“Louis Dumont, please come immediately to the lobby.” That was the sentence that woke me up at six the next morning. Nora just snorted and shuffled in her bed above me before returning to sleep. Nora has always been a heavy sleeper. I stretched and groggily got out of bed, not wanting to miss seeing Louis go home, or wherever he was going.
As I got to the lobby I smiled and saw Mr. Dumont waiting for Louis excitedly. He was pacing the floor but stopped when he saw me. “Sam? Is that you?” He asked, coming closer. “I just came to see Louis off.” I laughed as he gave me a hug. I had always liked Mr. Dumont; he seemed to always be around when I went to Louis house.
Louis appeared at the other end of the lobby and his face lit up when he saw his Dad. “Dad,” He shouted as he ran into Mr. Dumont’s open arms. “Where’s Mom?” Louis asked, and my heart dropped. I didn’t want to know the answer to that question. “She’s waiting for us at the airport.” Mr. Dumont replied with a smile. I think I smiled bigger than Louis. She was alive!
Relieved, I was less reluctant to let Louis go. 1/3 because I had Nora, 1/3 because he was going happily with his parents, and 1/3 because the last thing he said to me was “E-mail me when you’re home.” That didn’t make me mad but it made me want to be alone. The more I thought about that sentence the more anxious I got.
I’m not going home, I’m going to Ireland. I thought. And if I was going to Ireland, did that mean…
“Nora, wake up!” I shrieked ass I entered the room, slamming the door behind me. “WHAT?” Nora yelled back, chucking her pillow at me. “If we go to Ireland does that mean that- that Mum and Dad and Brianne and Tammy are all…?” My loud voice trailed off and I stared at her, feeling my eyes welling up.
“No, of course it doesn’t. They just want us with family until they find the rest of us.” Nora tried to reassure me, but I wasn’t convinced. She must have seen it because she got out of bed and put her hands on my shoulders. “Look at me,” She said calmly, so I looked up. “I know they’re alright, besides if you survived all of that, how could they not be okay? I’ll bet they’re looking for us right now.”
“But what about the mudslide, I saw it destroy our neighborhood Nora!” I voiced. In answer she just hugged me again, which didn’t make me feel any better.
“Nora and Samuel Casey to the lobby please,” The intercom buzzed and we nervously made our way down. Mr. Alan was there with a big smile plastered on his face. He handed us two tickets to Ireland. We didn’t get a call however, just a guarantee that my Aunt would be there to pick us up. I wondered why she didn’t want to talk to us.
I took a shower and waited in the lobby until Nora was done prepping herself. I didn’t know how she could take so long considering that she had no makeup and we were going on a 10 hour flight anyways. I gulped as we shuffled into our seats. The flight was pretty empty so I and Nora had a whole row to ourselves. Flying didn’t make me nervous, what made me nervous was getting to Ireland.
Going to Ireland to me was like saying goodbye to everything and everyone I used to know, including my family. And I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them. I didn’t sleep on the flight at all. How could I? I was too busy nervously twiddling my fingers and thinking about what I was supposed to talk about with my cousins. We had fun together when we were little, but I had the feeling ‘fun’ wouldn’t be on my to-do list.
We landed in the Dublin airport at eight in the morning. I felt like I had pulled an all-nighter so I was glad to skip baggage. Nora spotted Aunt Judy and Uncle Sean in the crowd of waiting people. We ran up to them and gave them hugs. “I’m sure you want to see your Dad now, so let’s get going. We don’t live too far away.” Aunt Judy said. My heart dropped. She kept rambling on but I stopped her. “What do you mean- where’s our Dad?” I sputtered. “Well, he’s at our house I- I thought you knew that.” Aunt Judy looked confused.
I glanced at Nora, whose mouth was gaping open and she looked as if she would start crying. As we drove to my Aunt’s house, I took in the scenery. It was true. Ireland really was green. We pulled up at her house and as I stretched out of the car, I could smell the sea. If I was focusing, I would have been in awe of this places beauty. But my main priority was my Dad. “He was at your house and his leg got crushed when the mudslide hit,” My Aunt explained as we made our way inside.
“The paramedics found his a few days later and they found his ID and had he shipped to his nearest relatives. We thought they had told you.” She continued and I shook my head. Nora had been silent the whole time but I didn’t pay attention. Uncle Sean unlocked the door and let us in first. I spotted the back of Dad’s head in the living room. I ran to him and stopped to inspect him before I hugged him. He had a cast on his leg, but other than that he looked fine.
“Dad,” I said quietly and Nora appeared behind me. I knelt beside him as he opened his eyes. “Sam, Nora you’re here!” He said, jolting up. “I’m so glad you’re alive.” He whispered as he squeezed us. “Hey guys.” A familiar voice said behind me. I looked back to see Tammy standing in the doorway. “Tammy!” I had never been so happily surprised in my life.
Aunt Judy was standing behind her smiling and I knew she didn’t tell us on purpose. Unfortunately, that was the last of the happy surprises. My Mom had gone shopping, and we could only assume Brianne was at her college when everything happened. No one had heard of either of them since.
The next two month consisted of me lying in bed or staring out the window, wondering if my Mother and sister were dead or alive. That’s when I discovered that not knowing was always worse. No one stopped me moping around, because I really had every reason to. Dad was the most active; he went out and got us signed up for permanent residency for Ireland. Nora slept the day away, and the person I saw the most of was Tammy. We sat in silence watching the T.V. and sometimes I would catch her sneaking out to the beach.
One day I decided to get out of my pajamas and into real clothes. I luckily had a cousin, Jake, who was the same age and size as me. My Aunt noticed my progression and took advantage of it. “Why don’t you go down to the shop and get some milk?” She asked. I mumbled something and she said, “Oh come on it will be good for you to get out, and you can get yourself some sweets too.” She prompted. I reluctantly got up and took the money, forgetting to thank her. It was a cloudless and hot day, and the scenery was quite amazing. But I felt the obligation to drag my feet along anyways. The corner store was literally two minutes away.
I grabbed the milk and searched the candy aisle for something good when I heard her voice. She was talking about getting chocolate. I looked around for the origin of her voice. Could she really be living this close the whole time? “Alice?” I called out shamelessly. Her talking stopped. “Sam?” She called back in a confused voice. I ran into the next aisle and saw her. She saw me at the same time. She dropped her basket and ran up to me, jumping on me excitedly.
Her Mom cleared her throat behind us and Ali let go. “Mum, this is Sam. The boy that saved my life,” Ali explained, and I smiled at her. Ali’s Mom had dark hair just like Ali, but her eyes were brown. I wondered if Ali’s Dad had blue eyes. Ali’s Mother pulled me in and gave me a hug. “Thank you.” She said quietly.
“How long are you staying here?” Ali asked. “I think I’m here- forever.” I laughed. Ali’s eyes got really wide. “Do you promise?” She asked breathlessly. I grinned,
I have been in Ireland for a year now. We got a citizenship and I like it here, and not just because of Ali. There is still no sign of my sister or Mother. My Dad tells me to never give up hope but I think I gave up about six months in. I watched the news every day as they covered it, and the last time the valley was on the news was six months ago. They showed pictures of it, all dried out. It was barely recognisable. Nora snapped at me to turn it off. Some days I can’t go to school. Some days it hurts so much and I feel so empty that I have to stay in bed. But I’m slowly recovering, and so is everyone else. Ali only lives five minutes away and she comes over every day. We go to the same school and she walks with me everywhere I go, talking about nonsense. She comforts me even though I’m not great at comforting her. Her Dad is still ‘missing’ too. If all else fails I know I have Ali, and she has me. We don’t need promises to believe that.
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