The Unexpected Journey
I woke to the sunlight shining through the bedroom window. No noisy, annoying alarms to tell me it was time for another day of high school. I fluttered my eyes open as a sinking feeling crept through my mind that this summer wouldn’t be the same as the past.
The doorbell rang in the distance and I decided to lay low and wait to see who it was.
“Good morning,” an elderly woman spoke. It was my Nana Rosemary. Stretching, I sat up to listen in.
“Good morning. Come in, Nathan is just finishing up in the kitchen for breakfast.”
“Sorry for just popping in, we were in the area.”
Mom paused before she spoke. “A visit from you is always welcome, Mom.”
I furrowed my eyebrows. I knew better. They weren’t just here for a visit.
“Actually, there is a reason for the impromptu visit,” Papa spoke this time. They were both here?
Footsteps clicked against the wooden floors toward the living room. “When I called the other day, Nathan was telling me about the struggles he’s having at the construction business.” I imagined my parents looking at each other, and back to Nana and Papa.
“We want to help,” Papa said after a moment.
Mom sighed. “You know we’d accept your help, but I don’t think moving again is an option right now.”
“We know the number of times you’ve had to move is significant, Grace,” Papa said. “If you’ll hear us out, the offer we have in mind might be beneficial for all of you.”
“How?” She asked.
The downhill battle for construction work in Oroville and its surrounding areas was competitive, and in my opinion rather scarce. “Well. We have an extra house, in Sausalito,” Nana said.
“Sausalito sits just outside of San Francisco, on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge,” Papa added.
“This would be an opportunity to be close to a bigger city?” Dad asked.
“Yes, Nathan. This move would bring you to big city living; but rest assured, Sausalito won’t give you that feeling.”
Silence remained in the room before Mom spoke once more. “Okay, but Christopher is in his last year of high school. Shouldn’t we wait?”
“We considered that and saw the summer as an opportunity for the transition. We know it’s not exactly ideal, but three months is plenty of time to readjust your surroundings,” Papa said, and his words were genuine.
“He will miss out on graduating with his friends, but if this is what’s best for the family…”
“We wouldn’t be persistent unless we saw the pros outweighing the cons,” Nana said.
“Where is the house located exactly?” Dad asked.
“It’s located at the Castillo Yacht Club. One of the top elite communities you could live in the Bay Area,” Papa said.
“I brought pictures, Grace,” Nana added.
There was a pause before Mom spoke. “It’s beautiful; but I think one of my concerns is the cost it’s going to take to live there.”
“If you take this offer, we wouldn’t charge you anything to live there, and we would pay for Christopher’s tuition at a prestigious private school,” Papa added.
“We want you guys to focus on getting the construction business back on its feet,” Nana said.
“I agree with your Mother,” Papa said. “You have an opportunity to save the business and, hopefully, pass it onto Chris one day. Plus, we’re getting older, and the winery is getting to be a lot of responsibility.”
“We understand,” Mom said. “I would love to take your offer. I honestly think it’d be for the best.”
“I agree,” Dad said.
This sounded like a done deal to me, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about it.
“Then it’s settled,” Nana said.
For as long as I could remember, my Dad’s parents were the only active grandparents involved in my life. They weren’t just there when it mattered the most, they made weekly visits from Napa; or they would invite us out to the vineyard on the weekends to unwind from a long week of work and school.
I tried to absorb what I’d just overheard. I was unsure of how I should feel; but I had to admit, the amount of effort versus actual work Dad made over the last year put a damper of stress and high-strung emotions between my parents. I overheard many conversations turning into arguments about bills. My parents never fought. If this move stopped that from happening for good, this summer could hold a solid promise for the Montgomery family’s future.
Three weeks later
I found myself packing up the last of my belongings. Soon enough, I would be bidding Oroville goodbye, maybe for good. I can’t say I’d miss it. This place filled my head with memories, struggles of moving from one run down house to the next as my family attempted to keep afloat. Sausalito had possibilities with unknown promises.
Crawling into the back of my closet, I opened the door in the wall that led to a storage crawl space, and spotted the single wooden floorboard, with a nail sitting on top and picked both items up, and stared down at the tally marks carved into the old wooden floorboard. As a kid, I found the loose floorboard in my bedroom at my first home. I would tuck my favorite toys in at night before bed. It happened to be my earliest childhood memory, and I couldn’t let it go, so I used it to keep track of the moves we made.
Picking up the old nail, I used the shadow of light peeking through as I started scratching in the fifth line across the second set of five tally marks. This one making it a total of ten moves. Backing out of the space, back into my room, I slid the floor board into a box full of books, taped it up and stacked it on top of the other boxes that were ready to go. Turning to look around, the rest of my room was bare. Moving day had arrived and I was more than ready to see where this journey would lead me.