Moving On ... and On This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I learned the hard way what is truly important just this past December. In September 1999, we moved to Illinois. I was sure I'd hate it in a small townwith less than 500 people, but it turned out to be a tight-knit community.

For a year, my father threatened to move again. He'd moved usseven times and didn't seem concerned that we were settled. Each week for anentire year he packed more of our things; we'd hear him in the basement, packing,repacking. The sound of masking tape became one that we hated; it meant he wastaping shut another box.

He wasn't sure where we were going, he just knewhe didn't want to be in Illinois. Each month my mother, younger brother and Iwere afraid of where we might end up, worried that he was serious. We'd hold ourbreaths and be stricken with fear, worrying if "the move" would happenthis week, next week, or at all. We couldn't tell when he was serious. He told usevery month that we were moving. How were we supposed to know when he reallymeant it?

Then, in 2001, I got involved with the local humane societyworking with homeless cats. I was still pushing people away, though, afraid ofbecoming attached and then having to move.

That year, I came out of myshell. I stopped holding people at arms' length and opened my heart. I knew I wasrisking getting hurt, but I couldn't stop myself. The next year seemed to fly byand I became even more involved. I became attached to the group of volunteers ina way that was deeper than just sharing a fondness for animals - it was realfriendship. One volunteer and I grew especially close and have a tighter bondthan I ever thought possible. Although it had been less than two years, it feltlike we'd known each other forever. I became immersed in my world, and out of thehouse at least, things went like clockwork.

I loved everything about whatI was doing but all along there was a voice in my head saying that eventually"the move" would happen. As time went on, it grew louder and I heard itconstantly. The voice was my father, telling my family and me not to get tooattached to anyone, that we were moving. He didn't know where, but we wereleaving.

Months rolled by and still nothing happened. I was willing tostay packed forever if it would keep him happy and keep us here. I began to thinkthat we might not really be moving, that we'd be able to stay.

Decembercame and again he announced we were moving. Yeah, okay. The month will creep byand we'll still be here in January, I thought. But on the 14th, a moving truckwas sitting in our driveway. My world collapsed around me. This was it. This wasthe longest we'd stayed in one place, and now it was over. This must be for real,right? Why would he go through all the trouble of getting a moving van and thenchange his mind? When I saw him carrying plastic boxes to the van, I knew it wasreal.

I went to a humane society event that day and tried to stay upbeatand busy. My mind was reeling and I felt overwhelmed. Toward the end of the daymy friend came up to me and announced that our group was taking me to dinner tocelebrate "my perfectness," as she put it, but she meant mymoving.

I drove with her to the restaurant and we walked in together. Isat down and looked around me. All the people I loved were sitting there. Theywere all there for me, to show their support. The feelings I had that night areindescribable. Everyone wanted to be sure I knew they were behind me and I wasstill a part of the gang no matter where I was.

I went home that nightwith my heart shattered into a million pieces. I'm still recovering from themove. I wouldn't change anything that I did in Illinois. If I hadn't opened up, Iwould have missed so much. In the end, it was worth the hurt to experience what Idid. "Live, love, laugh" are three words my best friend uses. I didjust that.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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anne.Brooke said...
Jan. 10, 2011 at 1:20 am

I can completely understand,how it feels to keep moving to different places...although not at your frequency...yet its hard to get adapted to new places and new faces and what not...

Keep Writing...


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