Contemporary Drama Kids

This story starts with the stars. 

The stars that have been in the sky for billions of years, and may be in the sky for another billion. The stars that light up the night sky. 

Valerie was sitting on the stoop of her house. It was just another suburban house, but for Valerie, this was not just a house. It was home

Valerie was looking up at the stars. They were the one thing that could comfort her right now. The stars would not change, whether she was looking at them from North Dakota or Nebraska, whether she was with her mother or her father. 

“Valerie, come inside. You need to finish packing up your bag,” a woman called from inside the house. 

“Coming, Mom,” Valerie replied. She took a last wistful glance at the stars, then turned away. 

“Remember to bring some things to do. It’s almost an eight-hour drive tomorrow,” Valerie’s mother said. “Once you’ve got your bag mostly packed, you can take a shower. Or you can wait until tomorrow.” 

Valerie’s mother, Ms. Caye, was nervous. Ms. Caye had never lived in Nebraska or lived without her husband. 

Valerie was not nervous, but sad. She would be leaving North Dakota, her father, and her friends. 

So she told her mother she would shower in the morning, went to her room, and pulled a book off of the bookshelf. She looked at the title. Perfect. It had a sad chapter. She flipped to that chapter and cried. She cried, and pretended that the story was what she was crying about. 

Valerie woke up to a beeping alarm clock. She wished that she didn’t have to wake up. Valerie did not normally have anything against waking up, but today she felt that if she woke up it would all become real. If she stayed in bed, maybe she wouldn’t have to go to Nebraska. 

Of course, Valerie could not stay in bed. Her mother would wake her up sooner or later. So she just got up herself. 

On that morning, Valerie ate breakfast on paper plates with plastic silverware. She got ready for the day and took a shower. She checked the house for anything she had left behind. She piled into the car, knowing that she was leaving her home behind. 

Valerie wondered again why she was moving. She wanted to take it back, but the decision had been made. She had chosen to live with her mother, and either way, she would have to leave. Her father was moving too. 

It still hurt. 

Her mother pulled out of the driveway. 

“Bye,” Valerie told the house. She could not bear to say goodbye to the house, because it wasn’t a goodbye. It was a sad farewell. 

The drive to Nebraska was quiet. Valerie read. She watched a movie. She stared out the window.

By the time they reached Nebraska, it was late afternoon. Valerie’s mother pulled up in front of a narrow two-story house. Valerie thought it was kind of decrepit. She was not excited to move in. 

But, the inside of the house was cozy. Even Valerie had to admit that. 

“Honey, are you hungry?” Her mom’s voice rang out from the other room. 

“Yeah, a bit,” Valerie said as she wandered into the living room. “Can we check out the house before we go get something to eat, though?” 


Valerie roamed around the house. Her dislike faded with every room she explored. It was hard to not like this house. It was a house she could see becoming her home. 

Except, she reminded herself, it was not home. Home was in North Dakota. 

Valerie was heading downstairs when the doorbell rang. 

“I’ll get it,” she told her mother. Valerie’s footsteps echoed through the house as she ran to the door. She flung it open to find an Asian American girl with black hair. The girl was wearing an oversized black shirt with hot pink leggings and high-tops. On her hands were oven mitts and in the oven mitts was a casserole.

“Oh, hello!” Valerie said.

“Hi, I’m Kasey Jin-Ae. I live next door, and my mom wanted me to bring over this casserole. She does this for all the new neighbors. It’s like her way of saying welcome to the neighborhood,” the girl said.

“Thanks, come on in. I’m Valerie Caye.” Valerie led Kasey in through the door and took the casserole. Valerie looked around for a place to put it and decided on the counter. “So your mother cooks?”

“Yeah, it’s kind of her hobby,” Kasey said, taking off the oven mitts. “But her real job is a teacher. My dad works at the Walmart in town.” 

“My parents just got divorced. Mom’s been hunting for a job,” Valerie said. She didn’t mind opening up to Kasey. Valerie missed her North Dakota friends, so it was nice to have someone to talk to. “We moved from North Dakota.” 

“I’ll probably go home now. It was nice meeting you,” Kasey said, sounding sincere. 

“Okay. Thanks again for the casserole.” Valerie said. She walked Kasey outside.

“What’s this?” asked Valerie’s mother once Valerie had come back in the house. 

“A casserole that one of our neighbors brought over. She said her name was Kasey Jin-Ae.”

“That’s nice,” said Valerie’s mother. “Let’s eat!” 

Valerie and her mother ate the casserole for dinner on paper plates, as they had done that morning. They both enjoyed the casserole. 

After dinner, Valerie went upstairs. She got ready for bed and peered into the two upstairs rooms. Eventually, she decided she preferred the smaller one. It had a window seat that she liked too much to pass up. Valerie asked her mom for that room, and once she got approval, she went in with her sleeping bag. 

Valerie curled up in the window seat. She read for a while, shifting positions every so often until finally, she felt ready to go to sleep. 

This story ends with the stars. 

The stars that have been in the sky for billions of years, and may be in the sky for another billion. The stars that light up the night sky. 

Valerie was comfortably lying in the window seat. She had tucked away her book and was staring out at the stars. The stars had not changed since she had moved. They had stayed the same, even though nothing else had. 

In the darkness of the night, Valerie let herself admit that this change was one she liked. Although she missed her friends in North Dakota, she could make new ones. Maybe she could talk to Kasey the next day. And the new house … well, she really liked it. 

The stars didn’t need to comfort her anymore. But Valerie still gazed out the window. A shooting star crossed the sky.

Valerie didn’t make a wish. Instead, she shut her eyes and fell asleep, perfectly at peace. 

May 01, 2020 23:25

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