A Lifes Change

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Hayley parents divorce, can she deal with the pain?

Submitted: November 05, 2011

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Submitted: November 05, 2011

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Haley's tears fell as the words she feared the most rang in her ears. Her parents would finalize their divorce in less than a month. She longed to run to the safety of her room. Still, she sat on the edge of the couch, with her dad one her left and her mum on her right. The scent of cookies, warm from the oven, circled around her nose. A holiday decoration flashed on and off in the picturesque window at the front of their warm, comfortable house.

At least that was how it seemed until that moment. She thought back over the past two months and realized the signs did not seem to fall into place. No loud fights, hushed tears or a sudden vanishing of her dad occurred. What she remembered was the silence, stony looks, grim mouths set in place without any feeling.

Now, she knew why those would be the final memories of the year. She also knew they both loved her, at least that was what they said, right after the big D word. A wave of emotions rocketed through her ten year old body and she practically launched herself from the dimmed room.

Her mum's hand flew out to reach her, to grasp her arm and pull her back. She escaped it, yet not before tears fell from her mum's eyes. Haley heard these and felt glad, although a nagging guilt instantly filled her heart.

During the night, Haley struggled to sleep. She needed sleep, yet it would not come. Throwing back the covers, she sat on the edge of her bed. She leaned on one of the white, solid posts at the corners of the bed. They did not give, and she felt safe. She felt what she wanted to feel with her parents, but knew she would never feel again.

The next morning, she helped her dad carry boxes to his car. She was torn and confused. One minute she cried and the next, she stared without a care. Her mum stayed away until all the boxes filled the tiny car, and the man she promised to love forever, drove away to start a new life.

Haley did not know why they needed a divorce. She only knew she hated it. She also hated the sadness she watched crawl over her mum's face every time her dad called. Her mum would stop what she did, disappear into a nearby room and wait. Haley did the talking and when she hung up the phone, she always reached for the tissues. She slipped them under the door, feeding her bits of comfort.

Time passed this way until the new year began and Haley returned to school. Her friends arrived, chatted about the gifts they received and all the fun they had in the snow. Haley lived a few blocks away and suffered from a

terrible head cold during the final weeks of the holiday vacation. When they asked her how she enjoyed the holiday and what she gifts she received, she told them she got a divorce.

Staring, they asked her what she meant. She repeated it and ran off to get inside the warmth of the school. During the day, they passed notes, begging her to explain. She did by saying she felt like her parents divorce was a divorce for her too. She felt that nothing was the same, nothing was normal and her parents ripped her old life away to create some new life she did not want.

Her friends bought her extra milk, and shared their desserts with her at lunch. Quiet words and sympathetic glances flew all around the group. Maggie, her best friend, offered to let her stay with them for a while. Haley nodded yes and her friends called during a break. Naturally, her parents needed to discuss it.

When she arrived home, she found a note form her mum instructing her to go to Mrs. Martin's house. Haley did not like the woman, and dreaded this request. The woman let her in after she rapped on the door for the third time. Cold, unrelenting wind nipped at her bare fingers, and made her nose ache.

Once inside, she received instructions about not disturbing Mr. Martin as he napped, and enjoyed a cup of warm cocoa. She accepted it with a half smile and started on her homework. That night, Haley's mum explained she needed to return to work so they would have the money to pay bills. Haley would go to Mrs. Martin's everyday until her mum arrived home.

Haley groaned, yet quieted when she spotted a flinch from her mum. They ate in silence that night and for many after too. Their days sneak past without much change. Haley wondered if life could get any worse.

Then it happened, the news that would change even more than the divorce did. Haley's mom found someone new. They dated in secret, her mum being afraid of how she might react. Now, just ten months after the day her dad left forever, they moved, the three of them. They traveled across the country to California.

Haley cried the whole way there, and all during the moving process. She cried all night and most of the next two days. Finally, on the first day at her new school, she met with a counselor, a Mrs. Barrette. They sat in the counselor's newly painted office and pondered the issues girls like Haley faced.

Finally, they talked about the divorce, her feelings, and her new stepfather. She shared her fears, worries and anger. How dare her mom date without telling her? And, how dare she move her across the country to live with some guy who did not even know her favorite color! Tears built inside her until they poured from deep inside her broken heart.

Mrs. Barrette listened, nodded, jotted a few notes and offered her a box of pink tissues. They met everyday during lunch, until the tears slowed. Haley's curiosity with the chess team grew and eventually she joined. Her stepfather learned more about her, and she about him. Her dad called at least two or three times a week, and her mom stayed in the room.

Together, and separated, the four of them grew stronger; her mom, stepfather and Haley herself, as a family, and her dad as a part that would never go away. That year, she learned a lot about life, surfing, chess and change. She learned that some days the tears fell hard and fast, and that other days they did not fall at all. She learned to use her anger in a positive way through martial arts. Most important, she learned to accept the people in her life for who they are, and that life would continue whether she was happy about what happened, mad or sad.

 


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