A Girl Named Hush
She was a small, unassuming girl with pale blue eyes and light blonde hair. She walked slightly bent forward at the waist from the weight of the backpack on her spindly shoulders, and stared at her scuffed shoes so as not to fall as she made her way down the packed hallway.
Several people called out to her –mentioning things about calling each other on the weekend or finally planning that pool party at Jimmy Baw’s house- and she replied to them with a smile and a congenial remark.
No one noticed, however, her change in expression when the dark blue car pulled up in front of the school and sat, idling, in the space reserved for the buses. No one noticed the way her bright eyes dulled. Her mouth turned stiff. And her face seemed to grow pale underneath her freckles. No one noticed the way she uncomfortably opened the passenger seat of the car and slid in, saying somberly as she did so, “Hello, Daddy.”
“Did you get your homework done, Hush?” He asked before she had even fully closed her door; Logan McNally was not one for pleasantries.
Hush did not know how to respond to this ridiculous question without making him mad. She hadn’t even been out of school for five minutes, how could she have gotten it done? Finally she decided to just tell the truth. “No, Daddy.”
“Stupid girl,” Logan muttered.
School buses were starting to line up behind his car.
“I’m sorry,” her voice quivered.
“Yeah, I bet you are,” Logan muttered darkly.
The slap happened before it even had a chance to register in Hush’s brain that Logan was moving towards her. One minute both hands were on the steering wheel, and the next, his hand was flying across her cheek, leaving an angry red mark that stretched from her left eye to her chin. She cupped her hands to her face and huddled as close to her car door as she could manage.
The air was now filled with the steady beep of buses’ horns.
Outside, no one could see her through the tinted windows. No one knew inside the common blue car a girl had just been slapped. No one cared about a girl named Hush.
Logan pulled his car away from the curb and out of the school parking lot, acting as normal as any other Dad who just picked up their daughter from school would. Meanwhile, his daughter just stared out her window and pressed herself even closer to the cold car door as if trying to escape.
Logan burst into the small, suburban home much louder than necessary, calling out as a greeting to his wife, “ISN’T DINNER READY YET?”
He didn’t notice the way Leah McNally winced as the front door banged against the wall behind it, or that she looked so tired she was practically dead on her feet. The only thing Logan noticed was that the air was void of any smells that indicated dinner was in the oven, and that made him angry.