"Aria, please listen to me. This is what's best for all the family and deep down, you know that."

"All the family? Is that supposed to be funny?" I retorted, "since when has anyone's best interests been considered in this house? Because I'm pretty sure it was years before dad walked out".

She sighed, frustrated with my stubbornness – I could tell this was a fight I was not going to win easily. However, when she spoke, her voice was unexpectedly gentle.

"Look, I understand that you and Mike aren't fond of this move, and I understand that more than you think. My parents moved me away from the town where I grew up, away from everything I knew, and it was hard. But this will be different; we'll be moving to something better, not something worse. I promise you. The ordeal we just went through with your father will never go away, but this might make it that little bit easier on all of us," she touches my arm lightly. 

"Mom, you never told me that before."

"I never needed to before".

I smile weakly, "but how can you move us away and expect us to be okay with it when you weren't, you were far from okay with it?"

"Aria, my mom and dad moved us from Florida to Tulsa."

"Moving from California to Pennsylvania isn't that much different, mom." I say.

"Have you been to Tulsa?" she asks. I don't answer.

"Well, here's a brain-teaser for you," I say sarcastically, "why does dad and...her, get to stay here, and we have to move away? We're not the ones in the wrong, and this is unfair."

"What do you want me to do, Aria, ship him and the leggy-blonde off to some remote fishing village in Guam?"

"Actually, I was thinking more...Iceland, but you know, Guam sounds perfect too."


"Mom," I whine, "please don't make us go."

"I'm sorry, Aria. This is my final decision." She moves my hair that's fell in front of my face and tucks it behind my ears. "Now, what do you say, you go and pack some boxes up, hm?"

"Fine. But don't think this changes anything. I'm still mad."

"Okay." she says as I turn and walk upstairs.

This new place may not be California, it might be the most boring town my mom could find, but it may also offer an opportunity for me. I'm a writer, it's in my nature to make the best out of a bad situation – in other words, I'll make this town sound so beautiful that maybe, just maybe, I'll start to believe it. Before I know it, I could become attached to this place. Besides, I could do with the fresh start, the new beginning I've always dreamed of, and I don't know a single person who couldn't do with one of those.

My mom had brought boxes home for me over a week ago from our local supermarket and had stacked them at the foot of my bed. Every morning, I looked at them in annoyance, despising this move before it had even started. I looked around my room and then at the boxes, the ratios are extremely out of proportion and I suddenly regretted being so stubborn; how was I supposed to choose things for goodwill and pack up my whole room (almost) into this minimal number of boxes?

I bury my face in my hands and knot my fingers through my hair in an attempt to stand still and think about my packing tactics. When that failed, inevitably, I went to stand in front of my bay-window, the one at the left-hand-side of my room which overlooked our neighbour's – very messy and overgrown – garden. But if you focused long enough, you noticed that in the far distance between the gaps of the houses on the estate, there was the California coastline; the sea glistening a silvery-blue in the end-of-Summer-beginning-of-Autumn sunlight. I was just lucky, I guess. My heart sank at the thought of not being able to drive to the beach whenever I wanted, sit by the shore and write like my life depended on it or take photos which I would later develop in the darkroom at the college where I was taking an extra-credit photography class – as a way to escape the dreadful home-schooling system.

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