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The Summer before Senior Year
Everything can change in one single second; parents can get a divorce, a mom can move out, and your best friend can tell you he’s moving away. It felt like a huge tornado came rushing into my life, picked me up, and took me to someone else’s. Four months ago I had a perfect life; parents were celebrating 20 years of marriage and my best friend, Jimmy, was sitting pool side with me, discussing what next year was going to be like for us; only a month after, things took a turn for the worse.
2 months earlier…
“You’re a hypocrite!”
“Oh, so now I’m the hypocrite. I’m not the one who let Jamie go away for the summer and travel through Europe alone!”
“You always make me look like the bad guy!”
“What’s next? If Sarah comes in asking for a tattoo, are you going to say okay to that too?”
They’re fighting again. Last week my brother came in asking if he could travel the world before school started, ha, my mother said, “sure honey why not.” My father on the other hand, didn’t want to let his son be alone for an entire summer. I couldn’t blame him, my brother is only eighteen, and can barely dress himself. Today, they found a note that said:
“My plane leaves at 3:00 for Paris. Mom said it was ok, so I’m taking my chances and traveling. Love you all, Jamie.”
They found the note at six. This didn’t go over too well with my dad.
I had to get away from their constant fight, Jimmy was my only outlet.
Flopping onto his couch in the garage I sighed, “They just won’t listen to each other for thirty seconds. It’s like the other one can’t make any right decisions. Sure I think that most of the time it’s my mom’s fault, but my dad doesn’t even try to listen to her.”
Jimmy has been my best friend for thirteen years now and it’s the summer before our senior year of high school. He is already starting to tan which makes me vexed about my abnormally fair complexion. He is one of the stronger, taller boys at my school and constantly has girls calling his name. I, on the other hand, can’t walk outside without the sun reflecting off my snow white skin and blinding any boy that comes near me.
“Sarah, you have to stop worrying about what is going on with them. I’m sure things will happen the way they are supposed to.” Jimmy has always been such an optimist, just another thing that makes us so different from each other.
I rolled my eyes at him, hoping that he would get the hint and just let me sit here and complain about the never ending battle at my house. “I know that look Sarah; you can’t sit here and complain all night.” Guess I spoke too soon.
Later that night, I walked through the front door of my house and to my surprise everything was quiet. The TV quietly hummed while someone was in the kitchen putting dishes away. I looked up the stairs and saw the table light turn on in my father’s office, then his booming voice. No one answered him so I assumed he was speaking on the phone. The door slammed shut and my mother walked into the hallway where I was standing dumbfounded.
“Hi honey, how was Jimmy’s?” She hugged me and waited for my reply.
“Fine,” I whispered. My mom smiled then turned to walk up the stairs. A moment later I heard the door to her bedroom shut. The light from the office turned off followed by my father coming out with a pillow and blanket.
As he walked down the stairs, he had a look of concern on his face. “I’m tired of your brother constantly over minding my authority and listening to your mother’s ridiculous notions about living life to the fullest. It’s absolutely insane. He needs to be going to school and building himself a career. He won’t even answer the phone; all I got was his stupid voicemail.” He walked over to the couch.
Pointing to the makeshift bed I asked, “Was this mom’s or your idea?”
Although his back was to me, I knew my father was angry because he didn’t want me to see them fighting; he didn’t want me to reap the consequences of them fighting. Unlike my father, my mother only wished to ignore their battles when I was around. My father, however, wanted to apologize for it, but knew it wouldn’t be enough. “Sarah, right now it’s just for the best.”
1 month earlier…
“Sarah, England is amazing. The people here are great, oh, and those people with the funny large hats really don’t ever move. It’s freaking awesome!”
“That’s great Jamie. I’m glad you’re having fun.”
“Oh no, I know that tone. How are mom and dad?” Even over the phone, my brother could tell that I was frustrated with our parents. I hated that he left me alone to deal with them. To see them fight over and over. It’s been a month since Jamie left, and they have fought every night since. “Come on Sarah, talk to me.”
“It's nothing Jamie. I have to go, Jimmy is expecting me. Love you.” Hanging up the phone I entered back into reality. I could hear my parents fighting and it’s not even two yet.
I walked downstairs in the hope to sneak past them. “Sarah?” I didn’t want to answer, but the voice grew louder. “Sarah?” If I keep walking maybe she will give up. “Sarah answer me!”
“Where are you going?”
Before I could answer, my father did. “Lynne, she is going to Jimmy’s. Go ahead honey.”
My mother whipped around to look at him and started yelling, complaining about how it was ok for him to give permission for their children to do things, but she couldn’t. I felt sorry for doing this to my dad, but before my mother could redirect her attention back to me, I snuck out through the front door and ran to Jimmy’s.
As I’m running to Jimmy’s house, my legs begin to burn, but I refuse to stop. I don’t want to let what I had just witnessed to catch up to me. All I can think about is how red my father’s face became with anger. I could see the vein bursting from his neck. I was paralyzed as my mother paced throughout the kitchen. I could see her fighting to have the last word. Their voices grew louder and louder as they became more enraged. It was silly really, but one of the most devastating fights they have ever had. It all started because my dad didn’t say good morning to my mother this morning. And it all ended in my mother screaming-“I want a divorce.”
The house suddenly became quiet when she said that. She had gotten her last word alright. All my father could do was stare at her. She became vexed that he wasn’t saying anything. “I want a divorce,” she repeated it, this time more calm.
“Okay.” My father whispered his answer looking at her dumbfounded.
She walked up stairs and in a matter of minutes she was back down with a suitcase, her purse, and briefcase. “I will be back in a week to collect my things.” And with that she closed the front door behind her and was gone.
I feel as if my feet have begun to bleed. I’m only a block away from Jimmy’s now and I can see him walking out his front door. He has a look of concern on his face as he sees mine stained with streaks of tears. Running into his embrace he holds me, knowing that all I want to do is cry. “I’m so sorry Sarah.”
I look over his shoulder and I think my heart stopped a second time. “You’re moving!” I push away from him and move pass to get a better look at the movers caring beds and chairs out of the house, followed by his parents and sister with boxes in their arms. Tears begin to flow faster from my eyes.
“Sarah, I wanted to tell you, but I knew that you were going through all the stuff with your par--”
“You’re moving Jimmy! How could you not tell me this. On top of dealing with my parents getting a divorce, I now have to deal with my best friend moving away.”
“Your parents are--”
I’m about to pull my hair out. I can’t deal with everything right now. I’m not going to have Jimmy to run to when I can’t deal with my parents anymore. I’m going to have to face them all by myself. His expression tells me how sorry he is, but all I can do is think about how he has betrayed me.
“You’re leaving me right before school starts. You’re leaving me as my parents are separating. I hate you so much right now Jimmy!” He reaches for me, but all I can do is walk away. “Don’t touch me.” I begin to run for the hills, knowing that all of these terrible things shouldn’t be able to follow me there.
Night has reached my neighborhood and I reluctantly reach for the front door knob. Opening it, I hope to see my mother and father sitting together, hoping that this was all a dream, but all I see is an empty room. My father has gone to bed, Jimmy is still moving away, and mother really did leave. I sit down on the couch and suddenly my brother busts through the front door. He comes to sit next to me. Holding each other we cry until the sun rise. Twenty years of marriage have been for nothing and the plans I made with Jimmy four months ago won’t ever happen.