The mission

Danielle Deraleau, Featured Columnist

     “We’ve been trained for this,” I say. My two best friends Kelsey and Maddie, nod while watching me with expressions equally as serious as mine.

     “We can do this,” I continue. “A large part of our lives have led up to this moment. And remember, we never leave any girl behind.”

     They nod again, muttering words of reinforcement as they let go of my hands they have been holding. Kelsey drives us to our evil lair. Otherwise known as my house. We retreat to my room where we grab our dark hoodies, keys, and phones. We’re only there for a few instants, and the other members of my family are already slipping into bed due to the late hour as we silently slide out of the front door, locking it behind us.

     The wind on this night is incredibly strong, blowing in a front from somewhere in the east. I help Kelsey by opening the car door for her as she grabs the objects critical to our mission and safely deposits them in the backseat, where she sits with them. I sit in the front of Maddie’s four door car, and she cranks the engine from the driver’s side and pulls away from the curb.

     Colbie Caillat blasts from the radio, ruining the intense mood. “Sorry,” Maddie apologizes, inserting a new CD and filling the car with Shakira instead.

     There’s not much talking on the drive to our first stop. Just the sound of the wind breaking against the car and my voice giving Maddie directions as needed. I can hear Kelsey behind me in the back, arranging the important objects and untangling them as we near our destination.

     As we turn onto the street next to our first location I reach forward and turn down the radio, filling the car with silence. Maddie passes the targeted house and turns around, parking against the opposite curb and facing in the direction of our getaway. She cuts the engine. “Hoodies on.” I tell them, and they silently oblige.

     I lift my own hood over my head as I survey the house from the passenger seat. There are few lights on, and the house looks almost empty. A single truck sits parked in front, directly even with the front door. What bothers me though is the light in the window in the top left corner of the house. I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

     “Do you have it, Kelsey?” I ask, turning around.

     “Yeah,” she says, holding the item close to her, securely against her stomach.

     “Okay. Follow me you guys.”

     As soon as we get out of the car a blast of wind hits us. The wind is more of an annoyance then a hindrance, but Kelsey has to struggle to hold onto the object as we take off for the nearest thing to hide behind. This turns out to be a mailbox, and I glance around as we crouch behind the brick in case someone looks out of one of the windows in the house. I also give the houses surrounding us a quick sweep, knowing three teenagers in dark hoodies must look incredibly suspicious. But we’re fortunate, and no one notices us. I peek around the corner of the mailbox to look at the most important house again. There’s no sign of movement in any of the windows, so we continue on, making a dash for the truck.

     We make it there quickly, and all duck behind it. The wind has died down now, and the air is calm. I can’t hear anything except the faint rustle of leaves and the humming of the porch lights.

     Then the loud sound of the truck’s horn and the flash of its lights cut through the darkness, startling all of us.

     We press ourselves up against the truck and hold our breath. It only lasted for a second, as if someone had locked the car. My immediate thought is that we’ve been caught. I’m the closest to the front of the car, Maddie is next to me, and Kelsey is near the trunk. “Don’t move.” I whisper to them. They listen, and we stay there, paused in time.

     I count to 20 in my head, then slowly rise, careful to conceal myself with the truck. My hood partially obscures my vision, so I push it back a little. There’s movement in the top left window I was worried about. I can see a teenage boy, his back to me, pacing in front of the windows.

     I duck back down. “He’s in front of the windows.” I tell Kelsey and Maddie. Their panicked eyes stare back at me.

     They watch me as I count to 20, rise again, and check the windows. This time there’s no one there.

     Suddenly, I suspect our time is limited. I eye the front door, afraid it’s going to be pushed open at any moment. And I go into action mode.

     “Maddie, switch places with Kelsey.” I demand in a whisper.

     They do as I say, and Kelsey passes me the ribbon. I crouch down, the gravel of the driveway digging into my knee as I loop the ribbon around the side view mirror of the truck, trying it in a secure knot five times.

     “Maddie, go start the car,” I say as I tie another knot for good measure.

     She scrambles down the driveway, and I hear the engine come to life. I look at Kelsey, who’s still holding tight to the object.

     “Let it go on three,” I tell her, “And we’ll run.”

     We shift, our sneakers making what seems like the loudest noise possible against the gravel on the driveway. “One,” I say.

     We’re crouching, poised to run. “Two,”

     The wind whips against us again. “Three!”

     Kelsey lets go of the balloon, and it floats into the air, catching in place due to the knot of its string around the mirror, and we run.

     Kelsey is already in the backseat by the time I open my door and climb in because I’ve been watching the window as I run. I didn’t see anything, but we can’t take chances. “Floor it.” I say to Maddie. She does.

     As we peel around the street corner I glance back, just in time to catch a glimpse of the large foil balloon decorated with pink, blue, and purple dots that says “Girls Night Out” in curly script floating in the air above our friend’s truck.

     More often than not, people take life very seriously. But our outlook on life is that we’re still young. And we love to mess with each other. Being serious is important, especially when it’s necessary, but we all deserve a little bit of fun, a little bit of that emotion that brings a smile to our faces. For us there’s something about the happiness, the good times, and hilarious memories, that can be brought on by something as simple as a balloon tied to a side view mirror.