“I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!” I yelled as I paced around the room, “Why are you doing this? Why?”
My mom was a mix of angry, sad and scared at that moment, but I was too worked up to care.
“Why would you move us from the only place we’ve ever known? And what about my friends? What am I supposed to tell them?”
“Maggie, please. Sit down. We have to talk about this.”
I looked my mother square in the eye, “I have nothing to say to you.”
How could she be so selfish? The twins and I have never known any other place than this place. I stomped down the hall and slammed the door. I sobbed into my pillow so Mom wouldn’t know I was crying. It was an excellent sound barrier.
I don’t remember how long I cried but eventually I fell asleep. I awoke to a gentle knocking on my door.
“Maggie? Can I come in?”
I looked out the window at the dark night when the door opened, refusing to acknowledge my mother. She sat down on the bed and looked at me. I continued to ignore her.
“Maggie, I know this will be tough, but I have to do what’s best for all of us.”
“What’s best for all of us, or what’s best for you?” I snapped, “You know, did you ever consider about perhaps not taking the job?”
“It’s crossed my mind, yes. But ever since your father left, it’s been hard. You probably haven’t realized, but we’ve been living paycheck to paycheck from the moment he walked out the door.”
My dad, the infamous Robbie Adams. Super rich, super old, and super into younger women. Oh, and super into not seeing his kids as well – like, ever. The last time I saw him I was ten, and the boys were six. This was when he left us. We got a phone call from him three times a year: when it was my birthday, when it was Kip and Dylan’s birthday, and when it was Christmas. He had to pay a set amount of money each week to provide for us, but it mustn’t have been much if we were living paycheck to paycheck.
He and Mom were still on good terms even though I had no idea why. I even remember the girl he left her for. She was a skinny blond twig somewhere in her late twenties. Anyway, Dad left us fatherless, moneyless and in a huge house that Mom’s clearly only just able to afford.
“So why didn’t you move us when he left? Before I started high school and met all my friends?”
“I didn’t think about it. You were young. Your father had just left and it didn’t seem fair to uproot you then. How do you tell a child that their father isn’t coming back, and then move them away from everything else they’ve ever known?”
I was silent for a long time. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t ask for this. How was I supposed to leave Jane and Mel and everyone else at school?
“Sweetie? We already have someone interested in the house. And I’ve found the perfect house where we’re moving to. We leave in a couple of months.”
I rolled onto my side and yanked the covers over me. There was no way I was talking to her. She sighed and walked out the door.
I didn’t talk to Mom for a whole week after that. I spent all my time with Jane and Mel. I told them about the moving situation and they were devastated at first, but they came to terms with it sooner than I did.
“Hey, maybe you should go easy on your mom,” Jane said as we ate ice creams and swung on the swings at the park, “It’s hard enough moving across the state.”
“And this isn’t hard on me?” I snapped.
“Of course this is hard on you. It’s hard on all of us,” Mel butted it, “But life is life, and she’s just doing what she thinks is right. It won’t be the end of the world, and we’ll still be able to talk over the internet.”
“You guys think I’m being too hard on her?”
Both Mel and Jane looked guilty as they nodded.
That night I found Mom prepping dinner in the kitchen. I walked up to her and gave her a big hug.
“Mom, I’m so sorry.”
“I’m sorry too sweetie. But this’ll be good for us, don’t you think? A fresh start since your father left?”
“It’s about six years overdue, but I think we can make it work,” I smiled at her and she gave me another hug.
“Speaking of your father, I was just on the phone to him. He’s agreed to put some money towards the move, and for a few renovations on the new house.”
“Yeah, I was surprised too. Happy and glad about it, obviously, but surprised.”
“So where are we moving to?”
“I’ll show you some photos,” Mom all of a sudden became very animated as she pulled out a folder with pictures of the place. There were no outside pictures – Mom said they got damp so she had to throw them away – but the inside looked alright, I guess. There were wooden boards in the kitchen, dining room and living room, and the bedrooms had carpet. I couldn’t tell if they were soft or not, but they seemed okay. The place had four bedrooms, three downstairs and one upstairs, and two bathrooms, one on each level. The bedrooms downstairs looked nice, but the room upstairs looked like it needed a bit of work.
“It looks lovely, Mom,” and I honestly meant it.
She beamed, and for the first time since the announcement, I felt like everything was going to be okay.
The following weeks were a mad rush. There were boxes to pack and payments to make and school and work to attend and resignations and leaving forms to hand in and a house to clean, and I was stuck looking after the twins while Mom filed papers and filled out forms. And then the time came.
Since we were leaving on the Sunday, I spent the whole of Saturday with Mel and Jane. We were a blubbering mess the whole day, but our appearance didn’t stop us from getting ice cream and eating it at the park, or heading into town to do some last minute shopping. We bought each other friendship bracelets, and promised to wait until they fell off naturally, instead of taking them off ourselves.
The girls ended up staying the night and we slept on a pile of blankets, since everything else had already been packed up. We eventually fell asleep, but only after we’d spent a few hours sharing random memories. In the morning we were practically joined at the hip, although by eleven it was time for us to go so we said our goodbyes and I hopped into the car. I passed them a note with my mobile number written on it, telling them to call me as soon as their parents allowed them to have cell phones. As we drove away I watched them grow smaller and smaller, until we turned the corner and I could no longer seem them.