Stella walked into the empty house letting the backpack slide off her shoulder and slip onto the floor. Eventually, she would hang it on the coat rack, its proper “home,” to avoid upsetting her mom.
She went to fetch the mail, a chore she found somewhat fascinating, like history. “Mail is for old people,” Stella once told her mom. “Young people text or email. Even emails are kind’uv. . .tired,” she said.
She rapid-fire flipped through the bills, grocery circulars, charity pleas and then stopped so short a pizza postcard sliced her outer baby finger.
“Owww. Shit,” she spat out, proud of how the swear word rolled from her mouth strong, natural.
Stella stared at the generic envelope that bore her name--written in messy cursive. The writer penned a small star above the “a.” No return address. She ran to her bedroom and even though alone, she locked her door.
Minutes later, a scream ripped from Stella so raw, so piercing that every animal within several blocks raised their ears in alert.
Before the two cans of cheese ravioli—i.e. dinner—fell from the grocery bag onto the backpack and rolled onto the kitchen floor, Rina knew her house was empty.
“Stella? Stella!” Her pleas bounced off the walls as the rest of the bag’s contents tumbled from her arms.
Just then, across town, Stella let the escalator carry her up and up to a waiting train. A train leading somewhere. Where he was. Waiting.