Nova never seemed to fit into her family. Her eyes were different, her hair was different, her mind was different. She always felt as if she had a different calling. When she met a new boy in her math class, she felt as if she belonged with him. When her parents dropped a huge surprise on her life, Nova is forced to say goodbye to everything she knows.


3. Breaking the news

I had five days left now. It was Monday, we left next Saturday. My mind still couldn't believe we'd actually move. As I walked to school with Fatima, we were both quiet. I knew I'd have to tell my teacher, and eventually I'd have to tell Estevo. I worried about his reaction the most. "Hey," He greeted, smiling brightly. I tried to make myself seem cheerful and replied the same way. "Lunch today?" he asked. I shook my head yes. I couldn't focus the whole time, wondering how he'd react when I was gone. I couldn't face him yet, he was too happy today. After all, today was only Monday. I still had time. While we were walking, Estevo was staring at me. He was happy, too happy for my current mood. "Estevo," I was going to do it now, break the ice. "Oh hey" He interrupted me, "Did you want to see my house tomorrow, after school?" I couldn't do it now, I turned and said, "Sure." "Sorry, I interrupted you, what were you going to say?" Estevo asked me. "Oh, it's nothing," I replied quietly. Tomorrow came too fast. It was time to face Estevo again. When the final school bell rang, I got jitters in my stomach. I was nervous, I had to meet his parents now. "This is my home!" Estevo said, pointing to a red brick house with a centered wooden door in the front. I stood around awkwardly as he waited for his parents to open it. A woman with black hair and brown eyes opened the door. She seemed surprised to see me there, which made me feel worse. Then, a man came next. I looked into his dark brown eyes and grey hair. His parents seemed to have the same face as Estevo. "Mom, Dad, this is my friend Nova," Estevo said as I stood still. "Hello, is she your girlfriend?" Estevo's dad asked. Estevo cleared his throat and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Yeah, she's my girlfriend Dad." My heart almost exploded. He called me his girlfriend! I couldn't help the smile that crawled onto my face. But, I felt a jolt of pain in my heart. How was I supposed to leave him, I've only been his girlfriend for a few days. After the initial hello's, we sat down in the living room. Estevo walked up stairs to get his notebook he was going to show me. "Nova," Estevo's mother smiled gently at me. "You're a nice girl, you're good for Estevo." Oh no, this was already here? I thought she'd at least wait a few weeks to talk to me. "You seem to already make our son very happy," Estevo's mother continued, "You're a nice girl." I thanked her and sat awkwardly. She was making this more painful for me, I wished I had never met this boy so I wouldn't have to deal with the pain of leaving him. How would Estevo think of me? What would his parents think? The girl who broke the boy's heart by moving a week after they fall in love. After awhile Estevo came back. He showed me everything he wanted to show me and kissed me goodbye. I walked home quietly, thinking to myself. I couldn't imagine the look on this face when I would break the news. 

I only had four days now. As I woke up the next morning, my throat was sore. I felt achy all over and my stomach wouldn't cooperate with me. Mom announced that I was too sick to go to school. I couldn't miss any days now, that would mean I'd only have three days left to tell him. I couldn't argue with Mom though, because I knew she was right. After she left, I turned my computer on. I searched up France again and looked at all of the images I loved. Again, I imagined a perfect family standing under the Eiffel Tower, taking in the sights. I imagined wearing a comfortable winter jacket with warm mittens on. They'd probably be pink mittens, or a pink jacket, because pink had always been my favorite color. I imagined feeling the cold bite at my nose and feeling my ears turn red with the cold. I felt the air blowing on my face and the wind whipping my blonde hair around the hood of my jacket. Soon I woke out of my day dream. I looked out the window and wondered what would happen when we left. Would I miss this country? I was born here, I was raised here. I never felt fully welcomed here, though. It was more than just not looking the part. I remembered when I must have been about six years old. We had been walking down the street to the market and Mom had been holding my hand. I had asked her, "Why am I different?" When she had asked what I meant, I had explained "They all have brown hair, you have brown hair. Why is my hair yellow?" Mom told me Portugal was a country of travelers, that I had blonde hair and blue eyes because I was more like our old ancestors from other parts of the country. I had been satisfied with her answer, but I still wondered. Now, when I looked at the buildings and the white washed tiles, I realized I wouldn't miss Portugal. I wouldn't miss the country, but the memories and the people it held. I dozed off, and the day passed quickly. 
Now it was Wednesday. Today, I would tell Estevo, it wasn't fair to him. At lunch, he had a surprise for me. "I baked you these," He said, taking out a bag of wrapped cookies. I couldn't let this game continue. "Estevo, listen," I started talking, getting more and more nervous. I watched as he stared at me with bright eyes and an eager face. "I can't be your girlfriend anymore." No, that's not what I rehearsed, that's not what I wanted to say! I silently scolded myself. "Why, what did I do?" He asked. I grabbed his arm, "No, no you didn't do anything, it's my parents. Look, they don't make enough money, and they want to move to a better place, I mean financially. I, I have to leave. The thing is, we're moving to California, America." As I finished my sentence I kept my eyes closed. I couldn't look at him, I couldn't face this emotions. I heard him sigh, I didn't want to look. I watched as he stared at the ground. "Okay, when are you leaving?" He asked the one question I didn't want to answer. To answer, I'd have to look at him. I didn't want to see the pain in his gentle eyes. I didn't want to see how I hurt him. If he denied being sad, that would be a lie. I had to answer his question. "Saturday," I whispered. "This Saturday?" He replied loudly, "But today's Wednesday!" "I know," I commented, sobbing, "It's not my choice!" He hugged me and tried to reassure me. I wished I didn't have to leave him. "Remember what you said about not fitting in in the country?" He asked me. I told him I remembered. "Well, maybe now you'll fit in," He smiled. I smiled a fake smile back. "Look, I am going to hang around and be with you until the moment you leave," He joked, pinching my cheeks. I pinched him back and soon we were pushing and teasing each other. 

"Mom, why are we moving?" I asked for probably the fifth time. "I told you, we aren't making enough money here," Mom answered. "I mean the real reason, you said before for me, what's the real reason?" I asked. "Nova, I'm not a liar, it is the truth," Mom snapped back. "You suddenly decided to move in a week?" I asked sarcastically. "Nova, don't argue, it's happening, so we have to let it happen." I wasn't satisfied with her comments, I had gotten no where with that. 

It was now Friday. The days had passed so quickly, we were leaving tomorrow at 6 AM to make our way to the airport. I cried as I woke up and walked to school the last day I would ever do this. This was the last day I would go to school in Lisbon. This was the last day I'd talk to Estevo in person, at least for awhile. Fatima didn't say anything, she just hugged me as I picked her up to walk for the last time. "I'll miss you!" She suddenly cried. I hugged her and promised her I'd call her and video chat with her every night. I saw Estevo walking down the street. He jogged over to me and gave me a kiss. I watched as Fatima cried, and as Estevo hugged me. I couldn't take it and broke down. I'd miss these two geeks too much, I'd miss everything. I couldn't focus the whole school day. I told Estevo to come over after school. We sat in my room and were quiet. "I'll miss you," I whispered. "Hey, don't get sad, I said we could text every day," He smiled, trying to cheer me up.  I knew he was trying to help me feel better but I was feeling worse. I couldn't look at him in the face. I didn't want to see his sad face, I didn't want to see the pain. "Okay, but it won't be the same," I cried more. We hugged until Dad knocked on my door. "Time for dinner," He announced. I decided to risk it, no risk no reward. "Dad, can Estevo stay for dinner?" I asked. "Who's Estevo?" Dad asked. Uh oh, I forgot to introduce him to my parents. Now I was in deep trouble. 
After the awkward and late introduction, Mom served dinner. She had made my favorite stew she always made, but I couldn't even taste it today. I wondered what would have happened if I didn't move, how long Estevo and I would be together. "So, you're moving to America?" Estevo asked, trying to make conversation. "Yes, we are," Dad replied. "That's really cool, good luck to your move," Estevo smiled. Was he trying to internally kill me? Because if he was, I was six feet in the ground already. Plates and knifes clanked as I day dreamed. Would I feel better in California? Would I feel at home this time, or still sad? Soon, the dinner ended. I knew this was the last good bye I'd get with Estevo. We walked outside and he looked upset. "Please don't make me cry," I whispered. "Nova, you've changed me," Estevo whispered back. "I know that sounds stupid, because we've only known each other for a week, but you've changed me. I used to be so angry, so emotional. You've showed me that there is something to live for, that I just have to open my eyes." I was crying when he finished talking. I wanted to tell him the same thing, that I felt the same way. I wanted to tell him that he made me feel understood, and that he could only understand me. I couldn't form the words without crying, and I kept them behind my lips. I hugged him and explained how he was the first person I ever talked to about not belonging in my own country. As he kissed me good bye, I never wanted to stop hugging him. "Text me a lot, okay?" He asked. I shook my head yes. He waved goodbye and starting jogging down the street into the dark. Just as he was getting too far away to hear him, he shouted one last thing. "I love you Nova!" Then he turned and ran down another road. "I love you too!" I cried through tears. I knew he didn't hear me so I kept shouting it over and over. "I love you too!" I cried again and again.

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