For as long as I remember I always lived with my mom, and I was okay with it because at the time the small white trailer was in decent condition. The walls were stable, the floors were solid, and roof had no leaks in it. When you go into the house you are in the living room, and to the right is the kitchen entry. A little ways to the left is the hallway, and the first room was my older sisters, then the next room was the bathroom, and the very back room was my mom’s room. Heading back to the living room, mine and my sisters room was in the far back right, and since that part of the house was added on, there is a window connected from the kitchen into our room, along with a door. Our room was also had the washing machine and dryer in it. The lawn was cut perfectly and there was always something to do. The trailer is out on South Road, and surrounded by the landowners farm, which had cows and horses that I could help feed every now and again.
My dad at the time lived on Will Jackson Road, which at first glance looks like a run down house, but on the inside was gorgeous. The inside had a living room, kitchen, and diner all a open-concept, and to the left was a small connected way that had the master bedroom, master bathroom, and a large walk-in closet. Down the right hallway of the living room had another bathroom, and two bedrooms. It was away from town as well, and the drive way was extremely long. It had a big field and dried creek behind the house, and I also had a treehouse and rope swing there, and our Pitbull, Buddy, was free to roam around.
After three years of my living on Will Jackson Road, him and stepmom decided to move again, but into town. I was not happy with the decision, but I was eight years old and did not have a say in the matter, but as I got older I realized they did it so that work was easier for the both of them. We moved to Cunningham, but I later found out that Cunningham had a lot of drug dealers so I never went out much, unless needed. The house that dad bought was a decently sized, two story building. The front door lead to the living room, and there are two arch ways that lead to the kitchen, and a small hallway that on the left is the office, ahead is the bathroom, and on the right is my room. The kitchen has a side door that leads to the carport and that holds my dad's grill, and my step moms swing that lays out into a bed. The second story of the building is the parentals room, and another walk-in closet. Even though the house was good, my dad got rid of Buddy, because he kept getting off his chain. Buddy never hurt anyone, but he kept chasing the neighborhood cats down the road. My dad had read a paper that he thought meant he had to get rid of Buddy, but later he found out he never really had to get rid of the family beloved dog. When everyone found out we were all upset about it.
Two years later and I’m in the fifth grade and by then I had got into the rhythm of walking to school on Monday mornings, and walking from school to my dad’s house on Friday afternoons. I enjoyed it, and it was giving the exercise that I didn’t get when living with my mom. I started to realize that my mom’s trailer wasn’t in that great of condition anymore, and my mom had asked Jason, my stepdad, if they could look into a new house. Jason had refused and we continued to live in the worn down trailer. It upsetted me, and I started to get jealous of the other kids that lived with both of their parents, including my little sister. They never had to go through the trouble I went through just to see both my parents on a fair amount. Deciding which holiday that I would spend the most with one parent always hurt, and I’ve never had a birthday at my father’s house.
Middle school came along, and I was a little frightened and extremely excited to be honest. We started school and I handled sixth grade pretty well, in my opinion, even though their was a teacher I didn’t like all that much, but I still got my work done. I hung out with a girl named Trinity a lot more that year. She was one of the few friends I had, even though I hated her the previous year, but she became my main source of socialization, then came Seventh grade. It was my favorite year middle school year. I had gotten along with all my teachers and they enjoyed having me in their class. Ms. Allen and Mrs. Calhoun were my favorite teachers from seventh grade. Ms. Allen had a great personality and she was there when I need it the help, but she moved when I got into eighth grade. I felt sorry for the students that were not going to have her. Mrs. Calhoun had my older sister before me, and she accidentally called me Erin a couple of times, but I naturally clicked with her, and I even got to see her outside of school as well. Trinity moved that summer, and I was little upset because at the time I small crush on her. Although, school provided opportunities to make new friends.
My mom had quit her job that year as well, and she stayed at home. She cleaned sometimes, but she watched Netflix most of the time. I wished she hadn’t quit her job because it got financially hard for us and we never bought healthy food. I started to spend my summers with my dad instead of staying with my mom. She wouldn’t see me until July 4th most of the time, but I felt better staying at my dads. I felt more comfortable with my his living environment.
Come the eighth grade year, I started to question if I should move in with my dad or not. I knew he wouldn’t mind, but my mom would. All of my friends told me to move in with my dad because they knew it would be better for me, but I never mentioned it to either of my parents. Around the end of the second quarter my stepdad had decided to let some of my relatives stay until they got a new house, but I knew he and his wife would stay for as long as they could. It may sound bad but I didn’t like them, or their four kids. Their oldest child was about 6 or 7, and their youngest was a newborn. It doesn’t help that the house wasn’t being taken care of and that it was falling apart, and when I mean falling apart, I mean the roof would leak so much that it would fill a medium sized cooler in an hour. The floor was falling in and the walls started to get to the point that you could see to the outside.
At night you can hear the wind blowing through the rooms of the house, and the constant sound of water dripping when it rains. The sound of children waking up and screaming at the tops of their lungs at three in the morning could be heard every night when my cousin moved in.
Why of all people does he have to let them say? I let out a huff of annoyance as I leave the screaming kids in the living room and head to my room.
There is nothing you can do without being judged, or getting in trouble.
I only complained to my friends who agreed that it sounded rough. To avoid my cousin and his family, I would keep myself in my bedroom that me and Tara shared. I guess my mom noticed that I was more invisible than I normally was because she called me into the kitchen, granted, I thought she was going to ask me to watch my nieces and nephews so she could finish doing the dishes and cooking.
When I walked into the kitchen my mom turned to me. She seemed distressed, bags under her eyes, and her eyes seemed faded. She didn’t even smile, instead just asked me a question I have been asking myself.
“Do you want to move in with your dad?” she asked me.
“Sure, but... why?” I ask, being a little wary about the situation. Though, I was happy she was asking.
“I know you are not happy here,” she says, her eyes started to hold more sadness.
It made me upset to know that mom was upset, but I texted my dad anyway and asked if I could move in and he agreed. The next day at school I told my friends that I was moving in with my dad and they were happy. The day went by normally and by that afternoon I walked to my dad’s house. It almost felt like the weekend, but I knew it wasn’t. After living with my dad my eating habits had become better, and I was getting a good amount of exercise on the weekdays. Although, my mental state wasn’t that great. Any time my mom would see me she would ask if I would move back in with her if she got a new house. I would say yes every time because I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I didn’t want to give straight answer, it seemed to add a load of stress to my shoulders that I didn’t know how to deal with it.
I told my dad about it, but he said to just do what I feel is right. Thanks for the help, dad. I thought sarcastically.
Summer had come and gone, and 9th grade was approaching. I knew I would get a call from my mom because she, Jason, and Tara always go to Ohio a week before open house. I was right, she called saying she was going to be bringing my pet bird, and I was happy, although I wanted to get more of my stuff as well, but I couldn’t argue, I was getting something that was precious to me. She had shown up, and I let her inside because I was alone. I showed her my room because she hadn’t seen it, and then she asked the question. The question I hate answering.
“Will you move in with me if I get a new house?” I could feel her eyes boring a hole through my back as I set my bird on the table.
Why does she have to ask?! Can she not see how uncomfortable I am with giving an answer? I take a moment to look at my bird. Having him around calms my nerves, but not enough for this.
Just give an answer already, you’re taking too long!
“Yes,” I mumble out quietly, but of course my mom didn’t hear me.
“You didn’t answer my question,” mom states and I turn to look at her.
“I said yes,” I say, still quiet, but loud enough for my mom to hear.
She smiled, kissed my forehead, and left. I sigh and look back to my bird who is looking around, kind of scared of the new surroundings. I smile to myself, and bring his cage to my room. I clear off my dresser and set Sticky Keys up there. Considering Stickey was the child of my sister’s birds, I consider him my own child.
“You’ll still love me even with the decisions I make, won’t you?” I speak quietly to my bird, but I knew the decision I make would be worth it, even if others did not think so.
Sometimes I’ll drop everything I’m doing and just listen to my bird after a stressful day. The sound of his soft cat whistling and when he tries to whistle the Andy Griffith is soothing. When I do not pay attention to him he will screech at me until I do. The sound of ruffling noise of his feathers when he fluffs them out, or the clicking of his talons rubbing against the wall of the cage. Sticky is one of the only things that makes me happy anymore in this place people call life.