I strode confidently down the hallway. I was so comfortable in that school, which is a little unnerving considering the people that were there. Toby was being quiet that day, but I didn’t notice at first because I was particularly hyper that day. I went on and on about pointless things and he just nodded, but it was obvious that he was distracted.
At the end of the day, we were standing outside when Toby said, “I need to tell you something.”
“What is it?”
“A woman wants to properly adopt me. Her name is Kelly and she was never able to have kids. She runs a farm as well, and she thinks I’ll be a big help.” He said quickly and quietly. “That’s great!” I grinned. I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t finished. “What is it? Do you have to move schools?” I asked. “No, I have to move cities.” He said, looking at his shoes.
“Fresno County, It’s still in California but…” He started. “It’s on the opposite side.” I finished. “She’s giving me a choice. I don’t have to go.” Toby reassured. Oh thank goodness. I thought. He can’t move away.
“Do you like her?” I asked. He nodded. NO, Abbey don’t say it! Keep him here. “I think you should go with her, she obviously really likes you.” I said. Toby instantly looked up. He smiled widely. He gave me a big hug and pulled away when we heard a car horn. “That’s her.” He said. I patted his back and he said, “It’s only really a two hour drive. We can visit on weekends and holidays.” I nodded stiffly.
I watched silently as Toby ran over to Kelly. She had the biggest smile on her face, and thy talked for a moment before Kelly squealed and hugged Toby tightly. I quivered. It felt like I had just lost one of my crutches. I knew that my Dad would never have time to drive me to go and visit Toby. So I could only hope that Kelly was generous enough with her time to drive Toby down to my place once in a while.
I didn’t take the bus home, instead I walked home. I let my feet get wet in the sea as I walked slowly home. It took me about an hour and a half, but I didn’t care. I opened the door to the flat, and instantly wished I had taken longer. I could hear my Dad and brother fighting in the kitchen. I started tip-toeing through the living room and into my bedroom when I suddenly stopped. “I’m eighteen tomorrow, and I’ll do what I want!” I heard Evan say.
“So you’re going back to London and leaving your sister and me here!?” My dad shouted, and my heart dropped. I ran into the kitchen. “There you are! Care to tell Abbey what’s happening here, Evan?” My Dad snapped. I looked at Evan. “I’m moving back to England.” Evan said. My jaw dropped. “But, you can’t leave me here!” I exclaimed. “Abbey you only have two and a half years and then you can go back too.” Evan tried saying, but I wasn’t hearing it. “Why would you do this to me?” I shouted at him. Evan frowned. “I want to live my life and the fact that you can’t be alone isn’t going to change that!”
He then stormed off and let the door slam as he left. I was going to do my usual thing, run into my room and cry into my pillow, but this time I did something a bit more helpful. I ran after him. My heart pounded as I chased him down the road. I finally caught up and wheezed before saying, “I’m sorry. You should go back, and maybe I’ll see you there in a couple of years.” I said. He rustled my hair. “Yeah, maybe you will.” He smiled brightly.
“Besides, there is always the phone.” I said. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder. The very next week Evan moved out. Dad begrudgingly helped him put his suitcases onto the platform and I stood there, tapping my feet, and wanting desperately for him to change his mind. It hadn’t clicked for me that after Evan left, me and my Dad would have to talk to each other.
“I’ll call you as soon as I get to Nan’s house, alright?” He said to me. I fake smiled. “Okay, I’ll be waiting.” Dad and Evan shared an awkward hug. “Talk to you soon, Dad. Take care of her.” Evan said, nodding in my direction. “I always have.” My Dad replied. Evan made the face that meant, No you haven’t. Dad didn’t pick up on it though. I’m glad, because if he had there would have been yet another embarrassing argument.
Since we moved to California, I noticed Dad and Evan drifting apart, and I can’t help feeling a little responsible. I was, after all, the basis for all of their quarrels. When I looked at the two of them talking, they seemed like distant relatives, or acquaintances, not Father and son. They shook hands, and Evan turned back to me. He gave a real hug.
The thing about me and Evan is that we aren’t mean to each other. I’ll never say a bad thing about him and he would do anything for me. Evan is the best brother I could ever have hoped for, so I don’t feel great about being the kind of Sister I‘ve always been. For some crazy reason, he thinks the world of me. That’s always going to be a mystery though.
It dawned on me right after Evan finally went through security. As I watched him getting further and further away, I knew that I had just lost my other crutch. And that could only mean one thing,
I was about to fall flat on my face.
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