h o m e
“Home is where you’re loved ones reside, and your soul beats.”
I woke up to find myself in a car. My arm was in bandages and in the front seat of the car sat my father.
He looked back at me, his salt and pepper hair messy and tired lines etched on his face.
“Thank God, Athena.”
“Where am I dad? Where are we going?” I asked, looking out the window. I saw a plane taking off and a rush of horror ran through me.
My father sighed heavily. “We are about to board the plane, Athena. I’m sorry, honey, but me and your mother want what’s best for you. And I cannot allow you to be somewhere where your life is in constant danger.”
I felt like pounding on the windows and crying.
Harris. My Harris.
But I said nothing. Dad took a suitcase out of the trunk and opened my door for me, helping me stand. He didn’t say anything as he guided me inside the airport.
I kept my head down as we went through security. As we waited to board the plane I nibbled on a strawberry, wanting to curl up and cry.
I wanted my boy: my strawberry haired boy with his sparkling green eyes and his gentle comforting voice. With his amazing voice and his beautiful laugh.
But I was torn away from him.
“I-is Alex and Harris o-okay?” I asked hesitantly. Dad looked confused for a moment before recognition dawned on his face. He gave a grin not.
“The red headed boy was pretty banged up but doctors say he will be okay. Alex is fine as well. Those criminals who torment you have been arrested and their trial is soon. It’s a sure thing they’ll be spending more than a little time in jail.”
I nod, staring at my feet. I shove my hands into my hoodie kangaroo pocket and something pokes my hand.
I pull it out. It’s a photo of me resting my head on Harris’s shoulder, eyes closed in peaceful slumber. Harris is smiling down at me with an expression I can only describe as adoration.
Nora must have snapped the picture on the movie night. I hold back a sob, placing the photo back in my pocket.
I sleep the whole way to Canada and continue to sleep on the car ride to my parent’s apartment. I barely even notice when my mother wraps me in a hug and tucks me into bed.
My parents are like strangers to me.
Kind strangers, but strangers nonetheless.
I bury my head in my arms and cry silently, wanting Dorian and Alex. Wanting Smokey. Wanting Nora and Harris.
“Darling, I made you some breakfast.” My mother’s soft voice says quietly.
I open my eyes and take in her lightly lined, unfamiliar face. Her grey streaked chestnut brown hair is pulled into a bun. She’s dressed in smart business clothes.
I manage a grateful smile as I take the plate of waffles drizzled with maple syrup into my hands and begin to nibble at the food.
“Can I go home?” I ask quietly.
“You are home, Athena.”
The words send a sense of panic through me.
“No...” I mumble tiredly. “Home is back in Washington. With my green evergreens and my red maple trees. With the cloudy grey skies and the light drizzle. With the lime green grass... with Harris.” I mumble tiredly.
Mom looks at me with gentleness.
“I understand you’re homesick, Athena, but this will be the best thing for you. You’ll be starting at a new school Monday... it’ll be a fresh start.”
Panic runs through my veins.
“A-a new school?”
Mom nods, brushing off her hands as she stands up and gives me a quick kiss on the forehead. Where Harris had kissed me.
“I have to go to work, baby.” No one got to call me baby except for Harris. I looked away.
I just wanted to go home.