She pulled into her mother’s driveway. It was the house she’d grown up in, they’d never moved at all during childhood. It was just her and her mother from day one, and it had remained that way up until she had graduated high school and left for college. Not counting the time she ran away from home for six hours at the age of fourteen. She was fortunate that their little town of Riverside didn’t have perverts during the 1990s, otherwise who knows where she’d be today, if not dead.
She was dreading the moment when the door open, and she’d be having to explain herself. She had very firmly made her mind up to come to this point, but after two hours on the road, she started second guessing herself. And now she was here, and was having to face her decision face-to-face, because she was going to have to explain her rationale to someone. This was something she not done yet regarding the current matter that was her life.
As she sat trying to think of the right way to bring it up, and what to expect, her mom came around the corner of the picturesque two-story home. It was small, yellow, and modest, but her mom had kept it in tiptop shape. The house predated her mother by about forty years, and it hadn’t been easy keeping it in good condition. It had taken blood, sweat, and a lot of cash to keep up with the Jones’ Boys, but they had managed. It was her home, she owned it, and she wasn’t going to put it away for something lifeless. Something without memory.
Her mom was carrying garden tools, and dropped them at the site of her car. She shut the engine off and exited the car to meet her. Her mom ran to her and threw her arms around her. She was clearly dying her hair, trying to maintain its original brunette, though she had been neglecting it as some grey was starting to show on the sides of her head just above her ears.
“What are you doing here, kiddo?” She asked, pulling her tight. She could feel the warmth of her hug, and her beating heart. It was racing with excitement. They had only seen each other once since Thanksgiving, and that was four months back when her mom had visited for a few days.
“I decided to come home.” She said, but immediately knew that was the wrong answer. All that thinking had come to naught.
Her mother stepped back, and slid one arm around her shoulders and walked her to the front porch. “What’s on your mind, kiddo?”
As far back as she could remember, her mother had always simply called her kiddo, though this was not her real name. She couldn’t even remember the last time her mom had uttered it in her presence. They sat down in their rocking chairs, with the little, whicker table between them which had held their varying drinks for years. Her rocking chair felt a little harder on the body this time, an indication she was growing up, though she didn’t feel like it in other respects.
“I quit my job, mom.” She said, and her mother nodded gently and patiently waited for an explanation. Her mother had always been very patient and generous, even though her life had been full of conversations like the one that was about to commence. “I killed my lease at the apartment, I left Steve, and I packed up and left Salem. And here I am. It kind of feels wrong now. I think I might have made a bad decision. A hasty one. It felt so right at the time.”
“What happened, kiddo?” She was looking concerned now.
“Mike made some passes at me. You remember Mike?”
She smiled. “He was the cute manager boy I met last time, right?”
She sighed. “Yes, mom, he was the cute one. He tried some things, and I flipped. I quit right then and there, and left. I didn’t even pack up my desk or anything. I just yelled at him, quit and walked out.”
“What about Steve? How does he fit into this equation?”
“We weren’t meant to be, I’d sensed it for some time. So, with the Mike thing, it just seemed like as good a time as any to end that too.”
“How did he take it?”
She frowned, and gripped her knees nervously. “He doesn’t know yet.”
“What do you mean he doesn’t know?” Her mother asked.
“By the time I thought to break up with him, I was already out of town. I thought about calling him, but I figured my cell phone reception would be worthless and I’d get cutoff mid-sentence or something.”
Her mother shook her head. “And with your luck, he’d misinterpret it and think you were asking him to marry you.”
“I think I’ll call him later, after I’ve settled in for the night. I’m not sure I could handle it now. My mind is so confused.”
Her mother sat forward on the edge of her chair, resting her hand on hers. “Kiddo, you know I love you, but you need to call him no matter what you decide. And, you should probably figure out what you wanna do with your life.”
“I know, I know.” She thought for a moment, she wanted to say something profound, but knew she had nothing. She didn’t know life, she didn’t get it. Where was she headed? What was she intended for? Who was she? Who was she supposed to be with? Did she need to be headed somewhere? Did she really need someone? Why does everything in life have to be so complex, yet succinct? She felt like there should be purpose, but she was on a road that went in circles. No matter which way she went, she always ended up back where she started.