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Ruan Mills Burke

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The Crack in the Door
By Ruan Mills Burke
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Through the eyes of a child
(276 words)

 I tiptoed down the stairs, avoiding the seventh one, knowing that it would creak. I could hear them talking. Were they talking about me?

As I crept along the hall, I heard her voice slightly raised but the words were muffled. I would have to get closer. I reached the door to the kitchen and paused. What if they caught me listening? Would they be cross? I think they would, but I want to hear!

Leaning gently on the handle, I inched the door open. I could see them through the crack, face to face across the table. Both looked very serious. A long time passed when neither one of them said anything. The silence was never ending, like we’d been frozen in time.  Had I done something really bad? Is that why they sent me to my room?

As I watched with bated breath, I saw him finally reach across and grab her wrists. She was crying. Perhaps she had done something bad. How could that be? I turned my ear to the crack to listen.

“We’ll see how she handles it go from there.” I heard him whisper.

“But what if she hates it and wants to come back?” I heard her ask, her voice shaking.

I clutched my chest in panic. They were sending me away! Why couldn’t I stay here with them? Surely I hadn’t been so naughty that they didn’t want me anymore.  My heart raced and sweat appeared on my forehead. I didn’t know what to do.   I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear any more but I couldn’t tear myself away from that crack in the door. 



*The child is listening to her parents talking about moving house.



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Reviewed by Michael True 8/7/2013
An interesting image but I can imagine, from my own experiences, the wave of fear and self examination that undoubtedly followed the eves-dropping. I almost want to know what it could have been that she thought/imagined would have driven them to send her away. Such innocence should never be burdened with parental rejection, although it happens all too frequently. M.True
Reviewed by Asa Seeley 4/16/2013
the child will look back one day and she warns her children about listening at cracked doors. well done

Reviewed by Arthur Mills, Jr. 6/26/2012
WOW. Great story...but I want to read more. I think Jean Piaget would have loved this too!
Reviewed by Budd Nelson 3/31/2012
A wonderful piece with a perfect ending. When we endeavor to learn what we were not meant to hear we can hear what we would have rather we hadn't.
Reviewed by Mary Ann Biddinger 3/28/2012
~Ruan~ A story expressed so well. The little girl is in despair
and crocodile tears flowing as she listens from the crack in the door. Wonderful writing. Lady Mary Ann
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton 3/28/2012
So they were talking about her. They were going to move, and she thought they were going to send her away. I'm glad you told us what her parents were talking about.

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