It was a nice, spring day outside. A nice day to be one of the few people in town not trapped in IKEA. Ridley stood in the massive parking lot holding her ferret, Carol, who was on a leash. Her black hair was finally of the length where she could tie it back into a pretty substantial ponytail. She stood there, hair tied back, ferret in her arms, and with red, heart shaped sunglasses covering her eyes. She was trying not to smile.
Her father was locked inside IKEA. But her amusement was slightly dampered when more police cars pulled in, sirens blaring. They were now saying that this was a hostage situation. A quiet, but friendly young police officer with a crew cut started walking up to Ridley. This particular officer was familiar with her home situation, so she knew he wasn’t coming to ask her why she was by herself.
“What brings you here, young lady?”
“My dad’s inside.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. He’ll be okay, don’t worry.”
“Oh.. well, uh…” he didn’t quite know how to respond to that “...we were thinking it may be best for you to clear out. Things might get a little hairy over here and you’re well, a little young and all..”
Ridley set her ferret down and started walking home, as if she were walking a dog. The crowd of police officers watched after the peculiar sight as Ridley walked off into the distance.
Several hours later, back at the apartment, the house phone started ringing. It was the police officer from earlier. He told her she could expect her dad home tonight, he’d made it out of the store safely. But Ridley’s father didn’t stumble in the door until much later that night. His loud, drunken stomps woke her from her sleep. And for the first time maybe ever, he walked into Ridley’s room. He stopped for a moment, taken aback by the colored-pencil mural that stretched a colorful forest scene across the far wall behind her “bed”. He finally spoke:
“You wanna know something about your mom, Rid?”