“Tag! You’re it!”
“No way man! You didn’t even touch me!”
“Please, I got you by the back of your shirt. Plus, I’ve been it since for - ever!”
“Fiiiiiine, I’ll be it.”
“Kennedy! I need you here for a moment.”
Hearing my name, my head turned sharply to the right and looked in front of me. There was my mom, standing in the doorway with her blue jeans and orange shirt. My breath sharpened and became quick; I wondered what I did wrong. The tone of her voice when calling me was swift and piercing. Nevertheless I quickly ran to my mother’s side, waving at my friends signaling that I was going to be back soon in order to play some more.
Once I was in the door, I followed my mom from the foyer to the living room; where the stairs were located. The sight of black carpet took me in like a hole of complete darkness. I always felt afraid when stepping on the carpet because it looked like it could suck me in at any moment. Because of that fear, I bypassed my mom and trotted quickly to the stairs on the other side of the room. My black shirt floated at the bottom while my light jean shorts stayed tight at my thighs. I hopped onto the first pale purple step and took a glance at my mom. My mom sighed at the feat and I just smiled weakly, shrugging my small shoulders. I crawled up the stairs with my mom in tow, except she walked normally. Once I reached the top of the stairs, I stood there, temporarily towering over my mother, who was still near the bottom. I felt like a king until she reached the top where I was at. Then I took a couple of steps to the left, silently questioning my mom if we were heading to her room or otherwise. She gave me a look that said ‘Duh.’ I made another weak smile and headed down the hall to her room.
Reaching the doorway, I peeked in to the right and saw my dad sitting on the side of the huge king-sized bed that covered most of the room. I slowed my pace and started to make my way through the doorway with my mom in tow. She settled into her favorite pink chair, right next to the doorway. I settled for sitting next to my dad on the bed. So I jumped up, placed my feet on the frame, and climbed up. I took a peek at each of their faces, just to see what was up. I first took a look at my dad. His face was quite solemn and very upset looking. My brows furrowed at his expression and I offered him a small smile but he just glanced away instead. I frowned and glanced at my mom who did the exact same thing. I was about to open my mouth and ask what’s wrong, but my dad suddenly interrupted me.
“Me and your mom are getting a divorce.”
Suddenly, my mom snapped back almost instantaneously “Howard! Let her down easier! She’s only ten!” My dad was about to retaliate, but he stopped himself and looked down at the carpet underneath his feet. My mom cooled herself down and then looked at me, who was shaking. Tears flooded my eyes, my vision became blurred, and my words became non-existent. I started to sob softly, which turned into a full on cry - fest. My throat felt dry and my mouth felt salty. My hands fumbled to my face to quiet my sobs, but my dad suddenly grabbed me and pulled me into a tight hug. The room was filled with silence, except for my muffled sobs against my dad’s chest. I heard a soft ‘Sorry’ from my dad, and a quiet sniff from my mom.
I never knew that one minute and eight words could affect me to the point where it changed my life forever. Just in one moment, everything can change and the worse part is feeling like you can’t do anything about it. I felt helpless and weak, like all I could do was crawl into a hole and die. Actually, that’s what I preferred to do at one point. All it took was a minute out of the millions of minutes that I’ve lived through.
What hit me the hardest was the change involved in all of this. Not only were my parents not together anymore, I had to move out my decent-sized twin house into a small row home. I wasn’t used to the tight, cramped spaces in the bathroom, or random knocking on the walls from crazy, noisy neighbors. It was a big downgrade. Money became tighter and my mom couldn’t continue the luxuries I had when I was smaller. Things became worse when my mom introduced her own spouse, who I didn’t take a liking to. It was just too much change happening at once.
Don’t get me wrong, change can be a good thing. Like changing your normal hairstyle or hanging out with a different social group than you’re used to. But in my case, it was a bad, bad thing. It took it’s toll on me significantly. Soon, more children from each side of my ‘new’ family appeared, craving and receiving more attention than I did. I was so used to being the only child and being the only thing in my parent’s eyes. I began to seep into the hole of depression, feeling like I wasn’t wanted and I was a waste of space. My parents were so into their new, separate lives that I felt neglected. I thought that nothing good could possibly come out of this. At one point, I thought that change couldn’t bring anything good with it.
Despite what I thought, change comes with opportunities. Once I got older, I realized this. I just happened to be coming home from a long day at school. It was in the middle of last year, around the third quarter of my school year. I was on the 4:02 Norristown train on my way up to my dad’s for the weekend. I sat in the two - person seat, alone and staring out the window with my earbuds in my ear, blasting some music. My cheek was rested against my loosely curled fist, with my elbow using the window seal as support. The scene the window was giving me was quite boring. It was just trees, more trees, and even more trees. It was like a family reunion of trees. I started to drift off in thought, completely ignoring my surroundings. I started my thoughts off in what to expect when I arrived at my father’s not-so-humble abode. I thought of my little step-sister, who was ridiculously annoying for being nine. Then my attention settled on the thought of my little half-brother, who only at two was being sassy and acting like a teenager. I smiled weakly at the thought and went onto my step-mom, with her thick Dominican accent, bossing me and my siblings around. I frowned a bit at the one but nevertheless, I was content.
But then my thoughts wandered to my two families as a whole.
Despite what I’ve been through with each side, I felt like I grew to love all of them. In the beginning, it was tough getting used to all the major changes taking place at once. But in the end, I got to learn about another culture with my step-mom, meet new and wonderful people, and learned what it felt like to not be alone.