Taking Chances

For the Young Movellist of the Year - Moving was part of Beatrice 'Bea' Howard's life, but what happens when this time it's the last time she has to do it while under her mother's roof?

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2. Chapter 2

                                                                Chapter two

 

True to her word, pancakes were set out on the table when I went downstairs the following morning. My bunny slippers made no sound as I slid across the kitchen floor, narrowly avoiding the packed boxes.

 

As I sat down on the cool metal of the kitchen stool I wished I had more than my pyjamas on but the call of the pancakes were too much for me to get up and change.

 

“Did you sleep okay?” my mom asked when she sat down opposite me, a coffee and newspaper in her hands.

 

Not having any room to respond since I practically inhaled the pancake I just nodded.

 

“I’m going to read this in the garden,” she told me, getting to her feet. As she walked past me she kissed my forehead and smiled. “Enjoy your food then get packing. You still have clothes that need to be put in the suitcase for the car ride there.”

 

I didn’t respond to her, just watched her leave the kitchen then sigh. The rest of the pancakes and strawberries didn’t taste as good now that I had the thoughts of leaving plaguing my mind again. I had left some of my clothes out for me to wear but I knew there was too much to wear on just one day so the rest had to be packed, but I didn’t like the idea of only having a few possible outfit choices out. It was the little things that were getting me down.

 

After washing my plate up and putting it on the side with the three other plates we didn’t pack away I walked up to my room and looked around at the mess of boxes. The calendar that needed to be packed away as well stared back at me from the spot above my bed, along with the circled date – tomorrow’s date.

 

Linda was due to be here at three, giving us the news of who had brought the home and to talk any final details through with my mom. I knew I didn’t want to be around for that.

 

The large suitcase my mom had brought for me sat on my bed, the top open and its emptiness almost mocking me. I needed to put clothes in but the idea of leaving and also packing made me want nothing more than to lay down and close my eyes.

 

The sound of music filled the house and I felt an involuntary smile spread across my lips. It was a little late but she had remembered the tradition. Every time we moved homes she would play music the loudest it could go without the neighbours calling the police on us and we would dance around for however long the CD she chose was. One time she chose a CD that was almost two hours long and by time we were finished, I couldn’t move from the sofa.

 

“Bea,” my mom sang, appearing my doorway, her floral skirt circling her ankles before coming to a stop. “It’s time!”

 

Looking at the suitcase then the pile of clothes I knew I’d rather dance for more than two hours than pack my clothes.

 

I slipped my hand into hers and grinned as she pulled me into the hallway.

 

We swayed and waltzed, we tangoed and we laughed. We passed by the time, until Linda rung the doorbell, easily.

 

My mom gave me an apologetic smile before turning the stereo down and answering the door. “Linda,” she greeted with a smile. “I hope you have good news for us.”

 

“I do indeed,” she said, smiling easily back at my mom.

 

Happy moment with my mom gone, I walked back to my room and carried on packing, using my own stereo to drown out the cheerful talking from downstairs.

 

 

“Do you have everything you need?”

 

“If I don’t then the new house owners get free stuff.”

 

“No need to be snarky.”

 

I breathed out slowly and nodded. “I’m sorry, mom. I’m just going to miss this place. I think we’ve lived here the longest.”

 

My mom looked up at our light yellow painted house and nodded. “I think you’re right. It was nice here.”

 

The words were on the tip of my tongue but I couldn’t say them, I didn’t want to upset her even more. I just silently nodded and dragged my suitcase down to the car.

 

It had taken me an hour to squeeze everything in but now that it was done, I realised how little it was compared to all the boxes the movers were putting into the van. This suitcase was going to last me the next few days until we reached our new house. If something I needed was in the boxes, that was too bad.

 

“Want to say one final goodbye to the house?” Linda asked, smiling cheerfully at us. I think she was just glad she wouldn’t have to deal with me anymore.

 

“What do you say, sweetie?” my mom asked, smiling over the hood of the car. “Want to say goodbye to your room?”

 

My eyes dragged towards the house, easily locating the window that belonged to my room. I didn’t want to see it empty, but I wanted to say one last goodbye to it.

 

“Yeah, I guess I will.”

 

Not waiting for either of them, I walked up the porch steps and into the house. I could easily memorize everything about this home – the small hallway that we had countless times tried to squeeze into to get our shoes off, the dining room that was more of an art studio for our paintings, the living room that had all our photos hanging up, the kitchen that had long gone stains from failed cooking attempts, my room that I had my first breakdown in after a heartbreak when we first moved here, my mom’s room that I had countless times laid in while she got ready to go out. Every room held a form of memory and this house would be the one I missed the most.

 

 

My room was the second door on the first floor landing, directly opposite the bathroom. It was the best spot for me, really, since I could crawl out of bed and into the shower before school. The room next to mine was my mom’s and the one on the other side was a spare room that we kept as a storage slash study room. We rarely used it but when we did, it would be for something important.

 

The purple walls stared back at me as I walked further into my almost empty room. There was a few boxes still scattered around that needed to be taken down, most of them were marked books or clothes.

 

When I phased people out, I tended to dive head first into books; they would take my mind off everything, just for a little while.

All the books I had brought over the years tended to stay on my shelves until it came to a point like this, when I needed them the most – just like my art, books would never change. They would always have a beginning, middle and an end, it would always be words put together to form something that thousands of people loved.

 

I noticed my bag in the corner of the room – one that I was suppose to take with me – along with my art pad, which was resting on the edge of my desk, the top page open and showing the picture I first done when we moved here. It was a picture of the side of our house with the view of our garden in the background. I was overjoyed that we weren’t going to be moving again so I happily got my things put away then I started on that drawing.

 

Who knew that we are going to be staying here for a long time had a small time frame.

 

Walking over to my window I could see the removal men talking to my mom, and I could see the distant look on her face as she nodded her head along to whatever they were saying. I smiled and rested my head against the cool glass, watching as my mom clearly was picturing herself and everything else in the new home.

 

I hadn’t seen the new house since I was at school when she went to view it a few months back, but she told me I would love it more than this home; saying it was bigger and I would get my own bathroom. The only bonus I could picture about my new home.

 

My mom looked up at my window and smiled when she spotted me. I felt my own lips tug into a smile in return as she pulled a face when the man looked down at his clipboard. She really hated business talk, I think that’s mainly the reason why she became an artist, no one to bark orders at her or have complicated business talks with.

 

After letting the plain white curtains fall back against the window I picked up my bag and drawing pad. Besides the boxes, the room was bare.

 

“Bea,” mom called up the stairs, “we have to get going soon!”

 

Standing in the doorway of my room and scanning my eyes around, I knew this home I was going to miss the most.

 

“I’m coming,” I called back before shutting my door behind me, shutting it from my mind.

 

“Ready?” she asked, taking my drawing pad from me and flicking through it with a smile. “I remember when you first drew this,” she told me, landing on a page with a rose I had painted with water colours. “We were in the garden center and you refused to leave until you were finished. You made me get your water colours from the car because you didn’t want to leave it unfinished and forget the shades of the petals.”

 

A grin spread across my lips. “I really hated leaving my drawings half finished.”

 

“You got it from me,” she said, nodding her head. “I couldn’t leave the house until I finished the piece I was working on.”

 

Silence lapsed between us and I looked at her, wanting to ask her the question I had been thinking the past few months. “Mom?”

 

“Yes, sweetie?” She carried on flicking through the drawing pad so I was hoping the answer would come easily because she was distracted – that was the best time to ask her questions, she would be too absorbed in what she was doing to realise she was giving her truthful answer. That’s how I found out she had a tattoo of a swallow on her shoulder blades.

 

“Why haven’t you done anything recently? I mean, the last time you painted anything was a few months ago, and it’s been way longer since you’ve sold anything.”

 

Clearly she wasn’t distracted enough. She looked up at me and closed the book slowly. “I don’t know, sweetie. I guess I just haven’t had enough inspiration to paint.”

 

“But you had so much when we first moved here,” I pointed out.

 

“Oh, I know,” she said, smiling again. “But then I became distracted by Bryan.”

 

Bryan was a taboo subject, for now anyway.

 

“I think you should start painting again when we get to the new house,” I told her, smiling and squeezing her fingers. “I hate seeing you not doing something you love so much.”

 

“If I find the time, sweetie,” she said, handing me the pad back before walking outside through the front door.

 

How could someone who loved art as much as she did lose it so easily? Did that mean I would, too?

 

Shaking the thoughts from my mind I followed my mom outside.

 

 

“You have everything, right?” she asked, nervously biting her bottom lip as she looked up at the house. “What happens if we’ve forgotten something?”

 

“Then we can tell Linda to ask the people to ship it to us.”

 

“Would people really do that?”

 

“You said they were a nice family,” I pointed out, sighing. “Mom, you couldn’t wait to leave and now look at you, a nervous wreck outside the house!”

 

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she said, sighing. “I’m just worried I’ve left something inside. Imagine if it was important!”

 

My arm wrapped around her shoulders before she could go inside. “Mom,” I said carefully. “We have everything. We’ve had long enough to pack. I’m sure we would have seen something in there that wasn’t in the boxes.” I saw her shoulders relax and I smiled. “Besides, if we did forget something then I’m sure Linda or the movers will let us know, or even pack it in the boxes for us.”

 

After sharing one last look at our house we got in the – very cramped – car and slowly backed down the driveway.

 

Turning in my seat I watched the house and the removal van get smaller and smaller until we turned the corner and I couldn’t see it anymore.

 

“Goodbye, house number twelve,” I whispered, sighing. 

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