I got bored.
Shifting the weight of the box to one arm, she paused a moment before sharply rapping on the door with her knuckles. She blew a stray lock of hair out of her eyes, waiting for the approaching footsteps to open the door. An aged hand reached toward the screen door, pushing it outward. Her younger hand took the handle and pulled enough to give her entry.
“Hello, dear. Thank you so much,” said a raspy voice from inside. Despite the undeniable weakness in her neighbor’s voice, Jewel could hear the warmth and real gratitude the woman felt. With a smile pasted on her face, Jewel stepped inside. She had been getting the groceries for Mrs. Sawyer for two months now.
“Would you like some lemonade, Julianne?” Jewel winced at the use of her given name. It had taken her a year to get everybody at school to call her Jewel. Her parents believed it was simply a rebel phase in which she would hopefully grow out of soon.
“No, thank you, Mrs. Sawyer.” Her footsteps echoed softly as she crossed the wooden entryway into the kitchen. Setting the box on the marble island, she began pulling out the plastic bags. Mrs. Sawyer smiled at her, sitting down on the couch just across from the kitchen. She had learned from the first experience that Jewel was quite capable of putting things in the right place and wouldn’t accept any help.
“How are you feeling today, Mrs. Sawyer?” the girl asked while putting the frozen dinners in the freezer. The macaroni made her stomach grumble, but she took no heed of it.
“Just fine, dear. Just waiting for my Jesus to come take me home.” It was the same reply Jewel got every time she asked. The answer baffled her every time, but she didn’t think much of it. After all, all adults were strange, and the older they got, the stranger.
“If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to call me. You have both my numbers.” It was a ritual they went through. While Jewel wasn’t particularly a people person, she had taken a great liking to Mrs. Sawyer. The old woman had so much wisdom in her eyes, so much gentleness in her soul. Jewel felt an unexplainable kinship to her, and had started doing simple tasks like groceries for her. Mrs. Sawyer had been restrained to her house for the past two years due to health problems that came on in her old age.
As she placed the last soup can on the shelf, Jewel heard Mrs. Sawyer’s reply. “Of course, Julianne.” Then she left, saying that she would see herself out. Her gaze swept the porch after closing the screen door, scrutinizing the peeling boards. “This needs a paint job,” she muttered, then turned her gaze to the lawn. The neighbor boy seemed to be doing a good job there; the grass was nicely trimmed and the flowers were in full bloom. Mrs. Sawyer did love her chrysanthemums. Jewel was sure that every single color of flower was represented in the old woman’s garden.
Her walk down the sidewalk led her to her own house, four doors down. Her own flowers were blooming, azaleas and bleeding hearts. She thought the latter was quite fitting for her own mood. Perfectly beautiful, but such a depressing name. The porch swing sat silent and empty, somehow cold-hearted. Sighing, Jewel sat down on the wooden bench, pondering her own thoughts. She really had no reason to be depressed, or even sad. She had a good life. At sixteen, she had a healthy home with both parents and two younger sisters. She made decent grades at her highschool, and she had a good group of friends. Something felt amiss, though. An emptiness in her heart that she kept trying to fill with endless searching, but it was all in vain.