The Middle

Colton Rooney
The Middle Colton Rooney started to tell stories before he could even write them. When he was only three, Colton’s daycare teacher wrote on his progress report that he was “a natural born storyteller.” Once he learned to read and write, he was thrilled to be able to get his ideas down on paper. Storytelling continues to be his passion. He is 9 years old and lives in New Jersey with his family. He has an older brother and a younger sister so he knows something about being in the middle.

“All this time, I thought I was the only one who had horrible days. But my whole family never had a perfect day. Who cared about having a perfect day? I had my family.”

Welcome to the life of being in the middle.

I never have one perfect day. Everyone gets in the way of my perfect day. It’s always someone that ruins it. Every day, I think, Today’s the day, but every day, it fails. My mom has five children. I’m the middle child.

***

“Get up, you sleepypants!” Jack screamed.

I woke up in my bedroom with bags under my eyes. I looked out the window. It was still night.

“Help me turn on the computer,” Jack said slowly. That’s my older brother. He mostly texts his friends and does other pre-teen stuff.

I groaned and then walked to the office. I looked at the computer and showed him how to work it. “You just click the power button,” I muttered.

“Oh,” Jack said embarrassed.

Then, I walked out of the office. Down the hall, I saw the family picture that was taken very long ago. I arrived back in my bedroom. Then, I slammed my face onto the pillow.

When I woke up, it was still dark, and everyone was asleep. Everyone had his or her own room. I sneaked past all six bedrooms and into the kitchen. I quickly poured a bowl of cereal. I had a perfect bowl of cereal and a nice, peaceful breakfast.

Click! Clank! I saw my younger brother, Andrew, walk downstairs.

“I can’t sleep,” he whispered.

“Why not?” I asked.

“I had a nightmare,” Andrew whimpered.

“Don’t worry, it’s just a dream. It can’t really hurt you,” I said.

“I guess so,” he said with a worried tone. Then, Andrew went back upstairs.

***

When it reached dawn, everyone was awake. Dad had to take me, Andrew, and Chloe to school. Mom had to take Jack and Mia.

Mornings are chaos. Never in my life have I had a good morning. I wish that the day would come that I could have a perfect day, even if my siblings try to stop me.

In the car, I was talking to Chloe about her first day of kindergarten.

“Kindergarten sounds really scary,” she said, very frightened.

“Chloe, I’m sure you’ll have a blast!” I yelled.

“Really?” she asked.

“Really,” I responded.

Dad dropped her off, and it was just me and Andrew.

It was Andrew’s first day of second grade. Andrew wasn’t scared. He was really happy.

“Y’know, it’s a good thing that you’re excited,” I told Andrew.

Andrew gave me a smile.

When Andrew was dropped off, it was time for me to go to my first day of fourth grade.

But just imagine how scared Jack would be. It was his first day of middle school. And next year, Mia would be going to high school. That must be really, really scary.

Dad dropped me off, and I was scared to death.

I walked into Room 220, and I took a deep breath.

“Good morning, Gabe. May you please take your seat?” the teacher announced.

My seat was towards the back of the room. I walked all the way to the back. I couldn’t see the teacher from where I was sitting. Everything was a blur. I knew already that fourth grade wasn’t going to be my best year.

When school was over, I entered the car and was silent the whole ride home. Try number one for the perfect day was a failure.

When I got home, I wanted to go to bed early. And that’s what I did.

I was on my bed, thinking about whether I would ever get one perfect day. Everyone had a great first day of school except me. It is never fair.

“Gabe, are you okay?” my mom asked.

“I’m fine. I just had a rough day,” I said in a shy kind of voice.

My mom shut the door. I hoped to have a better day tomorrow.

***

  In the morning, I was the last one to wake up. I quickly put on my clothes, got my backpack, and ran into the car. When I got to school, I took my seat. This time, it was a

little easier to see the teacher, and we got to do this cool science experiment.

At recess, I met a kid named Lucas.

“Hi,” Lucas said.

  “Hello?” I whispered, “What’s your name?”

“Lucas,” he replied. “What’s yours?”

“Gabe,” I stammered.

“Goodbye!” Lucas said.

I just met a new friend on the second day of school! Today might finally be the perfect day!

“Back out of the way, kid!” a bully yelled in the hallway. He pushed me to the floor and laughed.

“Ow!” I yelled.

I was left on the floor in the hallway alone. And no one cared.

“Help!” I screamed. No one could hear me.

I had heard of this bully. His name was Tom. I got up and cleaned myself up. I hoped I’d never run into him again. Try number two was a failure. I knew it wasn’t true, that I wasn’t really going to have a perfect day. That day would never come.

Later, our family celebrated our dad’s birthday. We had to get all dressed up since it was a fancy restaurant, and everything they served there was fancy. The name of the restaurant was Astoria. My dad loves Astoria because their food is amazing.

I ordered chicken fingers to eat. I love chicken fingers!

“Cheers to dad,” Jack announced.

“Cheers to dad!” everyone yelled.

Everyone toasted high up in the air. It was an amazing night! It was very, very close to being perfect, but not perfect. Try number three had to be perfect, it had to.

***

I woke up in the morning feeling cranky. I yawned, and then I walked to the porch. I sat on the patio couch, looking at the beautiful sight of my backyard. It was right next to the woods. I had never ever been out there before. There was a river all the way back there, but its water was now polluted, and it was filled with garbage. Just looking down there made me want to go into the woods, but I had heard there were bears back there.

There was no school because it was Saturday. I was the only one up. I continued to look around my backyard. Then, I walked down the stairs and into my backyard. I looked around for a second.

“What are you doing out here?” Mia asked.

“Nothing!” I yelled.

“Are you trying to go out in the woods?!” she screamed.

“No, of course not!” I replied.

Mia gave an “I’m watching you” kind of look. She walked inside and slammed the door behind her.

I sat down and thought about the perfect day. Lucas was coming over that night for a sleepover, and I just hoped everyone didn’t embarrass me. I sat around, waiting for almost three hours. I stood on my head and got a head rush. Finally, when it struck 5:00, he arrived.

“Hey, Lucas,” I sputtered.

“Hey, Gabe,” Lucas replied.

“C’mon outside now!” I yelled.

Lucas followed me outside into the backyard. I walked into the woods.

“Are we supposed to go back there?” Lucas asked.

“It’s fine.” I lied.

We stepped foot into the dangerous woods. I was in a lot of trouble. The woods were very dark. I felt like someone was out to get me. I had goosebumps down my skin.

“Maybe we should go back,” Lucas suggested.

“No,” I said. I was as scared as Lucas, but I was very curious. I kept on walking forward.

“I’m going back,” Lucas sputtered. He went all the way back to the yard.

I stopped. I decided to go back. I turned around and went the other way.

When I came back from the woods, Lucas was gone.

“Lucas!” I yelled. I went inside and saw Lucas. But he was hanging out with Jack.

“Jack, get away from Lucas,” I sputtered.

“No way!” Jack yelled.

“Lucas is my friend,” I scoffed.

Then, Chloe and Andrew came downstairs.

“Oh, why is everyone down here?” I screamed.

Then, Mia came down.

“That’s it!” I yelled. I stomped to the office and slammed the door.

Lucas slowly opened the door.

“Hello?” Lucas echoed.

The lights were turned off. Lucas turned on the lights. I was curled up in a little ball.

“Gabe, I’m still your best friend,” he sputtered.

I didn’t answer.

“Gabe, c’mon let’s play,” Lucas continued.

Then, my head popped out. “You promise you won’t ditch me?” I whispered.

“I promise,” Lucas answered.

When it was 11:00, we started to go to sleep.

“Good night,” I said.

“Good night,” Lucas responded.

By midnight, we were asleep.

***

I stretched and groaned. Lucas woke up a few minutes after I did.

“I had a great sleep!” I yelled.

Lucas stretched his back. “I agree,” he said.

“Breakfast!” Mom yelled.

Chloe and Andrew were the first ones down, then Jack and Mia, and then me and Lucas. Mom made pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausages. As we were eating breakfast, Lucas and I talked about our next sleepover.

After breakfast, Lucas’s mom came to pick him up.

“Bye!” I yelled. Lucas waved while he was in the car.

“That was fun,” I said. “Tomorrow, I have to start try number three for the perfect day. Yesterday and today don’t count.”

“Well, good luck,” Andrew whispered.

In my room I made a plan for try number three. If I didn’t follow the plan, I was going to fail again. I couldn’t fail. Try number three had to be perfect.

***

When I got to the classroom, nothing bad happened. So far, so good.

Until Tom came back. “Hey, chump!” Tom yelled.

I tried to ignore him.

“You trying to have a perfect day?” he laughed.

“Yes,” I muttered.

Tom dropped me to the floor. He also stepped on my foot.

“Ow!” I screamed.

“Oops. Sorry, does that hurt?” Tom said sarcastically.

“Yes, it kind of does,” I said.

“Oh, I’m very sorry,” he laughed.

All of the sudden, Lucas came out.

“Back off,” Lucas sputtered.

“I’m not scared of you,” Tom answered.

I was shocked. I didn’t know Lucas was tough.

Lucas grabbed my hand and took me away from Tom.

“You will pay for that, Lucas. You will pay!” Tom yelled.

“You saved me,” I stammered.

“I couldn’t let you get beat up by Tom,” Lucas sputtered.

“Thank you,” I responded.

“No problem,” Lucas said. Then, he was gone.

When I got home, everyone was having pizza and watching a movie.

“Can I have some pizza?” I asked.

“Sorry, but there is nothing left,” Jack sputtered.

“Fine,” I said.

I walked onto the porch. This day was definitely horrible. First, I got attacked by Tom, and now, my family had forgotten about me.

Why does the world hate me so much?! All I’m asking for is one perfect day. Well, I’m done with this. Looking at the damp sky made me wonder, why me?

“Gabe?” a voice said.

It was my dad. “Look, I’m sorry we watched a movie and had pizza without you,” he sputtered.

“It’s not about that, Dad. It’s because I never had a perfect day.” I cried.

“Wait, it’s about that?” Dad asked.

“Yeah,” I stammered.

“None of us ever had a perfect day,” Dad said.

“What?!” I yelled.

“It’s true. With a family of seven, it’s impossible to have a perfect day,” Dad laughed.

“Really? Then, what about the time…uh,” I said cluelessly.

“See? There are no memories of a perfect day,” Dad sputtered.

“Huh. I guess there isn’t?” I laughed.

Then, Dad and I started laughing hysterically.

“What’s so funny?” Mom asked.

“Gabe thinks that everyone has had a perfect day except for him,” Dad laughed.

“Really?” she asked.

“Really,” I said.

Then, everyone was laughing.

All this time, I thought I was the only one who had horrible days. But my whole family never had a perfect day. Who cared about having a perfect day? I had my family. When we got in, we continued watching the movie as a family.

And I went to sleep knowing that there is no such thing as a perfect day.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.