Another new town, another new school, and yet another new house.
We turned down a gravel road and I sighed heavily.
"You're going to love it out here; away from the city," my mom said, glancing at me.
"You've said that the past six houses, Mom. And every one of them you've been wrong." I glared out the window.
"You know," Mom said as she elbowed me in the arm playfully, "That your father and I met here. Just over there – on that bridge."
"Then he died."
"Kara! He saved our lives!"
We turned slightly and in the distance there was a two-story house. The yard was overgrown and the house had ivy climbing up the sides. As we got closer I could tell that it needed a new coat of paint.
"What a charming place," I said sarcastically.
"Isn't it though?" She didn't seem to catch my sarcasm. "It's such a wonderful place!" I rolled my eyes and sighed deeply.
"Stupid rain." I glowered out at the grey overcast sky. "You just had to come tonight?!"
"Kara? Would you come here, please?" came Mom's voice from the living room.
"Sure…" I walked through the Family hallway. The one thing all of the houses had in common was the Family hallway. There were pictures from before I was born.
"Sit down, Honey." She was sitting on a small square pillow with junk food surrounding her and the TV was on. "Remember when we used to veg out and watch old movies? Sometimes you would ask about your father and I would tell stories about how we got together."
"Yeah," I said. "Tell me stories now. It's too wet outside to do anything else."
"Alright." She turned off the television and faced me.
"I was your age when," my mother began, "I moved to a house – not unlike this one – and was not happy about it. It was cold and wet and not at all what I was used to.
"But soon I made friends and was considered 'popular' among my peers. But one in particular stood out – your father.
"He had dark curly hair and always sported an old, threadbare, brown jacket. He wasn't considered popular, but he was kind even to the meanest of people. I would look at him when he wasn't looking and I could feel his eyes on me when I wasn't.
"One day I told my folks that I would be going for a walk. I walked to the bridge where I could watch the waves roll on to shore without telephone wires in the way. And there he was; just sitting.
"His legs were over the side, just dangling there. I plucked up my courage enough to go and say 'hi'. Walking nervously to your dad I almost backed out of it completely. But in spite of the fear, I went and talked to him for the very first time.
"After, when it was time for us both to leave, he asked me if I wanted to see the play Romeo and Juliet, and I said yes."
I smiled at Mom while she remembered Dad. Her face was dreamy and longing. "How did he die?"
Her face immediately darkened. "There was an accident. One night, when I was seven months pregnant with you, your father and I were on a walk. It was an icy stretch of road that night when a driver lost control of his car.
"Rick saw the car before it would've hit me and pushed me out of the way. He died later that night in intensive care." She took a shaky breath and shook her head to clear it. "He was a great man, Kara. I wish you could've known him."
I reached over and grabbed Mom's hand. "I love you, Mom. Dad would be proud to see how well you've raised me."
She smiled back. "I love you too, Sweetheart."