Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A Summer Story

My name is Jack.  I'm 17, and I've been told I'm the head of the house.  I live with my brother, Russ, who is two years younger than I, and my mother.  My dad died when I was 12, and my brother and my mom and me had to find an inexpensive trailer home to live in.  We live in rural New York.   We used to be pretty close to mom's family; then Dad died and Mom became lost and we had to become recluses.  It didn't used to be like this.  We used to live in a nice townhouse in the city and go to all the best preparatory schools and all do the right extra-carricular activities.  Mom and Dad were both professional people, and they were both always saying that what they wanted most for me and Russ was "to be on the road to success."  On our summer breaks, we would always go down to North Carolina for a week or two to see Mom's family.  That was always a treat.  Russ and I had a ton of cousins to play with, and lots of family.  The family owned a huge old estate down there, with two ponds big enough for jet-skiing, and miles and miles of private roads to ride our bikes and do jumps and other tricks.  It was always a good time there.  Mom and her cousin Shirley, were best friends.  They had both grown up on the estate, in different houses, but close enough to go to the same schools and close enough to walk to each other's houses.  Shirley married her high school sweetheart, and they moved into a little house less than a mile away from the estate.  Mom went up to New York to go to college, and then stayed for graduate school.  That's where she met Dad.  She was studying art history, and he studied music theory.  After they married, they moved into an upscale apartment and then had me and Russ soon after.  Dad was in a fatal car accident a few years ago, and Mom was lost.  She was depressed, and she couldn't afford to keep the apartment on her own.  Russ and I quit some of our extra-carricular activities and got after-school jobs.  That really didn't help much.  Soon, we made the decision to leave our preparatory schools and go to public schools.  Even with that, we couldn't afford the apartment.  So we decided our best option was to move into the rural upstate and find an inexpensive trailer home.  That's what we did.  With Mom's job, and the money from Dad's insurance, Russ and I were able to go back to the preparatory schools, but no extra activities, and no more eating out.  Mom had a hard time with it.  She felt alone, and she kept talking about the North Carolina estate, and being surrounded by family.  Russ and I woke up one day and found a letter from her.  She had taken a train to North Carolina.  She left us a wad of cash, and said she'd be back in a few days.  After a week, we got a phone call from my grandma.  My mother was in a hospital in North Carolina.  She'd been found floating in a pond and had lost significant oxygen to her brain.  The ambulance took her to the hospital, and she was recuperating, and  everything looked good.  She was released from the hospital two weeks later, and she had to stay in North Carolina to be taken care of by family.  It was decided that Russ and I would finish out the school year, and go down and get her as soon as we could, and bring her back her to live with us in New York.  That's what we did.  Mom is severely brain damaged and can't be left alone for long.  Both Russ and I have had to put our schooling on hold and get manual labor jobs.  We are considering selling the place here and moving to North Carolina so that we can finish our schooling there, and have family nearby to help with Mom.

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