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My dad used to tell me that, when he looked at the stars long enough, he would better understand himself.
Back then, that was easy to believe. As a child, everything seemed so realistic. Someone could have told me that I’d be given magical powers when I turned ten and I would have believed it. A wide-eyed little kid with exceptionally bright eyes would have stared back at you and breathed, “Woah.”
After you reach a certain age, however, you start to stop putting faith in the chance of magic. The age of that said time varies from person to person, but for me, it happens right about… now.
“We’re what?” I ask, baffled.
My mother taps her fingers on the countertop. She always does that when she’s nervous or doesn’t want to tell me something.
“I know this isn’t what you were expecting, sweetheart, but it’s been a few years now since…” She doesn’t bother to finish her sentence. Never has since the accident. I don’t know why she doesn’t come right out and say it: ‘Since Dad died.’
“And that matters why?” I inquire.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Her fingers are still at it, tapping away at the marbled counter.
“I just need a fresh start,” she bursts.
A fresh start. I… guess that wouldn’t be so bad.
“Wouldn’t moving to another state suggest a lot more to people than ‘fresh start’? Wouldn’t it be more like ‘running away’?” I wonder aloud.
My mother exhales.
“It might be. But what does it matter, as long as we’re taking the same actions either way?”
I can’t help but think that she taught me a lot better than to run away from my problems. Still, my mother’s been broken for a while, and she’s taken care of me anyway. I guess the least I owe her is a bit of leeway.
“Okay,” I say. “Where are we moving?”
“I know. Sorry. It’s just… wow. This is so sudden, you know?”
“Okay then.” I chew my lip. “When are-”
“Geez, what about the house? It’s been on sale for forever. How come it’s finally sold? And what about my schooling?”
“It sold a week ago. I didn’t tell you because I was still making final decisions on where to live. As for your schooling…” my mother sighs and drops her gaze.
It’s then that I realize that she’s exhausted. Cleaning, cooking, putting up with single mom endeavors, and homeschooling me have taken their tolls.
It’s about time I start doing more.
“I’ll do public school,” I say.
And there it is.
The undeniable hope in her eyes.
“Are you sure? I can still try to continue if you really don’t want to go,” she says.
“No, it’s okay. I need to start pulling my own weight around here. Not just for you,” I add when she starts to protest. “I need to do this to get myself out there a bit. I’ve been wanting to find a passion of my own. Maybe this is what I need.” I shrug.
“Amira…” my mother sounds like she’s about to get teary.
“It’s really fine. I love you,” I say, kissing her briefly on the cheek before grabbing a granola bar and heading upstairs to my room.
I close the door softly behind me and flop onto my bed, covering myself with a blanket. My room is small – basically it’s a finished-off, wide attic area with a bed, a desk, and a closet- but cozy nonetheless.
I flip open my laptop and Google ‘New York’.