"Autumn, honey, the truck is going to be here in three minutes!" my mom called from the bottom of the staircase.
Moving day. When would this day ever stop recurring? I never thought that any of my eight 'dads' would ever end up becoming permanent, and now my mom was working on number nine. Like any normal teenager, I was beginning to become a bit annoyed. My older brother Lane, my younger sister Lizzie, and I had never really liked any of my mother's husbands...
"Autumn?" her high pitched voice called again.
"Autumn, Autumn, Autumn! Mommy is calling you!" Lizzie's voice rang in my ears and I felt a gentle tug on my arm.
Nodding lifelessly, I looked out the window. I would miss my beach view and the sunny skies, but mainly I would miss the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore and the seagulls overhead squawking loudly. The only good thing about this move was that we were going back to the house that we had lived in when I was a baby. I hoped that my dad- my real dad- would be waiting there for us. When I was four years old, my mom practically kidnapped Lane, Lizzie and me. Her excuse was that my dad was a drunk, a gambler, and a man-whore- but really, that was what her replacement dads were. The memories I had of my dad were all good and of a loving father. Lizzie didn't even ever get to really meet him- she was only about two months old when we moved from our lakeside home in Anderson, South Carolina to the hot town of Statesboro, Georgia. At the moment we were living in the humid town of Miami, Florida. It was almost impossible to think that we would be returning to the country town of Anderson.
Shuddering, I grabbed the last of my boxes and allowed Lizzie to pull me down the stairs and to the front porch where our mom was. She was leaning up against her Ford minivan with her arms crossed. Mom had never been too patient with me, but her anger never really affected me.
"Are you ready?" she asked angrily.
"Yep," I replied giving her a fake smile. I'm so used to it now that it's not even funny. I could do this in my sleep.
"Finally," she mumbled, turning away. Rolling my eyes, I put Lizzie into her car seat that she would no longer need in a month and sat down next to her. We sat quietly while my mother packed away the last two boxes.
"We're moving to your old house- right, Autumn?" Lizzie asked cheerfully.
"It's your old house too- you were just a baby when we left, but you lived there for a while."
"Are you going to get to play with all of your old friends?"
I had almost forgotten about Ali and Alex. They were the twins that were more like friends than siblings. Our teachers used to think we were triplets because we were all so close. I had emailed them both a week ago telling them that I would be moving back, but I hadn't received any notification that they had gotten my email yet.
"Maybe Liz, I'm not too sure yet of anything okay."
"Okie dokie!" She giggled happily, letting her brown curls twirl around her face. Smiling at her, I opened up my purse and pulled out a small Sudoku book. I hated long car trips, and I always tried to distract myself the best I could.
"Autumn?" Lizzie asked again. I looked up at her and saw that she looked sad. Her eyes were beginning to fill with water slowly and I immediately became alarmed.
"What is it?" I gently pressed.
"Will there be a new daddy waiting for us like last time?"
A new daddy? My mother hadn't found one yet, but for my four-year-old sister to ask me something like that... it just hurt. I shouldn't be dealing with this right now- no one should. But this just happens to be my reality…
"No- and none of those men were your fathers, okay? Don't ever let them replace our real dad."
"Okay Autumn, but mommy wants me to call them daddy, and…"
"I don't care what mom says! Understand? They are not your fathers!" I yelled.
Lizzie shut up immediately after those words left me. My mother entered the car shortly after and announced that we were leaving. Lizzie didn't wave goodbye or squeal, 'bye house!' She just sat with a lifeless expression on her face. I felt guilty for saying that to her- a sort of buyers' remorse feeling that crept over every bone in my body. Lizzie was just an emotional person. I wished that I could control her emotions. When Lane had left for college, she had stayed in her room for two days except to use the restroom. My mother and I had had to leave her food outside her door.
Lane and Lizzie had always been really close. When Lane 'came out of the closet,' Lizzie was the only one who immediately accepted him. I came around to the idea shortly after. Sadly, my mother never really accepted it. Maybe that was why Lane never came home for the holidays. Sure, we would get his gifts, but if we wanted to see him, we would have to fly up to Georgia.
Lane and I had been emailing back and forth for two years now. He loved UGA- there was a club downtown just for gay men, and he was finally away from our mother. Life seemed to be perfect for him. If only I could say the same.
"Will Lane be there waiting for us when we get there?" I asked, interrupting the silence.
My mother shrugged and shook her head in a 'no way in hell' motion.
As I watched the passing yards, I thought about my new life. We were starting over again- and I couldn't wait for it to begin.