Author's note: I wrote this short novel last year when I was thinking about how fortunate I am to have a... Show full author's note »
The First TurnA road, a long wandering road that twists and turns around the trees and bushes surrounding it, a road is like a life and Kristine's made an unexpected turn. For a road can crawl, creep, and slither down a dark path known as the future, and the future can hold wonders.
"Kristine, what on Earth are you doing? Did you not here me call you for the millionth time?"
Kristine sighed, closed her journal, and began to head down the stairs of her small brownstone in Beacon Hill.
"Coming Mom!" She bellowed down the hall.
As she trotted down the stairs her long bouncy blond curls extended down to her waist and then sprang back up to her mid-back. Her creamy green eyes blazed like there reflection of the sun off of the grass and her gentle figure eased down the stairs with pure inspirational agility, but there was something we couldn't see. Behind those eyes was a wave of emotion and restless nights due to multiple tears. When she reached the bottom of the steps her mother, Marrie, a strong, captivating woman with short dirty blond hair and bluish, brownish piercing eyes, tapped her foot as if she had been waiting hours.
"Kristine Walters! Hurry yourself up! The Websters are waiting for us and you are taking your sweet, good time!"
"I'm sorry mom, I was just finishing the last chapter," Kristine confessed timidly.
"I'm seriously considering taking away that pathetic journal of yours," Marrie scolded.
Kristine stumbled back and faltered,"Ma, I'm so sorry. Really don't take it away. I promise I’ll come down on time the next time you call."
"Stop your begging and get in the carl" Marrie whaled.
Kristine ran down to the car and hopped into the back, next to her brother, Josh. Kristine was the youngest of four children. The oldest was her sister Isabelle. Isabelle had long, brown, straight hair and humbling brown eyes. She was four years older than her sister at age sixteen. As always she was over dressed for the occasion in a blue halter top and jet black embellished skirt.
Next in line was her brotherJosh. Josh was around 15 years o f age with dark, brown messy hair and blue eyes that glistened like the sea during a violent storm. Due to the close age between Josh and Isabelle, the two siblings got in rather heated disputes, but it was nothing compared to the wrangles that Jennifer and Isabelle got into.
Jennifer was fourteen and had a temper that blazed like fire. She had the same characteristics as her mother, except for her nose. It was pointy and lengthy just like her father's.
Jennifer would brawl with anyone near her and when she snapped there was no telling what would happen.
"Marrie, calm down, it's just the Websters ," Kristine's father, James, ordered.
James, oddly enough, had vivid red hair, unlike anyone in the family. He was a broad man with strict morals, but was silly in his own way. He towered over Marrie, but Josh was beginning to catch up to him.
"James! It's rude, very rude to arrive late, even if it is just the Websters!" Marrie yelled as they began to drive away.
"Marrie, don't yell please!" James said in a harsh, yet baffled voice.
"Ouch!" Jennifer screamed from the back of the Escalade, "Josh pinched me!"
"No I didn't!" Josh assured.
"Both of you shut up!" Isabelle squawked.
"Why don't you?' Josh shot back.
"Please all of you cut it out!" Kristine pleaded.
"Kristine that was rude, say you're sony," Mrs. Walters demanded.
"No ‘buts’ Kristine, now!"
"Sorry," Kristine said lamely.
"That was not fair," Josh mumbled under his breath.
Josh and Kristine were the only two who ever got along. "Josh don't talk back to your mother!" Mr. Walters bid.
"I wonder were he learns it?" Marrie questioned sarcastically, fortunately, they pulled into the Websters driveway, so James didn't have time for sharp reply.
The Websters were old family friends, but none of the children were Kristine's age, and they excluded her in all their chats. So throughout the night Kristine sat on the couch and wrote in her journal.
When Mrs.Webster sounded the call for dinner Kristine slowly rose and tied her curls back behind her. Kristine sat in between her brother and mother, and barley listened to the conversations.
Then she heard her father say,''Why my Marrie does my every call and beckon. She is my maid, right dear?"
Kristine's mother's face fixed into a sharp ravenous glare. Realizing the tension, Kristine began to fake a laugh.
"Oh Dad you crack me up!" she said.
Luckily the Websters soon joined in and James played along, but Marrie's glare did not change for the rest of the evening. When the festivities were done for the night, the Walters climbed back into their Escalade and drove off. The entire car ride was silent, but everyone knew the extreme fury that would soon blow.
"All righty children, it's been a long night, off to bed please,"James barked.
"NOW," Both parents yelped.
The children scattered like mice and ran to the in rooms, all except for Kristine. She stayed at the top of the staircase and listened to her parents bicker. They normally argued in rage at night, but this was different.
"I'm done James," Her mother's voice began, "I can't handle you anymore. Heck, with you, the kids, and a new job it's hard to find time to breathe in between arguments."
"So what do you want to do? Just ignore each other and move on?" Her father inquired.
“James, I want a divorce."
Kristine's heart skipped a beat her eyes could no longer hold back tears.
"Ever since Kristine was born, life has been, well, tough," Marrie continued, "and what you said at dinner hurt me."
"I didn't mean it to be hurtful it was just a joke,"James stated.
"Exactly James, you don't know when to stop!"
"Well, if you feel that way then I agree we should end our marriage. Apparently, you don't know me for who I am," James said with a harsh rasp voice.
"Fine, we will break it to the children tomorrow and call our attorneys."
"I guess I’ll be sleeping in the guest room tonight," James noted.
''That would be a good idea," Marrie ended as she turned to walk up the stairs.
Kristine ran down the hall as quickly as she could and nearly toppled over when she bumped into a familiar face.
"Kristine,"Josh whispered,"What are you doing up?"
They both had the same red eyes from the same painful truth. For a moment the simply gazed into each others eyes and then in one swift motion Kristine flew into his arms and dried away her tears in his dark navy t-shirt.
“Josh, I heard it! Every word and it's all my fault," she cried.
"Shhh, don't think that. Come on, let's go talk in your room."
Josh swept the young frail Kristine off her feet and cradled her in his arms. Then they reached her room Josh closed the door and sat on the bed listening to Kristine's sobs.
"It's my entire fault," She moaned, "didn't you hear Mom say,“Ever since Kristine was born...”
Poor Kristine then broke into a vast series of weeps and closed her eyes as her brother tucked her in bed.
"You listen here Kristine," Josh commanded,''You are not the reason at all! Without you Mom and Dad would have split long ago.
“Not everything is perfect, and sadly, in this case, there is nothing any of us can do. Your life will move on, along with all of ours even though we may live in between Mom's and Dad's homes. You will go on to be that Newbury Medal author, for that story in your
journal, and the rest of us will go about our own business. It is anything but your fault, do you understand?"
Kristine nodded her head in agreement and closed her eyes. Over the last couple of months, she had been in a constant state of fatigue. Her bones ached and her body trembled; she needed more rest. Josh bent down and kissed her damp cheek goodnight.
Kristine tried to let her mind float off to the land of dreams, but she couldn't fall into an easy slumber. She turned her head towards the alarm clock and watched the numbers go by: 1:05, 1:06, 1:07. Finally her eyes became heavy and she fell into a restless sleep.