Renny walks home. It's getting dark. It’s already 4:30. School let out an hour ago. She’s only a block away from home. Renny lives in a friendly neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio.
Brisk, icy winds frost her face. The cold air freezes the inside of her nose. She adjusts the backpack that hangs loosely on her shoulder. Her hair is tightly pulled into a ponytail.
The ponytail exposes her now frozen ears. She reaches the front of her house. It’s a old apartment. Renny’s family lives on the third floor.
She walks through the yard, the dew, from the wet grass clings to her white sneakers. She climbs the steps to the front door and presses the intercom.
“Hey Isaac can you buzz me in?” Renny asks. There's no response, just the light sound of the
doors lock clicking. Renny pulls the door open and she's greeted by a wave of warm air. The hallway smells like the usual damp mold.
The paint is chipping from the red walls and a chandelier hangs from the old cracked ceiling.
Renny’s mother tells her that she should be grateful that she lives in the oldest building in Toledo but Renny would much rather live in one of the newer buildings closer to her school.
She walks over the rusty elevator. There sits Grady the elevator boy. He's in charge of working to old rust bucket. Grady presses the three button and it half illuminates.
He opens the metal fence that keeps riders safe. Renny steps in and stands in the farthest corner from Grady. He closes the squeaky gate and turns to face Renny.
“Hi, Ren!” He says displaying his crooked yellow teeth.
“Graydon.” She says nodding her head. The elevator bumps around. It smells like wet old metal. Ren is positive she can hear the gears and pulleys wind.
Thankfully the elevator comes to a stop and Grady quickly opens the gate.
“Goodbye.” He nods. Ren doesn’t bother to answer she just makes a quick beeline to her room.
She quickly fumbles through her bag. Finally, she finds her keys. Ren is very aware that Grady is still watching her from the elevator.
She pushes through the door to be caressed by the comfort of home. The air smells like her mom’s soup. Ren kicks off her white shoes.
The feeling of the fury carpet between her toes is so satisfying.
“Ren?” Her mom shouts from the kitchen.
“Yeah it’s me!” she says rounding the corner to the kitchen. Her mom is wearing a pastel pink dress with a brown burlap apron tied around her neck and waist.
Her thick black hair is tied into a messy bun. She turns around. She looks tired.
“Can you cut the carrot sticks?” She says nodding her head at a bowl of washed artificial carrots. Ren takes the bowl next to the sink. She pushes the metal tap to turn on the water.
The hot water feels nice on her skin. She proceeds to re-tie her thin brown hair into a tighter ponytail. She grabs a small knife.
“Kyla’s asleep,” her mother warns “keep the noise level down.”
Ren cuts the carrots in silence moving the knife back and forth then up and down. She cuts the carrots into tiny cubes. When Ren is done she takes the cubes and slides them into the soup.
The mixture gurgles as the carrots drop in.
“How’s school?” Her mother finally breaks the silence.
“It’s good,” Both Ren and her mom let that answer hang in the air for a while.
“Can you set the table?”
Ren grabs three knives, forks, spoons, and napkins. She lays them out delicately on the table. Just then the front door swings open. Two tall men stand in the door. One of whom is her father.
She stares at him smiling. His green eyes are smiling too.
“Ren, can you set a place for Walter?”