Chapter Thirty-Two: Wednesday

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"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

~Winnie-the-Pooh



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 I unzip Dusty's suitcase to stuff in another pair of jeans when I hear a rattle.

I open the suitcase all the way and pull out a handful of silverware. "Dusty, why are you trying to steal my forks?"

She looks up from her iPad game and says, "Sorry. They were the ones I used when I was brushing my hair. Like Ariel." She returnes to her game and mumbles, "I figured you didn't want them anymore."

"Right..." I put the forks back in the suitcase and zip it up again.

Jemma wanders into Dusty's bedroom holding two black shirts. "Aunt Bev, is this mine or yours?"

I lift an eyebrow. "The one on the right is like three times bigger, Jemma. You still wear clothes from the girl's section."

She scowls. "That's hurtful."

"Well you're delusional."

I stand up and check my watch. Panic runs through me. "Girls! She's going to be here in fifteen minutes! Hurry up and get your things, I'm not paying an ungodly amount of money just to ship your stuff back!"

As I watch the girls scramble to pack the last of their things, my stomach immediately twists when it remembers that they're leaving.

Yesterday was their last day of school at Percival. Well, our last day at Percival.

Barb, Janet, and Hayden had a going-away party for me, which basically means that they stuck a candle in the spaghetti at lunch and cried a lot when I told them I'd miss them.

They promised they'd keep in touch, but everybody knows what that means. They'll probably send a text and Barb will probably come over, at least until things get busy and the woman who once temporarily adopted her three nieces is forgotten.

That goodbye was hard enough. I couldn't do it a second time with Finn.

I had a whole speech about how our relationship was like coconut cream pie and the machete Jason used to kill people, but when I got to his classroom, I couldn't even go inside.

I couldn't look at his mural. I was too stupid and emotional and I didn't want to break down in front of anyone, least of all him, even though he's probably the only one who wouldn't judge me for being a crybaby.

But I did have to squeeze my eyes shut when he hugged me tightly and told me everything was going to be alright.

It's funny what those words do to somebody. Five words that don't offer any advice or try to fix things. It doesn't solve all of your fears or make them go away. But when someone you love says that everything's going to be alright, you have no choice but to believe them. And somehow it makes things better.

I even gave him a gift card to an online art store. It had a picture of a skeleton in a hula skirt painting a mural of Frasier on it. Which was honestly priceless in and of itself.

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