Later that night, I can't sleep. I lay staring at the ceiling in the dark, tracing patterns in the prickly popcorn texture with my eyes. A lopsided heart ... A sleeping kitten .... A blossoming flower ... When I was little, this used to help put me to sleep, but tonight it just keeps my mind wheeling.
Is Mom really serious about wanting to move? Is she really that willing to leave everything behind and start over?
Well, I guess “everything” isn’t much for Mom. Just this house, the dogs and, well, me. Only the house would be staying behind. But what’s in Connecticut for her – for us?
Family, of course. It would be great to be able to see Andrew more often. And more than once during the two weeks we were visiting Gretchen I thought, “So this is what it’s like to have an older sister.” Not that having Mom isn’t enough, but it was nice to have someone else besides Mom to talk to and get straight answers from.
But other than Gretchen and Andrew, what else? I hope not John Bainbridge. That would just be too much for me to deal with.
Perhaps … hope? A chance at a new beginning? I know Mom needs that. Ever since Billy’s death and the divorce, Mom hasn’t had much to hope for. It must be really lonely for her.
But what about me? I love Fort Myers; I love Florida. I love my friends, and my school, and riding my bike to the beach. Could I really give it all up? Could I ever be that ... brave? Unselfish?
And then, as if sleepwalking, I’m getting up in the dark and feeling my way along my bedroom walls to the door. I'm stepping softly across the hall to Mom’s room. The door creaks as I slip inside.
“Mom?” My voice is swallowed by the still silence.
I hear a faint rustle as Mom moves slightly under the thin sheets. “Hmmm?”
I take a deep breath. In the darkness, something within me sparks. “Let’s do it.”