Her father was yelling again, but there was always the porch.
He wasn’t even her real father, he was her step father, thrust into her life unannounced and uninvited. His yelling had gotten worse recently, starting when she’d get home from school and not ending until she went to bed. Sadie learned the pattern quickly. So when the tensions rose and the tempers shortened, when she felt like she would rather evaporate into thin air than have to deal with his yelling, she would pick up a book from her shelf and sit outside on the porch to read in solitude.
The evening was warmer than usual, the sun shining its last rays onto the earth heating the surrounding crops. Sadie sat in the wicker chair enjoying the shade, knowing that if the sun were on her, she’d be sweating in no time. The muted tones of her step father’s voice seeped through the windows and doors of the house and Sadie wished that the house was strong enough to seal off his voice so the outside world would be unaffected by it, but she knew that wouldn’t happen. Even the pristine porch, her sanctuary, was tainted by his anger.
Curling up on the chair, she held C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in her hands. The smart kids at school liked the book and the dumb kids didn’t. Sadie hadn’t read it, though she has owned it for years, but she knew that she would like it because she wasn’t one of the dumb kids. There was something appealing to Sadie about escaping into a different world, one with soft snows and mythical creatures that interested her far more than being at home with her father and mother or being at school with the dumb kids. Waiting for some form of escape, Sadie opened the book and began to read.
Just after dusk, as the porch became enveloped in a dark blue hue, she began yearning to find a wardrobe of her own. Where would it be? She asked herself. If I could find a portal to a magical world, where would it be? She looked around, at the wicker chairs, the railing and the fields beyond the house. She looked and looked. Where would she go?
Under the porch, of course.
Sadie imagined it perfectly. She would find a slat at the base of the porch and she would enter it and crawl through a crazy tunnel. Much like Alice in Wonderland. Then on the other side would be her Narnia. A snowy pasture, quiet and undisturbed, with creatures that would greet her and befriend her. Like Snow White! She would do whatever she wanted all day and go wherever she decided to go. There would be other kids there to play with and they would be nice and fun and they could stay up late telling stories with them. There would be a huge library with every book she wanted to read and she would spend all days there sometimes. She’d be queen and never have to go to school again, never have to do chores, and never have to listen to her step father again. Given the choice, she would choose not to go home and instead, stay in her magical land forever. Things made sense there. She was happy there.
But Sadie knew that this wasn’t possible. She was twelve now and too old to play make believe. She snapped out of her daydream about the porch and listened to the quiet. It was quiet inside now and getting darker outside. She stood up, held onto her book, and went inside, knowing that the porch would always be there.