There’s a sound that takes me back to my childhood. I’ll save you the guessing, it’s not rolling, clapping thunder or tap-tap rain. It’s snapping ankles, up the stairs, in the dark. Is that the walls or someone walking? I notice it everywhere I go.
At school, basketball players, white shoes snap ankles, popping up the steps with tired toes.
In my neighborhood as a kid, Uncle Jimmy down the street. He wasn’t as scary as he sounded, just lived down the street and popped around from his time in the Service. He gave us peanut butter jelly, snap ankle sandwiches, every Thursday after practice.
At the library, little old ladies climbing up the ladders with socks rolled inches above their old lady sneakers, soft sock snap ankles.
In the grocery store, younger workers hustled by with squeaking carts and grinding metal. They hopped down the concrete steps, taking a 10, smoke break snap ankles.
And there’s the reason why I remember it all. I was stupid, younger than I shoulda been, waiting at the top of the soggy wooden steps that led to the door. A shaved head, thick cologne studding boy climbed up them every night, summer love snap ankles.
It wasn’t until I started locking the door and his squeaky wet feet snapped up the steps and knocked anyway that I started hearing them everywhere I went.
It was 50 missed calls today, baby I miss you, snap ankles that kept me nervous in the dark. It was the looking over my shoulder, replaying old threats, is that his stinky cologne snap ankles that keep me up at night.
Sit down and listen for it, anticipation laden and suspicion dripping snap ankles soup. Wear your white shoes snap ankles, eat your peanut butter jelly snap ankle sandwiches. Cozy into your soft sock snap ankles and soggy smoke break snap ankles. And feel your heart skip a beat, when summer love snap ankles come knocking. And don’t answer when “baby, I miss you,” snap ankles come calling. And plug your nose at the stinky cologne snap ankles, or you’ll be up all night.
Eliza Stopps is a writer of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Author of the Leslie Kim Serials now Available on Amazon, and lover of poetry. She has been writing poems since before she could turn scribbles into letters and usually eats sunflower seeds while she does it.