“Gemma, get out here now!” Mom called, a tinge of anger coloring her voice. I swallowed my gum and ran down the hall. She stood there with her hand on her hip, but instead of a frown, a smirk was on her face. I instantly took the defensive.
“Yeah?” I asked, taking a step back toward my bedroom. She chuckled and gestured for me to move forward. I walked a couple feet closer and her smile widened.
“We’re moving.” As soon as those left her mouth, my life was over. Without another word, I spun and rushed back into my room, biting hard on my lip to keep from crying. How… Why would she do this? I had finally started to make a life for myself and now, now none of it even mattered.
Making a name for yourself was hard, especially at St. Margaret’s Academy for girls. It was like a soap opera, but everyday without end and you’d think some of the characters… Er, students, were lesbians. Or convicts. But I loved it there, more than any other school I had never been to. I had finally gotten to the level where I had been considered “popular.”
Mom came into my room with a sad expression on her face. She told me that I needed to pack soon because we’d be out of this house by next week.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“Seattle,” she said carefully, watching my facial expressions. Seattle was nearly a country away, though. Did she want to ruin my life? She tried to console me, but ended up leaving when she saw it had no effect.
Sitting on my bed and drawing my knees to my chest, I tried to rationalize. Maybe if I shoved myself so far into denial, I’d be happy, believe my lies. Yeah, that seems promising. I plastered a large smile on my face and started to pack a few things up that I didn’t need. I’d leave my goats and clothes for last. I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m so unbelievably frickin’ happy.
After ten minutes of lying and packing, I had a box of stuff ranging from books to bungee cords (don’t ask) sitting on my floor in the corner. It seemed to be mocking me, trying to break my façade. I threw a fuzzy pink blanket over it and flopped back onto my bed, finally a little more content. This week was going to suck, I could already tell.
Though it was only seven thirty, I covered myself up and closed my eyes, forcing myself to sleep. It wasn’t going to change anything, but at least I could forget about moving for that time. Once sleep hit, I was carried far away. Somewhere peaceful and calm, where nothing could touch me. I was Super Gemma.
I woke from a dreamless sleep, sitting up in my dark room. Seeing the numbers on the clock made me want to yell or pick it up and throw it. It was three in the morning and I was already awake and feeling unusually chipper. Rolling out of bed, I dressed quickly and walked out of my room to the kitchen. The smell of coffee was thick and I scrunched my nose. Dad had already left.
I couldn’t help but be a little sad. I wasn’t ever awake when he left, but knowing that a little earlier and I would have been able to say goodbye. Slumping into a kitchen chair, I looked around at the dimly lit room. After about five minutes, my head hit the kitchen table and my eyes snapped open. I looked around in a small panic and then put a hand over my chest.
There was a rustling in the living room and I saw my mom on the couch. I looked around the bar, seeing if she was awake, but she let out a loud snore and settled back in her spot. Wonder why she’s out here? Then, I realized why. Another fight with dad. Must’ve happened when I was asleep.
They had been fighting a lot since mom found out she was pregnant. I didn’t know why, though. Who didn’t like cute, cuddly, crying, pooping… Oh, that’s why. I sighed and pulled myself up, shuffling back to my room and then collapsing on my bed, not bother to cover… or lay vertically.
When I woke up the second time, I was greeted by my moms soprano voice floating through the air, mingling with the smell of bacon and syrup. I jolted up, hoping to get the first plateful. Turns out, the food wasn’t done, so the corners of my mouth turned down a little.
Mom had a hand over her belly, rubbing it a little, her eyes intently locked on the food. I smiled and sat in the living room, flipping to the news channel, zoning out a little. I never actually watched, but it was relaxing, having the news playing in the background. Mom turned and faced me with a little sad smile.
“You should get dressed nice today, Gem,” she said and my head perked up a little.
“Why? Why bother do anything?” I asked quietly. Like always, though, she heard me.
“Because, I pulling you out of school today. You have to get all of your signatures and then you’ll be ready to spend the rest of your time packing,” she grinned hopefully. I grimaced and laid on the couch, my back to her, only to spring up when she called for breakfast. I rushed to get a plate made, but she stopped me. “Me first,” she said. “Remember? I’m eating for two.”
I frowned a little more. She used the excuse for everything. I’m eating for two. I’m peeing for two. I’m grocery shopping for two. How did that last one even apply? What about me and my father? That’s right. We didn’t exist in her perfect baby world. I snickered and pushed past, getting a plate of bacon and sitting, my stomach churning in anticipation for the day ahead.
I pulled on my outfit and laced up a pair of neon green converse, leaving the house with a quick goodbye to my mom. I felt bad, not hugging her or anything, but I was less than pleased with her behavior. Gah, I’m starting to sound like her. School was close enough that I could walk without getting all sweaty and disgusting, which was a fact I loved about living where I did. That was the only thing I really wished for when we moved. A school that was close. There was no way I was going to ride a school bus. I shuddered at the thought. When I got to the main gate, I had to present my student I.D card and the gates swung open.
I was really gonna miss this place. Shrugging my bag further on my shoulder, I made my way up the short, twisty drive of the school. The day seemed to go by in a rush, emotions swelling. Tears, more tears, some relief-- which I wasn’t particularly appreciative of. All of it the same.
By the end of the day, my close group of friends, were all red eyed, telling me to stay, but when I told them I couldn’t, they all got over it relatively quickly. I spent my final moments, theorizing about the fight that would go down as soon as I was gone for who would try to get my spot atop the food chain.
I walked home, pushing silver ear buds into my ears, blasting some sentimental music, as if it would help my mood. When my house came into view, I saw my mother stepping out of her car, a few folded boxes in her hands and a determined scowl on her face. Nice act, mom. It looks so hard. I got within ear shot and she started to yell for me to help.
“Gemma, you can’t make me do all this work, not with a baby coming,” she said, shaking her head.
“Mom, I was at school. You could have waited until I got home.” My point was valid. She turned and started to work again. I chuckled a little to myself and carried in a few boxes, too. We threw them on the living room floor and started to assemble them. I dug my fingers into the carpet, relishing the feeling of it, trying to keep everything about the house ingrained in my mind. Mom wiped her thumb across my cheekbone, her eyes sad.
“Gem, don’t be sad. We’ll have a new house that you can love just as much as this one,” she said gently. I shook my head, hot tears dripping from my chin.
“It won’t be the same and you know it. I swear you’re just doing this in spite of me. Finally I got my grade and popularity status to the peak and you come in and crush it all.” I took some deep breaths, trying to clear my head. Mom stood up, her eyes holding a far away look.
“I’ll just pack upstairs,” she said softly, before disappearing from view. The guilt after she left was nearly overwhelming. What kind of daughter was I? I bit down hard on my lip and started to pack old movies into one of the boxes, but I didn’t get far. I kept getting sucked back into old flashbacks.
Mom and I were sitting on the couch, both in our pajamas, watching the Wizard of Oz. I was really to young to understand it, so she tried her best to explain. During the scene with the monkeys, I got scared and spilled my juice all over the couch, and I ran away, thinking my mom would get mad, but instead, she found me, a juice in hand and a warm smile on her face.
Really, I had to come to terms that she had never really gotten mad at me, but it was just the pregnancy speaking. I sighed and shoved the box away from me, disgusted with my behavior. When I found my mother, she was sitting on her bed, looking at old pictures. She had the same warm smile on her face as she looked up to meet my eyes and motion for me to join her.
I was surprised… But what should I have expected, she was my mom after all. It wasn’t like she was going to avoid me forever. She showed me the picture she was looking at and smile.
“This was your fourth birthday and you really loved your cake,” she said. I smiled at the picture. A little girl with chocolate cake on her face, chest, hair, everything really. I smiled and then looked at my mom.
“Aw, mom,” I said, wrapping my arms around her and sitting on the bed. She chuckled and I pulled away. “What?”
“I always know how to get you to forgive me,” she smile and then kissed my forehead.
“So, three days we’re gonna be gone?” I asked, my smile wavering a little.
“Three days,” she said, putting an arm around me and squeezing a little. “Well, if I can get your father to pack.” I sighed and she tried to make her face a little happier. Something felt forced, but only now after the mention of my father. I hoped it wasn’t the foreshadowing of a divorce. I always heard that it was harder as a teen, being able to think about things more deeply.
“Well, I’m gonna finish up packing,” I said with a small smile. She nodded and then shuffled the pictures together, putting them in a small box and then into the larger box.
Now I was sure that the world as I knew it was finally coming to an end.