Author's note: This is something I wrote about two years ago, but tell me what you think!
Nickol(October 14, Friday)
ast call for flight 23 to Hollywood California.” The intercom announces. That’s my flight.
I walk over to Uncle Bob. “I’m going to miss you.” I say giving him a big bear hug. I can’t help it. The tears begin to flow. I’m trying to be tough in front of Katelyn, so it won’t be as bad for her. She is crying on Auntie Becca’s lap.
“You won’t be gone forever.” He reminds me.
“Bye Auntie Becca.” I say. I give her a big
“I’ll email you every night to tell you how your mother is, okay? I’ll call you a lot, too.” she comforts. I sniffle. Now I walk over to Katelyn for the hardest goodbye.
I hand her a letter. “I want you to open this as soon as you’re alone in your room at your dads, okay? And I’ll email you to tell you the phone number of my dad’s house and then you can call me anytime you want. I love you.”
“I love you.” She manages to choke out. I brush her hair out of her eyes. “Email me as soon as you get the number, okay?” I give her a big hug and kiss.
“I promise.” I look at Auntie Becca, though it’s hard with my tears clouding my vision. “Do you know how long we’ll be gone?”
“Probably about a month,” She says grimly. “Maybe more. You better go and get on the plane though, honey. It’s about to leave.”
“Okay, bye everyone. I love you.” I say. I start walking down the long gray runway until I get to the plane door. I’ve been on planes a few times, unlike Katelyn, who has never been on a plane before.
You can do this, Nickol.
I turn and run back to Katelyn for one last hug.
“Good bye...I love you.” I whisper in her ear. I push the last mind picture of mom out of my head, and run back to the plane.
“Ta ta for now!” Auntie Becca calls after me. I yell it back. That has been hers, my moms, mine, and Katelyn’s inside joke, I suppose, since we were little. We would always say it to each other when we were leaving. Saying it now made me want to cry.
I’m flying first class, thanks to my dad. He has more money than I could ever imagine.
I wonder what movie he’s working on now. Besides being upset about my mom, it will be great to see my dad. The last time I saw him was two years ago.
I lug my carry-on down the narrow hallway and find my seat. It smells like soap and chemicals.
People are filing onto the plane, and a flight attendant lady walks to the front of the plane and tells us how to get and use the oxygen masks and life jackets.
About ten minutes later, we’re told to put on our seatbelts and get ready for takeoff. I try to put on my seatbelt, but the pudgy lady sitting next to me has to help me.
“Thanks.” I say.
“Your very welcome, little miss. What’s your name?” She asks.
“Aren’t you Joe Mackey’s daughter? You look just like him.” She exclaims loudly.
“Um…yeah.” She must be a real fan to recognize me.
“Oh! How wonderful!” she says. She’s starting to get on my nerves already, and we haven’t even taken off yet.
“Yup. Well, I think that I’m going to take a nap until we get there, so good night.” I say.
I roll over and yawn real big. A flight attendant comes up to me and asks me if I want a drink.
“No, thank you. But do you have any pillows or blankets?” I ask. I am pretty tired. It’s been a long, long day.
“Yes we do!” I didn’t get why she was so excited. I was just asking for a pillow.
“Would you like silk, or fleece?”
“Uh, fleece, I guess.” I answer.
“Okay, I’ll be right back with that, honey!”
Geez. I pull out my stuffed bunny, Grover.
She brings me a pillow and a blanket. But by then, I’m already half asleep.
I wake up groggily six hours later. Surprisingly I slept soundly. The lady next to me is snoring. Ew.
Being on a plane alone is weird. And I have to go to the bathroom, but I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze past her. I get up and try, but she rolls over and knocks me down.
I guess I’ll just have to wait.
I decide to read my book. It’s one of my favorites, Island of the Blue Dolphins. I read it one whole time and am starting again when the pilot announces that we will be landing soon. I gather all my things, and get ready to get off the plane.
I pull out a big wad of gum and start to chew. I hate it when my ears pop on the plane, so I chew a lot of gum. I feel the gentle thud as the planes wheels find solid ground. We’re there. I wonder if my dad will be here to pick me up.
As soon as I walk off of the plane, I see my dad. He looks exactly the same as last time I saw him. His curly orange hair is slightly longer, but otherwise the same. And if that didn’t give it away, he had a bodyguard at his side.
“Dad?” I call. His face lights up. “Hi, Dad!” I run up to him and grab him in a big bear hug.
“Hey kiddo! I missed you! You’ve gotten so big!” He says.
“Yeah.” I say. Then I remember the real reason that I’m here...mom. I guess he remembered that too.
“How’s your mother doing?”
“Okay. I guess. I haven’t seen her.”
“Oh, honey I’m so sorry.”
“It’s…it’s okay.” He wraps me in an awkward hug.
“Well, let’s get your luggage and get home.” He says.
We walk over to the luggage belt and find my bag. I have two of them, and they both say Nickol on the front. Katelyn has them, too, but with her name on the front. I miss her already.
When we get outside, I can see a limo.
“Hey, Dad!” I say. “There might be a star-person thing in the limo!” I stumbled over my words.
“Uh, honey, that’s my limo.” I never realized how famous and rich my dad is!
“I get to ride in aaa…”
“Limo.” My dad finishes, giving me a weird look.
“Yeah, that.” I giggle.
“But not all the time, only for today, and parties and premieres and things.” My dad says.
“That’s cool.” I whisper. “I wonder what Katelyn would say!”
“Why don’t you call her?” He asks.
“Oh, I don’t have a phone.” We climb in to the limo. It is huge! There are two TV’s, a radio, video games, a man behind a counter, and leather seats.
I realize that the man behind the counter will make us foods or drinks if we want them, which is crazy.
“Yes you do!” my dad says as he pulls two phones out of the compartment next to him. “There are two. You can pick which one you want. They’re just two different colors.”
“Yup. Here, look at them.” He hands me the phones. One of them is blue, and one of them is pink. They’re blackberries.
“Can I have the pink one?” I ask.
“Sure. Open it!” he hands the blue one to his bodyguard.
“Hey, uh, Dad? Do you think that we could send that one to Katelyn? ‘Cause she doesn’t have a phone.”
“Sure, sweetheart. Anything to make you happy.”
When we get to the house, my jaw drops. The house is huge. And when I say huge, I mean huge. It’s the biggest house I’ve ever seen.
It’s painted a very pale blue, with cranberry shutters. It has a wrap-around porch with a swing and rocking chairs. There is a long driveway, and when we get there, there is a lady sitting on the porch, reading.
“Who’s that?” I ask.
“Well, I was just about to tell you about her.” He laughs nervously. I see a bead of sweat on his forehead.
We step outside of the limo, and the woman stands to greet us.
“Hello!” she exclaims. “I’m so excited to meet you! Your dad has told me so much about you!” Suddenly, I get a strange feeling that she is my dad’s girlfriend.
“Honey, this is Sara. We’re engaged!” He says as he puts his arm around her shoulders, a fake, huge smile plastered on his face. She gives him a nudge and a look that says ‘you didn’t tell her yet?’ She seems annoyed. And engaged? I wasn’t expecting that.
“Surprise.” he squeaks. It sounds more like a question.
“Well, don’t just make her stand there! Let’s bring her in the house!” Sara says. She walks over to the limo and takes one of my bags. I warily grab the other and my carry-on and follow her into the house.
Surprisingly, the inside of the house is more beautiful and bigger than the outside. The ceilings are huge, and when we walk inside there is a big, open living room with expensive, pure white couches. I never understood why anyone would want white furniture because it would get dirty so easily.
We walk forward into a spacious kitchen. There are gray counter tops, a stove, and a stainless steel fridge with only my picture on it (surprisingly), and an open door that looks like it leads into a dining room. I can see a large ornate table with matching chairs. It looks like it isn’t used much.
Sara points out everything when we get in, and keeps walking. She goes up a set of spiral stairs, and we go down a big hallway, passing a few closed doors. Then, she stops. She opens a door to reveal a teenage girls dream bedroom. Everything is pink. The bed, the walls, the dresser, the rug, the TV, the computer, everything.
“Well, this is your room! Enjoy! We’ll have to do some shopping someday next week…you need some new clothes.” She looks me up and down, making me self-conscious about my light blue jeans and green tank. I was dressed for a plane ride, not a fashion show.
“This is cool.” I say. And it is. I love pink. I’m surprised that my dad remembers.
“Yeah.” She sighs. “You look just like your dad.”
“Yeah…” I say awkwardly. “Most people say that.”
“Would you like me to help you unpack?”
“Uhhh…if you want to.”
“Alright.” She answers. I quickly email Katelyn with the house number and my new cell phone number before we unpack. Sara starts to tell me all about her dream wedding as we put everything away in the drawers. I’m surprised to see myself having fun. Sara is actually a really funny person.
We spend all day telling each other funny stories about my dad out next to the pool. We don’t even realize how late it’s gotten because we’ve been laughing so hard.
That night, Sara and I have dinner together, because my dad has a meeting.
She makes spaghetti and meatballs. They’re amazing.
“So, Nickol, you’re a freshman in high school...how’s that going for you? You got a lot of friends?”
“Yeah, it’s going pretty good.”
“Got yourself a boyfriend?” She asks. Then she slurps up on long piece of spaghetti, and sauce splatters everywhere. She starts to giggle, and I join in. “Anyway...” she says between laughs, “...boyfriend? Yes? No?” She reminds me of a teenage girl right now. She has sauce on her shirt, and it still giggling a bit from before. I finally take in her skinny jeans, swoopy tank-top and long blonde hair. Her earrings dangle on her shoulders, and she has lots of make-up on. I honestly wonder how she and my dad met.
“No, not right now.” I answered, slurping up a piece of spaghetti myself. It flings even more sauce on Sara’s shirt.
We both start cracking up.
After dinner she helps me set up the blackberries. When I’m getting ready for bed, I realize that Katelyn hasn’t emailed me back or called me yet, which is weird. She must have checked her email by now.
When I’m about to get into bed for the night, Sara comes up and asks if I have the address of Katelyn’s house because she is going to send the sidekick to Katelyn tonight so she will get it tomorrow morning. I give her the address and thank her. Before she leaves, I put my new cell phone and house number in the contacts.
Then I realize that I haven’t called Auntie Becca yet! She must be freaking out. I quickly grab the phone and dial. No one answers. That’s weird. I try her cell phone. Nothing. Oh well, it’s late. I’ll have to wait till tomorrow. I bite my lip until its bleeding as I fall asleep.
(October 15, Saturday)
I have nightmares all night and try calling again the next morning, but no one answers. Once again, I try to put it off and think about other things. Sara makes pancakes for us, and they are good. Early in the morning, my dad sets off to work. I’m texting my friend Erin from back home when Sara comes up to me.
“Hey! I got you a backpack. I hope you like it!” she says.
I look up at Sara to see a pink and green Vera Bradley backpack. It’s cute.
“Thanks!” I say. “Hey, what’s the name of the school I’m going to again? I’m starting in two days, on Monday, right?”
“Correct. I don’t even get the point. It’s only for a few weeks.”
“I know, but then I would have to make all of it up when we get home, so, that would be a lot of work.”
“I see, I see.” She says. “Well, it’s called Clark Hall High School, but most people just call it Clark.”
“Oh. That’s a cool name.”
“I was just talking to the principal and she’s excited to have you come, so that’s good.”
“Yeah. I’m pretty nervous. I don’t want to make any really good friends, ‘cause then I won’t be able to see them.”
“Well, your dad and I had an idea that you should come and spend a month here every summer, if you want to. That way, you can keep in touch.”
“Really? That would be awesome!”
“Good, I’m glad you want to. Your father and I are getting married next summer, so I think that you should be here for that.”
“Of course I should be! I’m so not going to miss your wedding.”
“No way.” Sara says. “Well, I’ll let you get back to your texting.”
“Okay. And thanks for the backpack.”
“You’re welcome, sweetie.”
All of a sudden, my blackberry starts blaring an obnoxious ring. “I’ll have to change that…”I mumble to myself.
“Yes! Nicki? Tell your dad that I said thank you so much for the sidekick. I love it!”
“Okay. I’m glad you like it. How’s your dad?”
“Terrible.” Her excited tone drains into nothing.
“Tell me everything.”
“Well,” she sighs, “About one hour after you left, my plane was called. So, I got on the plane, and we took off, and about halfway there, I started to feel sick to my stomach. So I tried to go to sleep, but I couldn’t. So I went to the bathroom. And then I threw up. And it was greenish-“
“I don’t need to know the details of that.” I interrupt quickly.
“Sorry. So, when I got off the plane, I couldn’t find my dad. I was calling for him, and calling, and he never came. So I just sat down on the bench and waited.
“About twenty minutes later, he decided to show up. And it was really awkward and he was like, ‘So, sorry about your, um mom.’ And I was like ‘Yeah, it’s okay.’ And then he didn’t say anything else.
“So, we got into the car. And it took three hours to get there. And then when we were finally there, the house was this really little thing that was falling apart. And then this old, evil looking lady walked outside and told me that she was Bernie and that she was my dad’s wife.” By now Katelyn was crying.
“It’s okay, Kate.” I comfort. I really wish I could give her a hug. She sniffs and continues.
“So then she brings me inside, tells me she’ll call me when dinners ready, and directs me to my bedroom. When I’m walking upstairs, I can see a few doors. So I knock on the first one, just in case, and someone says, “Come in!” Katelyn’s crying so hard it’s not easy to understand her.
“Katie, I’m so sorry, but I promise it’ll be okay.” I say. She takes a deep breath and starts again.
“So, I open the door a crack, and there’s a girl sitting on a bed. She has a thick country accent, and she says hi to me. So I say hi back. Then she says ‘You must be Katelyn! I’m Mackenzie. My momma said yawl was comin.’ And she tells me that she spells her name M-a-k-e-n-z. So then I was all ‘Who are you?’ and then she said ‘Well, I’m your half sister silly!’ and then I was all, ‘half sister?’
“And then we like talked for a while and she told me how old she is and what school she goes to. And she’s 12 too so were in the same grade at the same school. And then she helped me unpack and told me that there is no computer, TV, or any other electronics. She was like ‘It’s just us, and the big ol farm. And she actually seemed happy!”
“Well, she doesn’t seem so bad.”
“She kind of creeps me out, though. Oh, yeah, I forget the best part.” She says with sarcasm. “There’s no bathroom inside. We have to use an outhouse.” I gasp and quickly recover.
“Oh my God! I’m so sorry! That’s terrible.”
“Yeah. And I get up at least once a night to the bathroom. So now I have to go outside. And it’s gross. Well, tell me about your day.” She sighs.
“Uh…I don’t want to rub it in, but I’m kind of having fun.” Then I quickly add. “Except for when I’m missing you. Which is basically all the time so; it’s not fun.”
“That’s fine! Don’t worry about me. What’s so fun?”
“Well. Uh…my dad’s getting married. And I really like his fiancé. Her name is Sara and she’s really sweet.”
“Yeah. And my room is totally pink. There’s even a computer and a TV in it. And the rug is really fluffy and it’s long so when you step on it, you sink down really low.”
“Cool. What’ve you been doing?”
“Um, just like hanging out and stuff. Texting Erin.”
“What school are you going to go to?”
“Clark. Well, that’s its nickname. It’s really called Clark Hall High School, but nobody calls it that.”
“Oh. You really seem to be fitting in.”
“Yeah. Sorry. I mean-“
“I said its fine! I want you to fit in!” She says.
Then she sighs. “Sorry, I have to go harvest the corn.” I can’t tell if she’s joking or not.
“Are you kidding?”
“Yeah. I just have to go and set the table. But before I know it, they’ll have me working on the fields. Bye.”
“Bye. I love you.” I say, but she’s already gone.