If you think about everything you own it doesn't feel like that much, does it? Unless you're going through all of it you don't realize how much you have. That's what I've been doing for the past month in preperation for my dad and I to move across the country. It feels like it's the only thing I've been doing except for going to school. Every day I get home from school, get homework done, eat, and then just pack and pack and pack until my dad reminds me that sleep is a thing people need, and that I am indeed a person.
I'm not sure I'd say I'm excited to move, but I'm not exactly dreading it either. My life here in San Francisco is nice, and I have some good friends here, but I'm ready to start over. The past school year was kind of rough. Junior year is often called the hardest year of high school, but I think that it's fair to say that mine was worse than usual. At the beginning of the year, my parents got divorced. It's been a long time coming, and it wasn't messy. My parents' marriage was a green card marriage. My mom is from Canada and her work visa was going to expire so they got married. They thought they fell in love and along the way they had me.
A couple years later, my dad realized that he was gay. He of course still loves my mom, and they decided to stay together for my sake. Then last year, my dad told me that he had reconnected with a friend from college, Sam, and that they had fallen in love. My parents decided to get divorced so that my dad and Sam could be together. The thing about that is Sam lives in a small town: Elry, Vermont.
When my dad came out publicly, there was some backlash from kids at school. Yes, San Francisco is pretty much considered the gayest city on the west coast, but teenagers are cruel wherever you go. My friends were cool about it for the most part, but the people I wasn't close with were relentless. They not only targeted me, but my family too.
The day that my parents told me that they were officially getting divorced, my dad gave me the offer of moving to Vermont with him and in with Sam when the school year was over. I love my mom, and we get along fantastically, but I need to see more of the world. I need to know what it's like somewhere other than San Francisco. The whole "leaving people who treated me badly behind" thing is just a great bonus.
So, for the past month, my dad and I have been packing. Some of it is calming because I'm getting rid of a lot of things I never really needed, but it is a pain in the neck. We're all done thought because tomorrow is the day we get on a plane and leave for good. We've sent some of our things ahead of us, and Sam apparently has a room set up for me. I've never met him in person before, but I've talked to him over Skype with my dad. I guess he'll be my step-dad now that he and my dad are going to be able to actually be together. There's no doubt in my mind that they'll end up married; my dad is the happiest I've ever seen him when he's talking to Sam.
I put my backpack on top of my carry-on, and crawl into bed. I lie there thinking about what Vermont is going to be like. Elry only has a population of 7,000, and I can't imagine that a lot is going on there. It'll be nice to have some quiet for a change. I am, however, not excited for the weather. Vermont seems like a freezing and rainy state and I don't know how people survive there, but I'm sure I can adjust. I start to think about what the school there will be like, but before I know it, I'm asleep.
I begrudgingly wake up at five a.m. and go to the kitchen to find both of my parents at the table. They're just sitting there, holding hands, and drinking their coffee. After all this time and everything that they've been through, they're still best friends. We all said goodbye last night. They look like they're at peace, albeit tired.
"Good morning, pumpkin," my mom says. I smile at her and make my way to the table to sit with them.
"You feeling ready for this, Arlen?" my dad says.
"Yeah, I think I am. Bags are packed and everything," I say.
"Alright, then I guess we should get a move on."
We put the last of our things in the trunk of my mom's car, and the three of us drive to the airport in a comfortable silence. We get there, we check in, and pause before going through security. We say quiet, calm goodbyes. We give each other drawn out hugs and whisper promises to visit during holidays. By the end of our farewells there isn't a dry eye among us. My mom squeezes my hand, and then my dad and I head through to security. I'm going to miss her like crazy, but she knows that I need to get out and see the world.
The plane ride is long and boring, but nothing out of the ordinary. I spend the first few hours sleeping, then once I had woken up I listened to music and wrote in my journal. I don't think that I'm really big into writing, per say, but it has always been something that feels safe. I've kept a journal since I was in the seventh grade. It's nice to know that one day I'll be able to look back and see what I was thinking and feeling all those years ago.
When we land it's just starting to get dark outside. We get off the plane, and head out to the parking lot. There we see a man in his late fourties, wearing a suit and tie, holding flowers and a sign that says "Elliot and Arlen".
"Sam!" my dad shouts as he runs towards him and practically jumps into his arms. They hold each other for a few seconds, look into each other's eyes, and finally kiss. I glance away because, ew, dad kissing. I can't imagine what it's like falling in love with someone who's across the country without ever being able to see them in person. It helps that they were friends in college, but it must've been hard regardless. The two of them let go of each other, still holding hands, and my dad looks at me with tears in his eyes.
I look at them, and how happy they are, and I realize that moving here is the best decision my dad and I have ever made.