“Sam wake up” I heard the voice of my mom. I slowly opened my eyes. I stare at the window for a few seconds. This is the first time in years that I woke up not feeling scared.
I took a deep breath and smile.
“I can finally breathe”
I saw my mom looking at me. She held my hand. It is still swollen. But I didn’t feel any pain.
“I know this is not the same as our old house. But things happened really fast and this is what we have for now”
I got out of the car. I looked at my little sister who is sleeping at the back.
“I will not let anyone hurt you” I told myself.
“I don’t care if we live in a box mom. As long as we are far from him and we stick together, we can get through this”
She smiled at me. I looked at her face. I feel like there is something different about it. Then I looked closely. It’s her eyes. I can still see a trace of fear. But it’s a bit different this time. There’s hope in it. And that’s when I realized that this could be it. This could be the start of the life that we longed for.
“Sammy I’m hungry” I heard my sister. She’s awake.
“Okay. Go inside and I will buy us some food” I put her down and took the keys from my mom.
“You still know your way around here?”
“Nothing I can’t handle” I kissed her on the cheek and I went inside the car.
I decided to drive around the neighborhood. As I took the left turn, there it is. I can’t help but think of the memories I had in it. When everything was perfect.
Sophia was hungry so I decided to go straight to our new house. We didn’t have a lot of stuff so it’s no surprise that my mom was able to unload all the boxes and brought them inside.
“You didn’t wait for me? I could’ve helped you”
I tossed Sophia a sandwich and I gave my mom a bottle of water.
“It’s not that heavy. You can just help me fix Sophia’s stuff. She beat you in the bigger room”
I glared at her.
“But you have your own bathroom, Sammy”
She was pouting her lips and giving me the puppy eyes.
“It’s okay, Sophie. You can have the bigger room. And once Sammy got a job, we can decorate it in anything you want”
She ran and wrapped her arms around my waist. Sophie is just six. I was the same age when my dad died. It was too much for my mom so we decided to leave this town and went to the city. That’s where she met Sophie’s dad. I never really liked him. But I love my mom and so I didn’t say anything. At first it was okay. We are not close but we are civil with each other. My mom and I didn’t really talk about him moving in. He usually would just visit during weekends until it became a daily habit. And last thing I know, he was moving his stuff in my mom’s room. When my mom got pregnant he asked her to stop working and take a rest. I was really against the idea of my mom quitting her job. She told me that she will go back once Sophia turns two. But that didn’t happen. He wanted my mom to just stay in the house and take care of him and Sophia. My mom is an artist. She was an Art teacher in a College School in the city. It hurts to see her lose the passionate side of her. In which I hope she can regain now that he’s out of our lives.
“Job? We didn’t talk about you getting a job”
“But mom, how are we going to pay for the bills? We spent all the money dad left me for this house. Sophie has to enroll soon. School already started a week ago. I need to find a job”
She sat on the sofa and asked me to sit beside her. Sophia was busy eating her sandwich.
“Remember your Aunt Amy?”
“The teacher in Hilton High?” She was my mom’s best friend. And if I remember it correctly, she was also my godmother.
“Yes. Well, she’s now the Headmistress. I already talked to her. Her husband owns a book shop and she told me that I can work there”
“Really?! That’s great mom” I hugged her. I saw Sophia running towards us and joining in for a hug.
“And she also told me to tell you to go see her tomorrow, she can fix your documents so you can enroll in Hilton High”
“What about Sophie?” She is my priority right now. I don’t want her skipping school.
“We will go tomorrow on Northville. I already set a meeting with the Principal. She told me she can accommodate Sophie”
My mom held my hand.
“Look at me” she said. “There’s nothing to worry about, okay? One day at a time. We will figure this out”
I smiled at her. Sophie is just staring at us.
“One day at a time”
Sophia stood up and she was trying to carry the box that has her name on it. My mom and I laughed at her.
“You can’t carry that, silly. It’s too heavy” I walked towards her and carried the box.
“But I want to help” she said.
“You can grab your pillows and follow me to your room so we can fix your things”
It’s already 9:08 PM, I just finished unpacking my stuff. I didn’t bring that much. I just brought important things like my laptop, camera and some clothes. Good thing that this house is semi furnished. There are already some furnitures and appliances. My mom said that the owner was in a rush in selling it because she and her husband are migrating in UK.
I’m a bit tired but I want to go for a walk and I know where I am going. I went to my mom’s room and told her that I will go for a walk.
“Okay. Just don’t be too late. We still have a few things to sort of tomorrow”
As I was walking on the street, I am starting to feel some familiarity with the place. It’s been ten years, a lot has changed. But I can’t help but imagine the neighborhood that I grew up with. I don’t know if my playmates still live here or they also moved out. I took a right turn and it feels like I’m six again. This is the street where I built my happiest memories when I was a kid. I started to slow my pace and looked around. Paying attention in every house that I pass through and then I stopped. I am standing in front of our old house. It seems like no one is living here. I sat on the grass. And I remembered Cindy. She lives across me when we were little. She was one of my playmates. I wonder if she still lives here.
“I miss you, dad” I was already laying on the grass. I closed my eyes. And the tears started to fall.
“I don’t know how it started. But I never thought that my life would end up like this. I’m not blaming mom. I love her too much to do that to her. I let this happened. And now, I don’t know if I can start again. I’m damaged dad. Help me fix this”