Annie’s long brown braid fell down her left shoulder as she stared back at the house. She looked to her right at the small car she’d been given. She looked to the door at her mom. She could see the sadness in her mom’s brown eyes. She looked back at the car and sighed. Everything was packed up. There were no more reasons to lag behind. It was done and she was leaving. She was going back to her father’s house.
“I’m all packed up.” She told her mom as her mom finally opened the screen door of the house and walked outside. It wasn’t hard to see the pain in her mom’s eyes. ‘This isn’t right.’ She thought. She loved seeing her dad. She didn’t get much time with him when she wasn’t living with him, but she hated having to leave her mom. Her mom always looked so sad and lonely when she left for the week. She never got out of the house.
“Okay, honey.” Her mom said, that small smile of hers firmly in place. She had that smile there whenever she was trying to hide her real feelings. Annie had seen that expression at the beginning of the last school year. The year before she had begged Annie’s dad to let her stay the year with her. That’s what had happened too. The next thing she knew she wasn’t seeing much of her dad.
“I’m sorry mom.” Annie said, looking down at her feet again. “I’ve got to do this.” She said. “We agreed on this.”
“I know, I know.” Her mom sniffed, looking her up and down. “You don’t have to apologize. I understand.” Her mom promised and Annie nodded. “Just call me later tonight, okay?” She asked, and Annie nodded. Her mom wrapped her arms around her. As they broke apart she held her daughter at arm’s length, looking down at her.
Annie nodded and opened the door to her car. As she sat down she looked back up at her mom and sighed. “Can I have another hug?” She asked and her mom nodded and leaned down to wrap her arms around her once more.
“Do you have everything?” She asked as they broke apart again. Annie nodded. “Do you have your tooth brush, your medication, your--”
“I’ve got it all, mom.” Annie promised and her mom nodded. She put both legs in the car and looked at her mom again through the open door. “Please get oufo the house for once.” Annie pleaded softly. “Don’t stay cooped up all the time.”
“I’ll get out.” Her mom said with a soft smile. “You have a good week, honey.” She said, and Annie nodded.
“I’ll see you Friday, mom.” Annie said, and her mom nodded. “I love you.”
“I love you too, darling.” Her mom said in farewell.
A few seconds later Annie was buckled in and turning the ignition of her car. The radio blared through her open windows as she turned out of the driveway, not daring to look back.
‘I’m ready for this.’ She promised herself. ‘This is going to be a good year.’ Excitement mingled with sorrow inside of her as her foot slammed on the gas and she sped down the country road. She was ready to see her dad and to make the year a good one. All thoughts of what she was leaving as summer ended left her mom as followed the path she knew so well to her part-time home.