Rain is pouring down in sheets, running in rapid streams down the streets. The harsh wind turns my pocket umbrella inside out, leaving me exposed to the elements while I struggle to pull the black flaps back down into place. To stop this from happening again, I hold the handle close and clutch onto the top of the silver pole. I break out into a brisk pace and head down my block to see that no one is outside. As expected, they’re all in their homes, taking shelter from the downpour.
Once I reach the side door, I close my umbrella and slip it back into one of my bag’s side pockets, retrieving my keys so that I could get inside. Finally, I’m home. A sigh of relief escapes me as I wipe my shoes on the rug.
My shihpoo, Shana, appears at the top of the stairs, thrilled to bits to see me. Her paws tap excitedly on the wooden floor as her tail wags back and forth. A smile bursts across my face. I ascend the steps to greet her and pet her soft, caramel hair.
Shana follows me into the living room and jumps up onto the leather recliner where my mom is messaging her friends on Facebook. Mom looks up from her phone to welcome me back with a hug and asks how my day was. I tell her that class was boring. That’s not all it was, though. It was lonely, too, but I keep that part to myself because the loneliness was bearable. I tell her that I’m going to take a shower. All the while, Shana clamors for my attention. I pet her again and assure her that I’ll be right back down.
I go to my room upstairs to put down my bag and take off my shoes and socks. I grab a couple of towels from the closet beside the bathroom before I go inside and lock the door, freeing myself from my wet clothes shortly after. I turn the knobs until the water is warm, then step into the shower. The heat rushes the layer of cold off me and washes it down the drain. I take my time in cleansing myself. Massaging my head with shampoo and conditioner. Lathering my body with soap. Shaving away all of the unwanted hair. By the time I’m done, I feel nice and refreshed.
I return to my room and change into a comfortable pair of clothes, then go back downstairs to rejoin my mom and my little sister in the living room. Shana stands up on the recliner and wags her tail, going up on her hind legs when I’m within reach. She kisses my face as soon as I take her into my arms. She cuddles up against me and I nuzzle my cheek against her neck, reveling in her warmth.
I settle on the couch afterwards, turning on the TV to watch some YouTube videos. Although Mom doesn’t like or agree with most of the content I watch, there’s a silent agreement between us to agree to disagree. Some of our views align, some don’t. We’re different in many different ways, but we’re also the same. We share the same experiences. We share the same anxiety and depression. It’s not just blood that connects us together. It’s the love and empathy that we have for one another.
Hours later, after my hair is nice and dry, we all hear the side door open. Dad’s home. Shana barks and scampers off to go greet him with the same enthusiasm she did me. When Dad coos her like one would a baby, Mom and I share an amused smile. He peeks his bald head into the living room to say hi and we say hi back. I’m not nearly as close to my dad as I am with my mom, but I appreciate everything that he’s done for me. He hasn’t only financially supported me my whole life; he has emotionally supported me as well.
Not everyone can say this about their parents. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am. There are even those who take their parents for granted, but I don’t. I love them, I appreciate them, and I let them know that I do. I’ll forever be grateful to them for everything they have done for me and for everything they have given me, especially this beautiful home. It may not seem like much, but I do what I can for them.
I do what I can for this home because this place is everything to me.