The smell of frying chicken wafted straight to her nose as she opened the door and entered the little home they had been staying in.
“Smells like someone’s cooking up something yummy,” she declared out loud as she hung her coat on the hook next to the front door. Standing in the living room glancing around she did a quick mental survey to make sure she had packed up everything in here. The only thing remaining was two couches and the TV over the fireplace. Everything else was in boxes and ready to load on the truck in the morning.
Walking back to the kitchen she saw her son and husband both floured up to their elbows.
“Look at my two chefs,” she said, grinning at the two of them. No matter what challenges they faced, her family made life worth living.
“Yep, mommy we’re cooking your favorite tonight. Daddy even let me make the cornbread muffins all by myself.”
“I hope they’re no eggshells in them,” she half teased, swatting her son on the behind.
“I made sure to get all of ‘em out Mommy,” he replied, grinning at her. He was so adorable, she felt her heart lurch in her chest. Their children deserved so much more than she and Charles were capable of giving them at this moment. She suddenly experienced a flash of anger overtake her. She had known it was a bad idea to move here. She had insisted on moving Charles’ father to Reston with them and getting him good care there. But Charles and his brother had insisted their father wanted to pass away at home. While she understood and respected that, it didn’t make it easier to know they had uprooted their whole life and now had to struggle along, while everyone else went on about their lives as normal. This feeling she was experiencing was nothing new. She only needed a moment and she would be alright.
“She’s in her room moping as usual,” Charles said with a loud sigh, turning a piece of chicken over to fry on the other side.
Alicia turned to leave the kitchen in search of her daughter. Knocking gently at the little wooden door with the handmade sign “Keep Out, All Little Boys” hung on its exterior, she felt another flash of sadness overcome her. She recalled a daughter who had been outgoing, loving, and kind before moving to Pristine. This moody, abrasive stranger that had taken her daughter’s place was someone she still had not gotten used to.
“Who is it?” came the little pouty voice.
“It’s mom, honey. Can I come in?”
Alicia turned the doorknob and walked into the bedroom. Her daughter was lying on her back on top of the covers staring at the ceiling. Seeing the tears streaming from her eyes made tears well up in Alicia’s own eyes.
“Come here, honey,” Alicia said, sitting down on the bed next to her daughter. Gathering Chelsea in her arms she didn’t say anything. She just held her close and rocked back and forth with her. Inhaling the warm ginger fragrance her daughter wore made her smile. She recalled when they had first purchased the cologne at the mall last year before the holidays. Those wonderful girls’ days where they had shopping excursions were now over.
The girl’s shoulders shook as she released a year’s worth of disappointments and sadness.
When she finished, Alicia stood and walked over to her dresser and pulled tissue from a box to wipe her baby girl’s face with.
“Baby, life is filled with disappointments and this is just one of many along the way in life that you will encounter. When you stand strong, and take on the challenges, you will find that it will be easier than fighting them. I love you and it breaks my heart to see all that you went through this year. I know it’s been hard moving to Pristine, but we’re gonna make it baby. We just have to stand strong and support daddy on this move. You know this was so important to him,” Alicia explained, murmuring in her daughter’s soft, thick hair.
“But Granddaddy’s gone. Why are we still here?” Chelsea asked between sniffles.
“It’s not that easy to pack up and move a family from one state to another. We moved here and we knew Daddy had a job. We didn’t know if I would be able to find one or not, but God blessed us and I did. Now if we pack up and move back to Reston I have no idea what we would do. We don’t have jobs there and nowhere to go.”
“But we don’t have nowhere to go here either. Besides, can’t you and Daddy go and get your old jobs back? Your boss told us that she would miss you and you always had a place there,” Chelsea reasoned.
“Honey, sometimes adults say things but don’t really mean it. She couldn’t just hold that job for me. It’s been almost a year since we left, and I stay in contact with them from time to time. She’s hired someone for that job.”
“Can’t we stay with Nana or Uncle Dave, or Uncle Mike?” she asked in despair.
“No sweetheart, they have families of their own and Nana doesn’t have a lot of space in her condo for all of us. We’re just going to have to make it past the holidays. Everything will work out after that, I promise it will.”
“Are you sure mommy?” Chelsea asked.
“Yes, I promise honey, it will work out,” Alicia explained. It had to, come hell or high water things had to get better.
I hope you enjoyed this story. Come back tomorrow for more.
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