It was a typical day. Well at least it seemed like one. The dinner table was set my mother at one end my father at the other. His shirt un buttoned and his tie off. His hair still greased back from work his five o’ clock shadow becoming very visible. My mother sat on the other side smiling in a sun dress. Her blond curls tied neatly and her makeup fresh and beautiful. My two brothers Tim and Jared sat on one side I sat on the other. Everybody was smiling and laughing and no hatred or resentment showed. I was wrong.
After dinner I shuffled up the stairs full and tired. My door swung open and I put on my favorite pair of pajamas and pulled out my journal. I looked out the window trying to find some inspiration. The sky was a bright crimson and the white clouds looked like pillows. The hot humid air escaped through my window and a cool breeze danced across my face. I described all this in my book and finished with just enough time to stick it under my pillow. I heard my mother kiss the boys goodnight and waited for my turn. I could hear her stalling and pacing outside my door. What was taking her so long? I heard my dad come out side of his room annoyed. I lurked toward the door quietly trying to here their muffled whispers. “Should we tell her? whispered my mother. “ I don’t know, I think I should its my fault and I am leaving tomorrow anyway”. Leaving? What does my father mean by leaving. Vacation? A business trip? Or was he leaving like how Maddie’s mom left. Suddenly I heard a knock. I ran to my bed slipped under my covers and slowly said “come in”. My parents walked in seeming quiet nervous. My mother sat at the foot of my bed and my father by my head. My father began to speak. “Sweetheart do you know my colleague Janet? He croaked. My mother looked disgusted. “Umm yeah she always gives me lollipops”. My father smiled weakly. My mother than started to cry and ran out of the room swearing. “Well I’m honestly not going to sugar coat this, I cheated on your mother and me an Janet are moving in together, your mother and I are getting a divorce. I’m so sorry sweetheart but it is for the better. Besides I’m only moving 11 miles away”. Tears and anger fled my body. “11 miles! I wish you were moving 1000 miles I hate you! You are tarring this family apart I never want to see you again get out of the house now!” I screamed so loud the boys woke up along with the neighbors. My father walked quickly out of my room grabbed his bag and walked out the front door.
The battle had begun. The court was like a new 2nd home. I would wait outside and hear the screams of my parents. The word “custody” was all they said. I didn't exactly know what the word meant, eventually I did but I would try not to let myself understand. One Sunday afternoon I hoped into the car with my mom and drove down to the courthouse. She told me I had to make a decision. I opened the doors and stepped inside, felling quiet weak I slowly glanced around the room. My father was sitting on one side of the bench and my mother sat down on the other. The judge motioned for me to sit in a chair. “Hello Niki my name is Judge Brown and unfortunately you are going to have to make a major decision.” he said. “You are going to have to decide which parent you will live with” he croaked. All of sudden my face turned bright red and the tears started to role down my face. I felt alone and scared. I turned to see my mother smiling. I slowly turned the other way and saw my father frowning.“ I will give you 1 week” Judge Brown claimed. I walked quickly in front of my parents and sat down in the last row of my moms Escalade. She didn't say anything just listened to some jazz and looked at me ever so quickly every 2 minutes. She turned into Mc Jimmy’s my favorite ice cream shop. We walked inside quietly not making eye contact or speaking. I ordered my usual a mocha mint chocolate goober chip with rainbow sprinkles. I sat down and looked out the window. The sky was turning into an orange color and the whittle clouds seemed grey. I watched and listened to the freeway playing the license plate game all by myself. My mother sat on the opposite side of the table her blond curls tied back. She watched me like I was an alien. We didn't speak for the rest of the night. The week flew by quickly and my decision was made. I slowly walked into the courthouse my blond curls tied back and a red sundress to my knees. “ I will be staying with my mother” I chocked. I quickly walked out of the court room. I was to ashamed to see the look on my father face and the crude smile on my mothers. It was all his fault I thought he deserves this. I opened the car door and sat in the last row. My mother appeared she wasn't smiling or frowning she was neutral. She turned on the radio to my favorite station and smiled at me. I smiled right back. Good Job Niki I thought.
When I got home I rushed upstairs and found my journal. I opened up to a new page and wrote down everything that had happened. Each word got harder and harder to write. My story was like a fire. You feed the fire until it is tall and strong but slowly as you poor water onto it dies out. I rushed down stairs and turned on the old computer. I looked up the word custody. As I read the definition I became mortified. I slammed the computer shut and rushed upstairs. I started screaming and throwing my pillows. My fire was starting,it was becoming stronger.I screamed until my fire was blazing. I grabbed the family portrait right as my mother walked in and slammed it into the floor she quickly shut the door leaving me in my rage. I gave up hope that this family would work out. My fire had vanished.
It was a Friday night. For most kids it is the best day of the week. For me it is the day I have to go to my father.I piled into the car and stared at the window hoping that this car ride would last a while. As the car screeched to a halt my eyes suddenly became annoyed looking at the familiar house. “Hello Jerry” My mother said sternly obviously uncomfortable. “Linda” he chocked and motioned for her to come inside she declined the invitation and walked to her car briskly. “Hey Niki, How ya doing? Want a snack ?Janet will be home soon” he claimed but quickly regretting it he knew I hated Janet. “I’m good” I mumbled. I quickly walked away into the living room. I threw my back back down and started to pull out my phone right when he walked in. “We have to talk” he said smiling. He sat down next to and shook his hands and took a deep breath. “Why do you hate me?” he said very seriously he looked like a whimpering puppy. “Why do I hate you are you joking! You ruined my life and my family you are about to marry a piece of garbage and I'm not even invited!!” I screamed this. It was like a flash back to the night I kicked dad out of the house. “Umm” stop babbling I said I'm calling mom to come pick me up. Mom couldn't pick me up for 25 minutes. I sat alone on the stairs and waited.Was I to harsh? I thought. I was definitely confused and felt vulnerable but I would not let him see that. My phone beeped a text message appeared saying I'm 5 minutes away. I closed my phone and stared into the once again crimson sky. Why cant my family be like everybody else’s? I waited until I could see my moms car but before she was in the driveway my father appeared with a white envelope in his hand. He handed it to me and walked away. I slipped into my bag and hopped into the car. My mom was smart enough not bring up the events that have just occurred. She turned on my favorite music station 93.2 and hummed quietly to herself. When I got home I ran upstairs and slipped the envelope under my mattress and pretended I didn't receive one. I closed me eyes and pretended I was sleeping I didn't want to tell mom about what happened or the invitation.
The next morning I knew I would have to tell my mom about the invitation. I grabbed the bent invite from under my mattress and held it behind my back. I sat down at the table. Tim and Jared where to busy playing fire fighters in the living room to notice what was happening. I slowly handed her the envelope. I watched her eyes widen and she almost smiled but it was quickly swallowed up. “Wow, sweet heart you can go if you want to” she said almost proudly. “I don't know I will think about it”. I sat down and ate my eggs. Out of the corner of my eye I could see my mom fiercely look at the invitation then quickly turn her view back at Sarah Jackmen doing the news 14 morning show. It seemed like she felt ashamed looking at it. The invitation was white and black and had lavender calligraphy. Lace draped the perimeter, it was beautiful. I copied my mothers stolen glances not quiet understanding why she felt ashamed.
The wedding was 2 weeks away. I had decided to go, I had never been to a weeding before and I wanted to be there for my father. I picked out a beautiful silver dress and slipped it on. My mother then came in with a little black box. “I thought these would look good with the dress” she said with smile. I lifted the lid like it was christmas. To my surprise I found a pair of suede black heals they were spectacular. “Thank you mom I love them” I yelled excitedly. “Have fun” she said kissing my cheek. I arrived at the wedding and kissed my father. “Congrats Dad, You to Janet" I hugged her. I quickly let go of Janet and saw my father light up like a christmas tree! The exchanged glances quickly but it was not un noticed. I heard the church bells and ring. I opened the door and turned to see the crimson sky and the white clouds that looked like pillows. The sadness of this memory became un recognizable. I stepped inside and was ready to start over. One mile at a time.