Smivey Stepward in Love and Other Misery – Chapter Four

Tornbey’s Lock-Up

“Weeooweeoo!  Smivey, are you up there? It’s time to go grocery shopping.  Weeooweeoo!”  Even though he had his bedroom door closed his mother’s voice thundered in his head.  He grabbed his pillow and held it tightly over his face, hoping she would think he wasn’t home from school yet. 

“Smivey! Weeooweeoo!” she repeated as she started up the stairs.  Soon he heard the old doorknob turn and his door open.   

“Are you sick?  What’s the matter?” his mother asked, walking over to his bed.   

“Nothing is the matter.  Everything is just great” he answered, still wishing his mother would leave him alone.   

“Good.  It’s time for grocery shopping, let’s go.”   

“I’m not going today,” Smivey answered, holding his breath.  He has never told his mother he is not going to do something she said.   

“Smivey Stepward, you get up off that bed this instant and march downstairs and get your shoes on.  We are going grocery shopping” his mother replied. 

Smivey wished he could throw up so he could stay home, but he knew it was useless to try to resist.  He slid off his bed and shuffled past his mother who was picking up socks.   

“Smivey, I don’t know how you can go through so many socks.  You must change your socks twice a day.  I just washed all these, and I wish you would learn to pick them up and take them to the washer like I have asked you to ten times before” his mother complained.  Smivey didn’t answer as he scuffled out the door and down the stairs. 

“Treighton Harford.  Why Treighton Harford?”  The longer Smivey thought about Elizabeth being with Treighton Harford the sicker he felt.  He hated the thought of being in the same classroom, knowing that the two of them were working together, pretending to be married.   

“How did school go today, dear?” Vivian asked.   

“I really don’t want to talk about it, mother.  Can’t we just drive and not talk?” Smivey responded in little more than a whisper.   

“Oh, now, what’s the matter?  Did you and Larry have a fight?”   


“Didn’t you like your lunch today?”   

“My lunch was fine,” Smivey said.   

“Then why don’t you tell me what happened and maybe I can help you.  It would really make me happy to help you feel happy.”   

“I’ll never be happy again,” Smivey thought as he stared out the window.  “I’d rather not talk about school, mother,” he said.  

Smivey was relieved when they finally reached Tornbey’s Market. His hopes of somehow getting lost in the store so his mother couldn’t ask any more questions were dashed when she said, “Why don’t you push the cart, dear.  Stay with me and we’ll pick things out together.”  And with that, he was right back in the classroom, watching Treighton and Elizabeth Harford pick out their groceries together. 

“I have to go to the bathroom, mother,” Smivey said.   

“Can’t you wait until we get home?  We just got here.”   

“No, I can’t wait.  I have to go right now.”  He didn’t have to go as badly as he made it sound.   

“Okay, dear.  I’ll wait right here until you come back so we can shop together.”   

Smivey wanted her to finish while he was in the bathroom so he wouldn’t have to shop at all.   

“Mother, you don’t have to wait.”   

“It’s not a problem.  I’ll wait right here,” she said. 

Smivey locked himself in the stall of the old bathroom and wished he could disappear.   

Finally, knowing he had been in the bathroom too long and his mother would soon come looking for him, he tried to open the stall door but it was stuck. He tried hitting it and hurt his hand.  He took a pen from his pocket and tried to pry the latch open but it broke in half and sticky black ink smeared all over his fingers.  Beginning to panic and forgetting he was still wearing his school clothes, he wiped his hands on his pants.  He shook the door.  Nothing.  He rammed his shoulder against it.  Still nothing. 

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