"My name is Gerald Valentine." I sigh. "I am Sixteen. I was born June tenth of ninety three." I add.
"What are you doing?" Mom asks as she watches the road.
"My therapist says it's a way to keep present." I reply.
I have been moving around a lot over the past six years. After bearing witness to my father and brother die trying to protect us until the police came. It was a home invasion.
"Well the new one will consult with them. I am sure moving out of the area is going to do you a lot of good." Mom says.
She may be right. Her auburn hair shows the tint of red when the light hits it. I always found her to be a comfort of mine. This vehicle smells like laundry and cardboard. I roll my window down an inch or so and sigh.
"So, we move to a new town that no one heard of back in Berkley." I say and sigh.
"Gerald. That's enough." Mom answers.
"Well, it's true." I say.
"Look if no one heard of Timbulka that's not my fault." Mom says.
"It feels like we live in the middle of no where now." I admit.
"I'm sure this town will be bounding with surprises. Who knows you may even make some friends." Mom tries to comfort me.
I have a gut feeling in me that this house is not what I would have ever expected. It feels wrong to move to begin with but, it feels worse as we get closer to our new home. I grab my pencil case from the deep blue fabric seat of the minivan we're driving. I take my notepad and begin to write.
'There was a house in a small town no one heard of...' I write down.
"Damn this life we livin' sounds like the introduction to some kind of paranormal bullshit." I laugh.
"Hey, if the house is haunted will ya be happy?" Mom jokes.
"Not exactly. I don't know if I'd ever be able to actually do it." I say.
"What really? Your English teacher would say you paint a rather vivid image in your work." She assures me.
"Yeah, that doesn't mean I would like to live that lifestyle, Mom." I sigh.
I know she means well, but really, she gets on my nerves. We have been trying to make the best of the situation we have, but being the man in our house just feels wrong. I am just turning seventeen next week.
What a time to have us move. Right before my birthday. You know, because unpacking boxes is better than a hatchback party, at least that's how my mom seems to think. I hate the idea I am stuck moving.
"I have some good news for you at least." Mom says.
"The house is on fire and we have to go back to our actual home?" I shoot a dirty look at her.
"No, but the basement is designed to be soundproof. The last owner was a music producer." She explains.
"Well, that's a bonus." I say. "Basement's my room I take it?" I ask.
"Well, its not like I need the basement for anything Gerald." She laughs.
"Only ever worried about having your upstairs office huh?" I ask mom.
She always has been very busy with work and it seems to me like she hardly ever gets time to herself anymore. Most times her phone and computer notifications are going off like crazy. I suppose that comes with the work of a marketing and advertising company.
"Well I need to work. It pays the bills, You know that Gerald." She sighs.
"Yeah but you never get any time off." I huff.
"Yeah, I know, but it will help you get into any college or university you can hope for." She sighs.
We have very different ideas on what is important. To me time can't hold a price. You can't sell something of infinite value for a priced amount. That's why I don't have a job. In one way I wish I did. Then I wouldn't have to move with mom.
I know she is only doing what she thinks is best but, how the hell can she tell? I don't think age makes us always the wiser, however more durable to stress. I've noticed this at school, some kids who are young are less in control of their emotional states. in high school, it's mostly hormonal. Then there are a few kids like me, who are all logic based. I don't experience emotions in the same way others do. My therapist says it's a part of my learning disabilities.
"So, how much farther until Timbulka?" I ask.
"We should be there in about thirty minutes." She answers, looking at me on occasion.
"Well, I guess I may as well know more." I sigh.
"The town has a haunted downtown tour." She tries to hit me with an interest of mine right away.
"That's cool. Wonder how many places are on it." I reply.
"Well, we can find out after we unpack." She states. "Also, there are a couple of old arcades, like what I grew up with." She elbows me.
"And that's exciting?" I stick out my tongue teasing her.
"Hey!" She laughs. "It's what I did growing up, your father loved those places." She sighs.
"I miss dad."
"I know, I miss him too." She pauses for a moment.
"He liked them old arcades?" I say.
"Yeah, we grew up around the corner from an arcade, the deli was across the street. We could've spent all day there when we were kids, if we had enough money that was." She lights back up into laughter.
Our bodies quickly jerk and it catches us both off guard. It startles us both pretty easily. We both burst into laughter. Leave it to chance to break the tension of things. I look up to see the sign for Timbulka, only Fifteen miles out now.
"Almost there." I say.
"Yeah, it's like our own little adventure, Gerald." My mom pats my shoulder gently.
"So, what's in Timbulka anyways?" I ask.
"A new company I have transferred to. Their headquarters is there." She replies.
"No more home office?"
"No more home office." She agrees.
This will be the first time in a long time mom has gotten out of the house for work. She did most of it from home and on the internet. I don't know how but, she pulled it off for years. We have our ups and downs like every family.
That eerie feeling comes back as she pulls into the on ramp towards Timbulka. I know something is wrong with this place. no point in mentioning it to mom, she just did all of this. I guess the best thing to do right now is try to stay strong for her sake.
"Excited to see the new place?" She asks.
"Well, I guess so." I reply.
"Okay, I get it." She says. "New house, new area, new school. its a lot to process." She adds.
"Some times your a lot to process mom." I laugh.
"Yeah, well I processed you!" She laughs adding to my smart assed remark.
We turn as I try to turn the radio on. The local radio is playing music from the 1950's and I immediately turn it off. Apparently this town is frozen in time musically. They're gonna hate me, I can see it already.
"I'm starting to feel like the main character of a musical." I say.
"What do you mean?" She asks.
"I'm going to be the new kid in town. Isn't that how most of those things start?" I ask.
"Not exactly, Gerald." She laughs.
"Okay, but you do see what I am saying?" I say.
"I suppose." She sighs.
We turn again. The sign reads 'Wicker St'. The houses on this street are all brightly colored. Bright blues, yellows and oranges as we drive by. We pull into the driveway at the only red house on this entire street.
"Well, here we are." She says.
I look at the trim of the windows to the house, they are faded light blue. I would think white would have been better. I look to the door and see the white frame to an odd faded yellow for the doors actual color.
"We need to paint." I say.
"Desperately." She laughs.
"You chose this place. I didn't know we were moving until a month ago." I say.
"Ouch, not pulling punches today are we?" She asks.
"I don't pull punches I throw them." I laugh.
"Smart ass." Mom says shaking her head.
"Better than being a dumb-ass." I laugh more.
"Okay then, smart ass, lets get unloading." She says as she takes the keys from the ignition.
"Yeah, I guess we have a lot of stuff to do now." I sigh.
"You are correct!" My mom enthusiactically mimics a TV show host.
"Really?" I shake my head. "Doesn't take long for you to become animated." I laugh.
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