Piece By Piece Part Two: Gathering the Pieces

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“I can’t believe it,” Robin said as we turned off the interstate. “I am sorry, but I didn’t have a choice,” I said looking over at the passenger seat. “Not you, mom,” Robin smiled back at me. “Cindy, she hooked up with that guy I was telling you about.” “Oh,” I replied. “The guy with the tattoos and the piercings?” I shook my head as I remembered the photo Robin had shown me. “Yes,” Robin nodded. I looked in the back seat. Jack was fast asleep. Luckily the medication his doctor had given us was still working. Catching a plane, then getting a rental would have been a disaster with him being awake and alert. The two brothers had their heads down in their phones, while Robin was sitting up front with me. All of them had been so strong after I had told them their father had been cheating on me. Robin and Robert were the first to see the full details online, it wasn’t the way I wanted them to hear about their father, but I could only hide it for so long.Thomas was let in later by his older siblings. Jack, on the other hand… I looked back and looked at him comfortably sleeping. I didn’t know what to say to him, even though his father hadn’t shown him much affection, sometimes Eddie longed for his father’s presence. “Turn up here, mum,” Robin stated. My navigator was the best; she knew the directions to her grandma’s house by heart. Teresa was Stan’s mother, the moment she saw the news she called me. Teresa wasn’t one to hold anything back. First, she told me she was sorry and that she had sent a text message to her son. I still didn’t know what was said, but Stan came by the house the next day, packed all of his stuff and moved out without a word. After she said she was sorry she berated me for how I had handled the whole thing. Her son’s face was all over the news as well as her family name. I didn’t apologize. I knew that would make her even angrier. I told her it was the most humane thing I was thinking about at the time and if I did the other things that I wanted to do I would be in jail. We laughed for a few then I broke down. Stan was right about one thing. My salary would barely keep my head above water even if I were single with no kids. Having two teenagers, two years from graduating, another child about to start high school and another one with a severe mental illness, trying to keep them happy, plus a house and a mode of transportation would have killed me. Teresa had a perfect idea. Sonny, her husband, had passed away last year after a long fight with cancer. She had a massive house in the country on acres of land, with no one to help her. She told me I could stay with her as long as I wanted or at least until I got my feet firmly underneath me. We had gone there many times throughout the years. The kids loved the almanbahis şikayet house as well as the land it was on. So, here I was fourteen minutes away from starting my life all over. Teresa said to leave everything behind and to bring clothes. She had also put my mom in a beautiful retirement home, well above what I could pay. She had paid for six years which I knew was more than enough time, seeing as my mother was in her last years due to her illness. She barely recognized me or anyone anymore. Going to see her every year caused everyone more pain and grief than what I had intended. Still, it was nice to see her smile when she saw the massive garden outside with different flowers. “The last turn up ahead,” Robin said as she pointed the road out. I loved it out here. The houses were big and so far apart, not like where we lived. We could practically see into our neighbor’s homes. “It’s Jack’s horse!” Thomas shouted. Sure enough, Ferdinand, the horse was running along the fence. “How does he know?” I laughed watching as it ran alongside with us. I slowed the rental to a slower speed so that it could keep pace. “That’s why,” Robin laughed as we saw Jack waving at it. The medication had worn off, and he was sitting up in the back seat. Up ahead I saw the large house in the distance. Sonny had the house built after he had retired. Stan and I had got married there a few months after it was finished. Now it brought back both happy and sad memories. “We will be okay mom,” Robert said leaning forward. “Thanks, Robbie,” I nodded. “Thanks all of you. You have made this so much easier than I thought.” “It’s what we do,” Thomas said with a grin. He was the joker of the family. There wasn’t a thing he wouldn’t turn into a joke just to see us smile. I parked the car as I saw Teresa coming down the long stairs. “You didn’t have to come down,” I said as I met her halfway. “I am old, not crippled,” Teresa said as she shooed me away. “Where’s my Jack?”  Teresa said as she walked passed the other kids. They knew Jack was her favorite. Jack loved his grandmother. She was one of the only people that could take him anywhere and not have him fuss. She took him out of the car seat and looked at the other kids. “Well?” she asked as she looked at them. They all stood in silence. “They have already been gassed up and taken out of the shed,” Teresa said as the three of them ran off towards the back, towards the shed to ride the snowmobiles. “Love you Grandma!” they shouted as they turned the corner. “Uh-huh,” Teresa nodded. “Teenagers!’ “You sure about this?” I said as I walked by her side towards the long wooden fence. Ferdinand was already waiting there for his best friend. “If I say no, you have enough to get you a flight back?” Teresa almanbahis canlı casino asked as she bent down to pick up some carrots. No doubt she had already cut them in preparation for Jack’s arrival. “No,” I nodded. “Then why ask a stupid question,” Teresa said as Jack held the carrot out. Ferdinand began to chomp away at it. “Look,” Teresa said as she looked back at me. “Neither of us are in a position where we can turn down the other ones help. I need help with the house, the horses and everything else around here, or it will fall apart. You need to get away and start over. It’s simple as that.” There it was, the simple logic that was Teresa. Robert had once joked that Teresa must be half Vulcan, an alien species from his favorite Sci-fi series. After watching a few episodes, I had to agree. She didn’t have much of a sense of humor, and everything in her life was dictated by logic. “You go up and get yourself sorted,” Teresa said. “I’ve got the rest of them.” I knew better than to argue. By the sound of it, the other three had found the snowmobiles. There was no doubt they would be gone for the rest of the day. I climbed up the long staircase and into the mansion of a house. A few years back Teresa and Sonny had rented it out as bed and breakfast. With horse rides and snowmobiles and a tour of the country. That was when Sonny was still able to get around. Now it was empty. The whole house smelled like cinnamon, Sonny’s favorite. I walked up the stairs to what was used to be Stan’s and my room whenever we came to visit. The room was much larger than the one I had before. The view was breathtaking from our private porch. I could see the mountains which were much closer than they appeared. I could see the trails of the three snowmobiles, no doubt the kids were going to see the river that flowed through the property, then the old barn, then who knows where they would go. I laid down on the bed. It was the first time since everything had happened that I felt relaxed. Slowly I drifted off to sleep.  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~Days eventually turned into weeks, then into months. I didn’t know when exactly it happened, but it happened. I started calling this place home. I took a side job working at a diner a few hours a week. Nothing too big, as most of my chores around the large house kept me busy. Teresa wasn’t kidding when she said keeping this place neat and clean was a full-time job. Three floors, six huge bedrooms, two smaller bedrooms, and eight bathrooms. What did they think when they built this house? I asked myself every time I had to go from one floor to the other. There were too many other rooms; a study, a theatre room which the kids loved, a playroom, a rumpus room, two kitchens. almanbahis casino I forgot that I used to wish that I could live here when I came to visit. Now that I lived here, it was all I could do to keep from going insane. When the house didn’t have my attention, the acres of land did. The snow had started to melt leaving grass that needed to be attended. Fences needed mending, horses fed, trees trimmed. It was an endless chore list. It felt like as soon as I got one thing done, three more things popped up. Not that I ever complained, to be absolutely truthful with myself. Deep down, I loved it. There were times where I felt that I couldn’t do it, that I had made a bad decision and I was ready to call it quits, then there were others where I felt more alive than I ever had been in the past. Just the other day after noticing part of the fence needed to be rewired, I remembered being out there with Sonny years ago just before Thomas was born. We were out checking the fence when he noticed it needed to be fixed.  I wanted to make a good impression on my father in law, so I offered to help when part of the razor wire sliced my hand wide open. Blood poured from my hand like red wine from a glass. Sonny quickly scooped up some mud and slammed it into the open wound. I never forget the look on my face as he massaged it in. “Stop whining,” he said in his gruff voice. His white hair and white beard stared at me from under his hat. “The nearest hospital is an hour away from the house, and we are twenty minutes from that. So you want to bleed out on the way there or risk an infection?” That was Sonny. No holds barred, no nonsense. He ripped a piece of his shirt off, tied it around my hand in a tight knot, and that was that. We finished the job and headed back to the house. Teresa cleaned up my hand and stitched it closed. She said she was used to doing it because Sonny was always tearing something up. As I began to rewire the fence that day, I cut myself, not as bad as before but it was pretty deep. I slammed my hand into what was left of the snow, packed some mud onto it and used some duct tape to seal it closed. Teresa smiled at me as I returned. She stitched it closed and laughed the whole time, shaking her head. I think that was the day that I knew this was my home. I felt different now. I sat on the upstairs porch watching the kids play football below me. Sure things were different. The kids were back at school, none of them complained about the new surroundings or that they had moved away from their friends and everything they knew, instead they talked about new things. Robert was trying out for the football team; Robin wanted to try out for the soccer team. Thomas was always Thomas. He had already found new friends. He was like his father in that sense the two of them had never met a stranger. Jack was getting homeschooled by Teresa. Then there was me. A few of the locals had started asking me out, and for a while I kept shutting them down, telling them I wasn’t ready. 

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