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The Best of Plans
The Florida sun greeted Alison as she awoke, filling the room with light. The purple walls of her room seemed to glisten on this beautiful summer day, as if the sun had shone a spotlight on it. To her right, a white vanity stood by the door, her mirror decorated with pictures of her and her friends and family. She smiled at it as she sat up to fix her messy blonde hair. Her tanned skin was especially visible in this light, and her freckles stuck out like small stars on her cheeks. Summer had brought out the happiness in Alison, and her bright blue eyes had a look of content behind them. The countdown that’s had existed inside her head for the past three weeks ticked down again. Two days. There were two more days until she would be beginning her latest adventure, high school. High school seemed like a foreign land that she had yet to explore, a new world that she had not yet experienced. The idea danced her head as she stepped out of her white bed and walked out of her room, greeting her brother Kyle as she led her way to the kitchen. She looked over and saw her mother at the table, looking at her phone and drinking her daily cup of coffee. She was already dressed for work and looked up as Alison walked into the room.
“Morning, mom,” Alison said casually.
“Hey honey,” her mother replied. “I made you pancakes. I know they’re your favorite.”
“Thanks mom, but how did you manage to make these? You have to get ready for work so early.”
“I make time for the ones that I love,” her mother said sweetly. Alison did not question the pancakes anymore, and sat down for breakfast. No sooner than when she had taken her first bite, Kyle walked into the room.
“Mom, I’m hungry,” he said groggily. Kyle was no morning person.
“I made you pancakes too, Kyle,” their mother stated. He sat down at the table and began devouring the food. At this moment, their father entered the kitchen, sitting down at the table. While the nervous look on his face was subtle, it gave Alison the feeling something was wrong. There was a short moment of silence as the kids demolished their pancakes, but it was quickly broken as their father spoke up.
“Kids,” he said quietly. “There’s something we need to tell you.” Alison became worried at this. What could be wrong? Was someone sick?
Her mother chimed in. “Kids, your father has been promoted. This is a great opportunity for him.” She paused at this, and looking up at her children with big, sorrowful eyes, said, “But, it’s in New York. This means we’re going to have to move up there.” Alison felt as if she had just been hit in the stomach. Her mother continued. “I know with school coming up and everything this is going to be hectic, but they need him there by next week. Kyle, you’ll be attending elementary school up there, and Alison, you’ll be getting to start your first day of high school in New York!” She attempted to sound enthusiastic, but Alison had already begun to storm off to her room. She slammed the door and collapsed onto the bed. How could they do this to me? I had everything planned out. I would start high school with my friends who I’ve been with since preschool. And now they expect me to just pack up and go to New York, where there won’t be a single familiar face, where I won’t have anyone by my side.
There was a knock at the door then.
“Ali, its me,” her mother said softly. She did not come in. “I understand how sudden this must feel. Believe me, this is overwhelming for all of us. If it was our choice, we would stay here, you know that. But, this is the best opportunity for our family. I hope you can see that.” Ali simply turned over in her bed, and after a few moments of deafening quiet, she heard her mother sigh and walk away from the door.
The next few days were a blur for Alison. Boxes furnished the house, taking up every square inch of each room. Alison was charged with the task of packing up all of her things. She went through her room, and the items she found only reminded her of the sentiment this house held for her. With great disappointment, she watched her friends go off to high school without her, and her last bit of hope that she would get to stay in Florida diminished. As moving day quickly approached, she was feeling less and less like the girl who had been blissful enjoying her summer less than a week before. Despite the summer sun, everything seemed dark, like a cloud that followed her wherever she went. Soon, it was the night before the big move, and fear had slowly begun to creep its way into Alison’s mind. What if I don’t make friends at my new school? What if I’m miserable? These thoughts kept her awake, so much so that she went down the hall to grab a drink of water. To her surprise, her mother was sitting at the table drinking a cup of water as well.
“Couldn’t sleep?” her mother asked.
“No,” Alison replied quietly.
“Honey, sit down. I need to talk to you.” Alison pulled the chair out and sat down reluctantly, but listened. Her mother looked up at her, clearly upset, trying to find the words to say.
“I’ve been in your situation before. I moved when I was about your age, so I know what this is like. But you can’t focus on what you’re leaving behind. You have to focus on what you’re going towards. Think about it, you’re going to meet all new friends and have an even bigger house, and this will be an even bigger adventure.” Tears welled in Alison’s eyes.
“Mom, I’m sorry. I was terrible to you all this week. You guys were dealing with so much, and I didn’t make things any easier. I have so much to look forward to this year. I’m starting high school!” Her mother smiled at this and embraced her daughter. For the first time all week, Alison felt as if everything would be all right.
The next morning, Alison helped as much as she could, packing boxes into the moving trucks and watching her brother. When it came time to leave, Alison walked downstairs one last time, looking around the now vacant space, and thought of all the wonderful memories that were made here.
“Kids! Time to go!” her father shouted. Alison smiled, took one last mental picture, and walked upstairs and into the car. As she looked at the house, she knew that she would be prepared for this new chapter in her life. She was excited, she was happy, and she was ready.
“Ready to go?” her mother asked.
With a confident reply, Alison said, “Yes.”