Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

You'd Better Sit Down

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
You’d better sit down. Four bitter, dreaded words my Dad says to my mom about every three years. By now, she knows what comes next. He hears silence over the receiver, then the creak of our cheap kitchen chairs.

“What?” She asks, her voice low, threatening to break. My brother and I stare at her with wide eyes schoolwork forgotten, hearts beating franticly. From the position of an outsider, it is almost comical. We all know what he’s going to say, why not get it over with? It’s a tradition – like staying up on New Year’s Eve, even though you know the ball will drop at exactly midnight. We just wait, and eventually he answers. We’re moving again. The only break in the routine is the where.

It all plays out the same as the other times we have moved, a depressing soap opera being filmed in my kitchen. My brother asks what Daddy wanted, even though we all know. Mom tells him, gently, eyes already red and soggy. Right on cue, he bursts into gut-wrenching sobs, bringing out the tears Mom has been trying to hold back. Then I play tough and hold them both, careful to stay above them so they can’t see my nose get red and puffy as I try not to cry.

As my brother bawls “Why!”, my mom and I recite our lines about how the military needs Daddy somewhere else, and it is our duty to serve our country. How we would bloom where we were planted, and it was all going to be okay. If only more people felt that way. If only more people were willing to sacrifice, to smash apart their perfect lives and give everything they had for the sake of our country. If only.

The next few months go as planned. We live like slaves, keeping everything perfect and bending our whole lifestyle to the whims of realtors and potential buyers. We squeeze in as much time with friends as possible, and reminisce about all the good times. Don’t forget to intersperse the whole thing with frequent tears from my mom and brother, and stoic comforting on the part of my dad and I.

The day to leave comes far too soon. We say our final goodbye’s, Mommy wiping tears from her reddened face, and Baker trying to hide in each friend’s car as different people come to say “take care”. I force out a tear for each best friend, even though I feel numb and emotionless. Daddy reminds us it is time to go.

We pile into the cars, squeezing in next to all the things we couldn’t bear if the movers ruined. Goodbye, old life.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback