My jaw dropped and my forehead bunched up in disbelief. I stared at my parents—first at one and then the other. They were serious.
Somewhere in the distance a siren wailed and a dog howled. I wanted to join them. Nothing came out of my mouth. I was completely speechless. Everything in me wanted to run from the room. I couldn’t move. My feet were planted on the hardwood; legs so weak I couldn’t get up from the soft leather couch.
My mom continued where my dad left off, uncomfortable in the awkward silence, “We know this won’t be easy for you, being the only child, having to make new friends.”
“Yeah, no kidding!” I had found my voice and my legs. I ran to the stairs and up to my room, tears threatening. I needed space. I needed to think.
The evening light was fading. A soft knock came at my door. “Lucy?”
“Yeah?” I said, barely above a whisper.
“Can I come in?”
“I guess.” It was my mom.
She slipped in, and placed a bowl of chili and a thick slice of buttered bread on my dresser. “I was worried when you didn’t come down for supper.”
“I’m not very hungry.”
“I understand. Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not yet. I’m still thinking. Maybe I’ll journal for awhile.”
“All right. We’re here if you need us. Eat something, okay?”
My parents are the best. Especially my mom. She’s always making food and taking care of everyone. My dad is a lot of fun, but he has to work a lot, so he’s not around as much.
I picked up my lime green and turquoise journal and started to write:
I’ve gone to the same school, the same church—all my life. That’s fourteen years! We’ve lived in this big old character home ever since I can remember. I can’t imagine my life anywhere else. No window seat to read my favourite books in. No sun porch for sharing a cup of tea with my Mom on a fall afternoon. No backyard swing for my dad to make me scream on! I’ll be losing my only home.Besides that, how can I possibly face the world when everyone is a stranger?Don’t. Want. To Leave.
I listened for a moment through my open window. My parents were on the veranda. I slipped downstairs, grabbed the cordless and went back to my room.
“Hey, Lucy, what’s up?”
“You don’t want to know…”
A week went by. A week of moping around the house, phoning my best friend, Amy, and generally avoiding my parents.
It was Saturday. The smell of frying bacon was wafting up the stairs. My dad was singing an 80’s song off-key. I can just imagine him doing his embarrassing dance moves and dipping my Mom. How can he be so happy?
“Lucy, brunch is ready.”
I’m not missing waffles with vanilla custard and berry sauce.
I enter the room, just as my dad dips mom. “Hey, sweetie, wanna dance?”
He doesn’t wait for my answer. I am suddenly spun around, one way and the other, ending off in a giant bear hug. “Where’ve you been all week?”
“Uh, dad, you kinda dropped a bomb a couple of days ago. I’ve been a little shell-shocked. Hiding out. Hoping I heard wrong. Stuff like that.”
“Well, have a seat and let’s eat. Maybe we can talk about it.”
Today, the table was set with extra care. Red-checkered table cloth, red and yellow gerbera daisies. My mom usually focuses so much on the food that she barely gets the table set. I look up at her and catch her gaze. We both tear up instantly. I smile weakly. Gerberras are my favourite.
“Daddy picked them up,” she whispered.
We pause to say grace and dig in. I am suddenly ravenous. Not eating much for a week makes a person hungry. Between mouthfuls I tell Mom how amazing everything tastes. Dad starts talking about the NBA finals. I look at them and realize they haven’t changed. We haven’t changed. We’re family. We’ll still be together.
As I lick the last bit of sauce off my fork, I decide that everything will be okay. Life will go on after we move. Life will even be good. I smile. I can do this.