Divorce. It was ruining his life. Even since his parents started arguing, Jason’s life was slowly falling apart. When they finally announce that divorce was coming, Jason is faced with one of the biggest decisions of his life. Mom or Dad?
Slamming the door with as much force as he could gather, Jason locked it, wishing he was anywhere but home. Pounding the door with a clenched fist, he sighed and leaned against it for support. In a way, he expected it. But he kept the hope alive that his parents’ relationship was getting better. He noticed any, and every, small improvement – not that he let them know he cared. Families are supposed to work through their differences, not just quit. Sliding down the door and sitting on the wooden floor of his bedroom, Jason sighed. Running calloused hands through his dark brown hair, he rested his head against the smooth wood door, starring up at the ceiling.
“Jason, open the door.”
“Go away Mom.”
“Jason, we need to talk.”
“Mom, just leave me alone, ok?”
“I know it’s hard, but it’s the only way.” She waited several seconds for a reply, but when none came, she sighed and walked back to the kitchen to finish dinner.
Leaning against his son’s bedroom door, Mr. Wright tried to talk with Jason thirty minutes later. “I know this is difficult, but you have to choose eventually. Are you listening?” Yes, he was listening. Listening to the sound of his world falling apart like a glass window that had been shattered. Listening to the deafening silence that enveloped the room when his parents stood right by each other, ignoring the other’s existence. Listening to the laugher of the neighbors as they chatted in the evening sunset, their worlds perfect.
While his world was already falling apart, his parents were asking him to decide between them – who would he go with? Does it really matter, anyway? He would be heading to college in a year, so if he didn’t want to come home, he didn’t have to. Besides, whichever parent he chose, the other would be hurt – there was no avoiding it. Why couldn’t they get divorced after I move out – it would have been so much easier. Silently standing up, Jason walked over to his bed and lay down, surrendering to the peace sleep offered.
Opening his eyes, Jason heard the hard quick knocks of his mother. How long had she been there? “Yeah?” his answered in that groggy voice everyone is plagued with when they just wake up.
“Jason Andrew, open the door.”
Opening the door a creek, Jason’s sleepy eyes met those of his mother’s. “Sorry Mom, I was sleeping.” As his strong, five foot eleven inch body towered over her small five foot six inch frame, he looked into her compassionate blue eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry honey. I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have got you up if I knew, but dinner’s ready,” she replied softly.
“Ok…is Dad eating with us?”
“No, he ran over to the office and said he’d pick something up on the way home.”
“Yeah, sure,” Jason brushed past her, making his way to the kitchen. He knew he probably hurt her. Wasn’t her company good enough? But he was upset. And it hurt to think anymore.
After dinner, Jason once again escaped to his room – alone and cut off from the world. Shutting the door as he walked in, he tumbled onto the bed again. He wasn’t tired, but it was easier to think when he was lying down. Ugh, I didn’t lock the door… He lay there, starring at the gold lock on the door knob, but didn’t feel like getting up. Forgetting about the unlocked door, the question probed his mind – who would he stay with? His mom planned on moving to Florida to stay with her mom until she could purchase a home of her own. It wasn’t that his dad was kicking her out; she just didn’t want the house. If he moved back with her, it would mean a new school, new friends, new home, and who knew what else. If he stayed with his dad…his phone buzzed from the lampstand. Reaching over to check who texted him, a smile cracked his solemn face. Nathan. Fingers flying over the tiny keyboard, Jason responded. “Hey man.”
“Our church is havin tht bonfire on the beach 2nite. U comin???”
Snatching the chance to get away from home, Jason responded – “Sure.”
Two hours later, he stood beside Nathan around a blazing bonfire in the cool summer night. The sun lazily sank into the sea and the moon’s pale face appeared in the dark sky. Everyone smiled, sang, and clapped their hands to the music, but Jason just stared into the fire, the question still nagging at his mind. I need to decide. Friends surrounded him and he wished he did not have to make the decision. He knew his mom would be more hurt if he stayed behind with his dad, but wouldn’t it be better? Wouldn’t finishing up his senior year at the same school prove the best for his grades? He couldn’t flunk his last year of high school. Choosing his dad would hurt his mom so much, though. Driving home that night, Jason prepared himself. She’ll understand…right? I have to choose what’s best for me. Opening the door of their small home, Jason quietly walked into the kitchen. There she was – wiping down the island and putting plates in the sink. “Mom.” His voice sounded strange, echoing throughout his mind.
Looking up at him, she smiled. “Yeah?”
“Mom, I think it would be best if I stayed with Dad.” There – it was out. She knew his plans. They stood in silence and he watched her slightest movements – every blink, every time she repositioned herself – he noticed it all. Are her eyes watering? “I would really want to go with you Mom, but I need to finish up school where I’m comfortable and know the teachers…and have friends. I can’t fail my senior year,” his words trailed off. Would she understand? He hoped. Standing so far away from her, he felt awkward and uncaring. Taking a few steps closer, he looked at her, his eyes apologizing for all the pain he caused.
“I know your decision is what’s best for you. Come visit me soon, ok?” She smiled through the tears welled up in her eyes, careful not to let them fall.
Two weeks later his mom had moved out. He missed her – more than he expected he would, but it was all right. They chatted a few nights each week and hearing her cheery voice on the phone warmed his heart. The end of the summer was quickly approaching – only one more month until his senior year of high school would begin. “Hey Dad, you know Nathan, right? Well, he’s going to Florida for a little over a week before school starts back up. Him and his dad. I was going to go with them, ok?”
“Sure, when are you leaving?”
The day of the flight arrived and Jason grabbed a few unpacked items he needed – toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, ipod, cellphone. Got it. Rushing out the door, Nathan and his dad waited in the driveway, their small car packed with suitcases and bags.As they drove to the airport, Jason looked forward to seeing her again. Those warm smiles, gentle hugs, and caring nature always endeared him to her. She would be waiting for him at the airport. Grabbing his phone, Jason sent her a quick text – “b there in 2 hrs.”