I sat hunched over in the backseat of the car. I watched as my parents packed the last of the boxes into the trunk. They sat in their seats and started the car, and started driving. I turned around in my seat, watching the last of my childhood home disappear around the corner. I could feel the tears starting to come. I couldn’t bear watching the houses that I had always known disappear into nothing. Turning back around, I squeezed my eyes shut and turned around. I shoved my earplugs into my ear, playing the music at full blast.
The music consumed me, taking me into a far off-world. The metal planets all clanked against each other to create the tunes. An astronaut on the moon. Sometimes, I wish I could just float off into space and forget about everything.
Along the road I fell asleep, I’m glad too. I’d rather explore the town on my own than be forced into a car and to see it from a window. I’d probably know the town like the back of my hand. Anything to escape my new house.
The house itself is very nice and very old. The house isn’t the problem I have with us moving, it’s that I had to leave everything. My friends, my family, my school, even my football team. I was never good at it, I was always teased for being the smallest guy on the team. I didn’t care, I enjoyed it. I would have to start a new school and find new friends, that was the hardest part. Soon my mom was shaking me awake saying we had made it to the new house. It was an odd baby blue color. A few shingles were missing on the roof, the windows were full of grime and dust. The lawn was dead and dry. There was an unwelcome feeling surrounding the house.
“Do you want to go see your room, Rowan?” Mom asked, grabbing a box as dad started to unlock the door. At least I’ll be able to map out where my posters will go, I thought, shrugging my shoulders. Mom handed me a box and led me inside. This would be my first time ever seeing the inside of the house, I had never actually been here before. It was only my parents who first visited the house, I didn’t want to come.
Everything felt damp and musty in the house. The floorboards were coming up in some places and the paint was peeling off the walls, revealing graying walls. It smelled a lot like mildew. A gentle dripping sound came from one of the rooms, a leak. Why did they decide to buy this house if it is falling apart? I wondered, looking at all the imperfections everywhere. This must mean my room was a total wreck!
I climbed the rickety staircase, its banister shaking with every step I took. There were four rooms, three to the left and one to the right. They all looked about as stable as a feather in the sand. I took the only room on the right, the one facing the road.
Opening the door to my new room I saw a great brown stain on the wall above the dresser. There was mold growing on the floor, the curtains on the window were torn and graying. I wrinkled my nose in disgust, this was not a room, this was a molding box.
“Hey sweetie, what do you think of your room?” Mom asked, watching me as I came back downstairs.
“I think it’s terrible, there’s mold everywhere and it’s all broken. Why did we have to move here? This place is a dump,” I complained
“You know why Rowan, your dad found a job here, and to save money, we got this house,” she explained for the hundredth time. No matter how many times she said it though, I wouldn’t like it. “Hey, I know this isn’t the ideal house yet, but with a little fixing up, it will look great,” Mom said, setting her hand gently on my shoulder. “I know you miss your friends and your schools, but you’ll be starting school next week and you’ll have so many new friends,” “I know, it’s not the easiest thing,” I sighed, knowing there was truth in her words.
“Don’t worry, if you’re kind and friendly, you’ll be swarmed with friends in no time,” she said, smiling encouragingly. “Yeah I guess you’re right,” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Now, help get the rest of the boxes out of the car, the moving truck won’t be here until later in the afternoon,” Mom instructed.
For the rest of the day, I helped unload the boxes from the car. I placed them in various places depending on what the label said. It was boring, I just wanted to set up my new room, get back to a little normality. Most of my stuff was in the moving truck. That means I’d have to wait even longer.
At least unloading the car gave me a chance to explore the house in more depth. I went to the pantry and found a dead possum. I dropped the box and went running outside. I hate rodents, dead or alive. I wouldn’t put a foot inside the house until it was gone. This isn’t very ‘manly’ of me, being scared of something dead, but it had worms. The worms were making it breathe. It made me shudder.
The bathroom looked like a pudding explosion… just not pudding. There was dirt all over the grout, a strange liquid all over the floor and shower. The mirror was cracked and filled with grime. It smelled like the porta-potty at a carnival.
After several hours of lifting and running, the boxes were all in the house and partially unloaded. We didn’t want to get everything out because everything was so dirty. I waited desperately on the front steps for the moving truck to arrive.
“Rowan, it’s time to come inside, we got a call from the truck saying they won’t be here until early tomorrow,” Dad called.
“Alright,” I sighed, stretching after sitting for so long.
“We’ve just ordered a pizza, the table isn’t that bad and we’ll set a cloth over it,” Dad informed me. I nodded, excited for the pizza, worried about the rickety chairs. The table was in good shape, but the chairs were broken and splintered.
I helped set the table, we had our own plates and utensils. Our table cloth helped cover most of the dirt and dust. It was very strange, no familiar smells were coming from the kitchen, no sound of pots and pans in the kitchen. There was silence throughout the house. Everything made me feel homesick. I wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep in my own room. There was a knock on the door, I shook myself, bringing myself to the glooming dark dining room.
“Get the door please!” Mom called from the kitchen, dad was busy fixing one of the chairs so we didn’t fall over as we ate. I maneuvered through the tower of boxes to get to the door. I opened the door, expecting to see the pizza deliverer, but instead, it was a girl. She stood at the top step, bouncing from heel to heel. The girl looked around my age, fifteen.
Her eyes were framed beneath silver glasses, her eyes gleamed with anticipation. I had never seen her before, but again I had never lived here before.
“Uhm hi?” I said uncertainly, not wanting to sound rude.
“Hey! I brought you some homemade cookies, I noticed you had just moved into the Baggins house,” she said, holding up a tray of very round and flat cookies.
“Oh thanks, that’s really nice of you,” I thanked, relieved that there were kids in this neighborhood.
“I’ve always wanted to see the inside of the house,” the girl said, more to herself than to me. Before I could reply I heard my name being called from the kitchen.
“Rowan, do you need money for the pizza?” Mom called from the kitchen.
“Hang on, I’ll be right back,” I said quickly, leaving the door open so I didn’t seem rude. I walked quickly into the kitchen, I didn’t want the cookies getting cold, or the girl waiting too long.
“Here’s the money for the pizza, make sure to give them the tip,” Mom said, handing me the money. “Actually it’s not the pizza, it’s one of our new neighbors, she brought us cookies,” I explained.
“Oh how nice, alright go grab the cookies and don’t keep her waiting,” Mom said. Nodding, I went back to the open door. I found no one there, the tray of cookies and the girl were gone.
I looked outside the door, into the bushes down the street. She wasn’t there, maybe she just got impatient and left. Disappointed, I closed the door. I was looking forward to some cookies. Turning away I heard a sudden crash from upstairs. I groaned, it must’ve been a box falling. Sighing, I went upstairs to check on the noise. When I entered my room, I saw my box of books spread across the floor. And there was the girl from outside, she was bending over, examining each one and putting them back in the box. She had placed the cookies on top of another box.
“What are you doing?” I asked, surprised to see her there. She jumped about a mile, she hadn’t noticed me.
“O-oh u-uh I’m sorry I was really curious and wandered here and knocked t-the box over,” she said, standing up, trying to stuff the books quickly back into the box.
“I- oh um alright, I mean if you wanted to see the house, you could’ve just asked, though it’s not much,” I said, still getting over the shock of finding someone in my room.
“I’m Sam by the way,” she said, sticking out her hand for a handshake. I took it.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Rowan,” I introduced myself.
“Ah, very fitting, goes with your hair,” Same said, nodding towards my fiery hair.
“Heh thanks,” I laughed, everyone I had ever met always commented on my hair.
“Oh Rowan, who’s this?” Mom asked, she must’ve come upstairs to see what I was doing.
“This is Sam, our new neighbor, I was just showing her the house,” I explained, leaving out the fact she had invited herself in. “Very nice to meet you, good to know we have friendly neighbors,” Mom greeted, giving Sam a warm smile.
“Nice to meet you Ms-?” Sam ventured.
“Mrs. Guile,” Mom filled in, “well I have to get back downstairs, you’re welcome to stay for dinner, Sam,”
“Thank you Mrs. Guile!,” Sam said, watching my mom leave. She then bent down and continued to restack the books into the box. I helped, and soon we had finished.
“Thanks for your help,” I said appreciatively.
“No problem, also I found your bible, I have one like it too, you’ve kept yours very neat,” Sam commented, staring around the room, taking it all in.
“Oh yeah, it was my grandpa’s,” I replied, my mind misting into the lonely lanes of being homesick. My grandpa and I would always go fishing on Sundays, he taught me all he knew. Now that tradition is gone unless I’m able to find a lake around here.
“Why did you decide to move here?” Sam asked, her face landing on mine.
“My dad got a new job here and this was an affordable place, so they got it. I never wanted to come, I just wanted to stay,” I said, putting unnecessary force into the last words.
“Well, maybe this was a sign, a sign that God is opening a new chapter for you, right?” Sam stated, as though it was obvious. I studied her for a moment, she was very different from the girls in my school. All they cared about was their social status and who was prettier and who had the hottest boyfriend. Sam would have been an outcast in my old school. She was wearing an odd assortment of clothes. Despite the Summer heat, she was wearing an orange wool sweater with sparkling jeans. Her hair was golden-brown and flowing over her shoulders.
“I mean yeah, but why did I need to leave everything behind?” I questioned, knowing there was no right answer for this.
“You haven’t left everything behind, God has given you your family, your stuff, you can still contact your old friends,” Sam said quietly, there was sadness in her misty eyes. Her words hit me like an electric shock. She was right, I had been so selfish and ungrateful. God had given me so much and I was complaining about it. Not everyone was given this chance, and I was overlooking the miracle in front of me.
“Sam, you’re right, I’ve been such an ungrateful jerk. Thank you for showing me the truth. What about you, are you alright?” I asked, seeing tears starting to brim in her eyes.
“Oh, it’s fine, it’s just, well,” Sam took a deep breath, “I lost my parents a few years ago, I’ve been living with my grandparents ever since. They aren’t very happy with me living with them. They think I’m a reminder of their daughter. It was really rough until I found the Crystal View Christian Church. They were so welcoming, I felt loved and wanted. I’ve been able to get my grandma to come, my grandpa refuses to come,”
I was silent, all of this hardship and she still managed to see the better side of everything and be positive. Certainly, if she could go through so much and come back even stronger, so could I. That’s exactly what I’ll do, this move will be a new chapter, a fresh start.
“Wow Sam, I’m so sorry that is a terrible ordeal to go through, is there anything I can do to help?” I offered, wanting to repay her for all she had helped me with.
“There is one thing…” Sam said, thinking, “can you start coming to Crystal View Christian Church on Sundays?” “Oh, uh yeah I’m sure we’ll be able to, I’ll let my parents know about it, I’ll pester them till they say yes,” I joked, hoping to lighten the mood, and it worked, Sam laughed, which turned into a snort. Soon we were laughing until our sides hurt. I found a new friend, and my mom was right, it was easy. Things would have their way to unravel, God would be at the wheel. I would have Sam by my side and my family.
“Pizza’s here!” Dad called from downstairs. Sam and I looked at one another and nodded, it was time for food. She grabbed the tray of cookies and we ran downstairs. We sat at the table, serving ourselves with a steaming hot of pizza.
Dinner was full of laughter and joy. Sam told so many jokes, told us all about our funny neighbors. Everyone had a good time. This is where my home is, just like it was before, just different. Full of laughter and love. Sam is a true miracle sent to us, I wouldn’t be settling in at all. I even had someone to experience adventures with. Now, I am really excited about this new chapter.