The house looked so dark and helpless from a far, I never realized that before. I wonder what it would have looked like when we were home, the place was lit up and alive. I wonder.
Grace was sound asleep in her car seat in the back, while I was staring out the window as if I were in a music video. Jake was driving, squeezing his hands against the steering wheel, never wanting to let go. The small amount of luggage we could grab before we left sat helplessly in the trunk of the car almost as if it was sad to leave too.
Outside the wind was blowing heavily with a wind chill of about 35 degrees Fahrenheit. The trees were shifting with every movement from the wind while the waves crashed on the sand, higher and higher each time. The road became blurrier each time Jake turned a corner until I fall into a deep sleep.
In my dream I am running, a thousand footsteps behind me, someone chasing me. I feel trapped. My body begins to tense up and I can feel the sweat marbles rushing down my face like little raindrops. I can hear Grace calling my name, almost as if she is crying for help. I stop running and sprint in her direction, stepping over the large boulders in my way. I trip and fall, scratching my knees, arms, and head, causing the cuts to bleed until I land on the sand. I sit up and look back at the blurriness and see Grace standing there, crying. She screams my name then runs in the opposite direction, almost as if she wants to show me something important. I get up slowly, not able to feel my feet, I run in her direction. She keeps running, faster and faster each time, then stops suddenly to show me home.
I woke up, sweating and crying on Jake’s lap with a worried Grace in her car seat. I sighed; a sigh of relief. It was only a dream.
We stopped at a gas station on the border of Maine to fill up the completely empty tank and to feed Grace. I opened the car door and took her warm hand in mine, walking to the store door. I opened the cold, metal door with one hand and led Grace inside where she sighed and smiled about the warmth. We walked over to the coffee counter and I grabbed myself some hot coffee while Grace took a bottle of apple juice. Later, I grabbed some snackage then head to the cash register before realizing I left my pocket book in the car.
"Next please." The cashier spoke. I walked forward handing over our food and drinks to the woman. She scanned the item and stared at us, stopping her movements.
"I am sorry we are in a bit of a hurry, could you please scan the rest?" I ask, hoping she would continue with her scanning but instead she shoved the items into a bag and handed them to me with a smile.
"Have a nice day." She said, calling on the next customer.
Grace and I walked back to the car a bit confused with what the lady had just done, but in my case it was good because I didn’t have to pay for the food or with the money, I did not have. As I helped Grace into the car and in her seat belt, Jacob looked at me, holding my wallet. I nodded at him, handed Grace her apple juice and chips and moved on into the heated car.
"You didn’t need this? Or did you steal the food?" Jake asked me chuckling at his joke which wasn’t amusing to me.
"I mean I guess not, the cashier handed us the food without even asking for my credit card, which was in the car. So I walked out, still a bit confused though, why would she do that? I wonder if she thought that we were a poor family living on the streets."
Jacob chuckled at my joke while sipping his coffee, a smile spreading across his cute face. I smiled at him and drank my coffee still startled by my earlier dream this morning, wondering if it were actually a dream or not.
Once the time struck 8:00 pm, I was driving through Maryland in the dark and wide awake while Jacob was sound asleep next to me like my sister in the back. We stopped for dinner at 6:00 pm at a diner, which tasted good until poor Grace threw it up in the car. It still smelled likes bad fries and chicken. She fell asleep after but unfortunately for us she had a fever which meant carsick was going to be a frequent thing for her for a while. I enjoyed driving for the mean time though because it’s relaxing and I could think without having to worry about home, now I had to concentrate on driving.
Our plan was after we left Maine and while Grace was asleep, Jake and I stopped at Starbucks for some coffee to wake each other up. We also talked about finding a new home after what happened in Maine. Jacob and I would love to move back to Maine but after we find out what actually happened and who did it. He said he didn’t know either which started my brain gears to twist into shape. I started to think back to my grandparents and my parents, then to Jake’s family and relatives wondering if it had something to do with my parent’s death. I just need to let go of my parent’s death and moved on, it may be harder for Grace, but I knew I must be strong for her sake. She meant a lot to me as my little sister, now she meant more to me as my daughter. I must protect her.
We got back on the road at 7:30 am with me driving into bad weather of North Carolina. I knew this would be a harder state to drive through, mostly because of Jake’s sister and her husband lived here. Jake never talked to his sister after what happened when he made the decision to move to Maine for a college education. She didn’t approve that Maine was the best college decision for him but he didn’t... because his parents got to pick the college and he did what they said, and this time it was Maine. He had made money from teaching but still attending high school. His mother told him that if he attended a college out of state he had to finish high school there, buying and living in a house, beginning his life there. I bet he was glad when he met me because then he could say he had someone there for him.
I just hope when we drove through this state he didn’t wake up and told me to stop at his sister’s. I wish, I wish, I wish upon a hidden star.
I made it through North Carolina without any word from Jake and any movement from Grace, which was good for me, some nice quiet time. Although I must say I was ready to stop for breakfast or stop for a few nights, away from this car. Even I was getting a bit carsick, ready to sleep in a bed instead of a car seat. I hope Jake should start stirring 'cause I need to talk to him about more plans like where we were going to live or buy a house in.
The sun had risen almost completely by 9:00 am and Grace was wide awake in the backseat, moaning and groaning about food. I didn’t blame the child though, I was even hungry, and I was just worrying about where to stop. I guess she will have to wait until Jake wakes up for me to decide, sorry Grace.
"Sis! I am hungry!" Grace screamed from the backseat of the vehicle, waking Jacob up from his slumber.
"Grace! Stop your yelling, Jake is trying to sleep, please be quiet!" I screamed to her in the back, her response was just being quiet, reminded me of how mom used to treat us.
I remembered when I first told my mom about Jacob Hearts, she was so happy about me finding someone, yet a little cautious about his ‘background check’ from dad. Yes, if anyone has watched those movies wherein dad does background checks for the entire boyfriends... then you have made a connection with my dad. He was very cautious about all the boyfriends I had, even though I had only dated twice. He was the type of dad that if I were on the phone for longer than 5 minutes, he assumed it was a boy and cut the connection on the phone line. Anyway, when I told my mom about Jake, my dad freaked out! He literally ran to his laptop and typed up ‘Jacob Hearts’ on Facebook. He was online for probably an hour before nodding his head at me in approval, which was the day my life turned right side up.
My mom was always excited when Jake called me or picked me up from school or even helped me with my homework because as she always said, "He is a gentleman and a keeper." Even when Jacob and I fought, my mom was always standing next to me whispering to me that we both needed to make up and forget about the little things. She was my idol and I missed her and my dad more than anyone else on this planet, I loved them so much, and now they were just memories to me.
"It’s alright babe, I am awake, don’t worry about me." He chuckled, turning his head to smile at me. Then he stretched his arm out to grab Grace’s leg which in return she shrieked then began giggling like when my dad used to tickle her.
"Grace, tell Jake sorry." I said once she was done with her giggling spell.
"I am sowy Jakey." She told him, speaking in her baby voice that made me smile every time my ears listen to it.
"It’s okay my little princess. Are you hungry?" He asked her, making her face light up with joy.
"Yes!" She yelled, causing Jake to fake cover his ears.
"Well then princess I think we need to ask mommy if she can stop somewhere for breakfast. Shall we?" He said, Grace was giggling like a little baby in the back.
"Mommyyy!!! Can we stop for breakfast?!?!" She yelled at me, smiling like a transparent cloud of sunshine.
"Yes, Grace we can, how about you give me 20 minutes, then you can eat. Okay?" I said, watching her face dropped at the time limit I set on breakfast.
"Oooook." She sighed then started laughing again at the look on Jacob’s face.
I understand that Grace was calling me mommy, but to me it just seemed so harmless and cute. The word mommy seemed so big when my little sister called me it, in a good way. I can’t wait to see her happier again, maybe moving will be a good change for her and all of us.