My promotion and subsequent move to Bridgeport happened quickly. I barely had time to let my family know about it before I was packing up and leaving Twinbrook.
I invited everyone to my small rental house so that I could tell them the news all at once. Mom, Sydney and Ronald came. Dad was still pretty mad at me for moving out without his permission.
“I’m sorry Kindra,” Mom said. “Your dad is stubborn. He’s going to feel really bad when he finds out you’re leaving, though.”
“I doubt it Mom,” I said. “Dad’s probably going to be happy to see me gone.”
Mom looked disappointed in me for saying that. “That’s a terrible thing to say, Kindra. Your dad loves you and will miss you. If he’s have known you were going to be leaving, he would have come.”
I didn’t think she was right, but I didn’t want to argue. I wanted to enjoy this last time with my family.
I felt the worst about saying goodbye to my brother. Ronald was having problems with Dad, too. Dad kept pressuring him to become a farmer, but he wanted to become a professional musician. Caleb Pincher, who had come with Ron and Mom, had already gotten a job as a fan at the theatre and Ron wanted to join him there once he had graduated from high school.
“It’s crazy, Kin, Dad just keeps talking about all the new seedlings he and Syd are growing and how once I join them we can triple the output of the farm.”
I nodded in sympathy. “Sounds like something Dad would say.”
“Syd and Calvin want to have more kids, so Dad says that I’ll take on more responsibilities so that she can focus on being a mom.”
“That’s just silly,” I said. “As if Sydney would give up what she loves just because she’s pregnant or raising kids.”
“I know, right? Sydney loves the farm. She and Calvin both like living with Mom and Dad. Calvin’s always at the fire station, but he likes spending time with Dad when he comes home. They go fishing out back all the time.”
“Hang in there, Ron. When you graduate, you can do what you want.”
“I’m not so sure,” Ron said. “I might have to move in with you or Caleb when it comes time. I think Dad’s not going to understand when I tell him I am going to be a musician.”
I chuckled, imagining the huge fight Ron’s announcement would yield. “If Dad kicks you out, you can always come to Bridgeport and crash on my couch. I might need a roommate helping pay my rent. I heard prices are a lot higher in Bridgeport.”
“I hope you mean that, Kin. I might have to take you up on the offer.”
The night before I my move, I decided to try to patch things up with Dad. It was a spontaneous decision, one that I tried not to think about too hard. I just knew that if I didn’t attempt to say goodbye to my dad, I’d always wonder if things could have been different.
Unfortunately, Dad wasn’t home when I got there. Mom answered the door.
“Kindra! I’m surprised you’re not still packing,” she said as she ushered me inside.
“I’m mostly done, Mom. I wanted to come over and say goodbye before I left. I will be leaving really early and I probably won’t be able to come here tomorrow.”
“Well I’m glad you came over. Your dad isn’t here, but he’ll want to see you before you go. Can you stay?”
I said I could and then I sat down by Melinda who was doing her homework. We hadn’t been that close as sisters, but I didn’t want to leave without at least telling her goodbye, too.
“Hey, Mel. Is that Calculus?”
“Yeah. I have Mr. Crowley. We always have tons of homework.”
“I remember,” I nodded. Crowley had been one of my favorite teachers. “His tests are hard,” I said, “but if you study all of the odd problems on your homework, you should do fine. He likes to put the odd ones on the test.”
“Yeah, I heard that.”
I chatted with Melinda for a while as she finished up her math. She didn’t stick around to give me a sappy hug or anything like that. Instead she just told me to have fun in Bridgeport and then she ran outside to play in the sprinkler a little before going to bed.
Ronald was out there, too, but he wasn’t playing in the water. I’d seen him before I rang the doorbell. I waved to him, but he seemed lost in thought. I felt pretty bad. I was going to miss Ron’s birthday. He had a lot on his mind. I didn’t envy him telling Dad that he was going to be a musician not a farmer. The fight would probably be pretty terrible for Ron who always had a good relationship with Dad.
I don’t know why I expected things to go differently between me and Dad. When he finally got home we immediately started to fight.
“So if it isn’t my ungrateful daughter come home to gloat before moving away from the family that has always supported her,” he started.
“I came to say goodbye, Dad. You didn’t come to my party the other night.”
“Well I’m not going to say goodbye. I don’t approve of you gallivanting off to that high-tech Bridgeport. Next thing you’ll do is move to Sim City which might as well be called ‘Sin City’!”
“I don’t need your approval, Dad. My job is moving me to Bridgeport.”
“And what sort of job are you doing, eh? You aren’t working with anything tangible and real. Ledgers, balances, numbers and money! None of that is real work.”
“Dad! I like what I do. I had hoped that we could at least be civil before I left, but I can see that I shouldn’t have bothered. Don’t worry, though. I won’t be coming back.”
“Good. We don’t need ungrateful girls here.”
“Dad!” Sydney, who was washing dishes was shocked at our dad’s words. Things had always been bad between us, but he had never once acted like he didn’t want me around.
Just then mom came downstairs with my niece, Sylvia. Dad tromped outside onto the patio and I heard the stereo go on. He was probably working out.
“Dad didn’t mean it, Kindra,” Sydney said.
“I think he did, Sydney. He’s never going to approve of what I do.”
“He’s just old fashioned.”
“Don’t worry about your dad,” mom said. She handed me the baby. “I’ll talk some sense into him. He loves you Kindra. He just doesn’t know how to show it.” Mom went out the patio door and the stereo music went off.
I give Sylvia a little tickle. I may not want children of my own, but that didn’t mean that I disliked them. Now that I no longer had to share a room with a toddler, I could appreciate Sydney and Calvin’s daughter for who she was—a sweet little girl who actually favored me in looks.
“We’re all going to miss you, Kindra,” Sydney said to me when we both realized that Mom wasn’t going to be able to convince Dad to come in and apologize to me and give me a proper farewell. I handed her her daughter.
“I’ll miss you, too, Sydney. Don’t let Dad force Ronald to take over the farm, ok?”
“No worries, Kin. They’ll argue a little and Ron will probably move out, but that will be good for him. Dad will understand. He wants us all to be happy.”
I wish I could believe that, but as I walked out of my parents’ house for the last time, I knew that it wasn’t true. Dad didn’t want me to be happy. He didn’t support me in my pursuit of happiness, but I’d find it anyway—working for the BBBC in Bridgeport.
That night, when I went to bed, I felt sick to my stomach. Fear, nerves and excitement whirled in my gut. I wanted to throw up, but I didn’t. I was leaving everything behind me. No more Dad. No more Jack. No more Twinbrook. I knew things would go well in Bridgeport. They had to.