
"Lied?" Dad sat up in his chair.
"They were supposed to be going to Sherene's birthday party. But Sherene's birthday is in February!"
"It's a little late now to be having a party," observed Dad.
"No, there was no party."
"How disappointing for Sherene, no birthday party."
"Daddy, focus. There was no party, but that is what our dear daughters told us."
"Then where did they go?"
"I don't know."
This was becoming a little frustrating. "How could you not know where they went?"
Mom explained to Dad what had happened, the party, their rushing out the door. "I heard a car horn honk, and..."
"Wasn't that Sherene's mom?"
"Whose mom was it, then?"
"No one's mom."
"Then who honked? Sherene's dad?"
Mom frowned. "Are we watching the same movie?. No one picked them up. That's the problem. I found their gift for Sherene just sitting here..." She gestured to where the unopened gift lay on the couch. "So I called Sherene's mom, because I was going to drop it off at the party, and then she says there is no party!"
"Poor Sherene," Dad again observed sympathetically.
Mom looked at Dad like he had just farted or something, because her face puckered up.
Dad realized it was serious. "Ok, I'll look around the neighborhood. Maybe they're playing outside somewhere."
"I don't know. I don't know." Mom repeated, since the words sounded so foreign to her.
Dad went to get on his shoes and Mom sat glumly turning over things in their mind. Their children had never lied to them before. There was no place they would need to go that their parents couldn't have taken them if they would have just asked and done their online tutoring first. Why would they have made up a story about Sherene? And most importantly, where were they now?