Short Story: The Year of Change

What was that sound? Maybe it’s it again, but Dr. Porter just said to ignore it. It’s probably nothing. It hasn’t spoken to me in a while, which is nice. Gives me a lot of room to think for myself, and I’ve had a lot of thinking to do since mom decided it was time to move. I’ve always liked it here in Parkdale, it’s quaint. I gaze outside the window and see the all the people in the street. People walking to work, people walking with friends, young and old. I wonder what they’re thinking and where they’re going. I wonder about their jobs and their personal lives and the moments that defined their characters.

“Hey, Roe, did you take your meds?”

I turn around and see my mother. She’s a frail woman, and she’s been looking even more gaunt since all this started. She looks tired today. Her long brown hair is tied in up a messy bun and she’s carrying a large box. “Come ‘ere. I wanna show you something.”, she croons.

I walk over to the box. It’s filled with photo albums and children’s books and baby toys. I pick up a pair of bronzed baby booties. “Can you believe you were ever that small?” she asks, smiling and patting my back. She picks up a framed picture. There are three people sitting in front of an emerald coloured background. There’s a young woman, wearing a green dress with short brown hair holding a baby. She looks so happy, so youthful and vibrant. Her smile is encapsulating; the happiness she is so effortlessly exuding is something that I’ve been searching for my entire life. The man in the picture looks just as happy as the mother does. He has brown scruffy hair and you can barely see his blue eyes because of his huge smile. He looks nice. I wish I could have met him.

“This was about a month after you were born.” she says to me. ”Your father was so excited.” She stares at the picture for a few more seconds. She smiles, but her eyes still look sad.

“I like that dress.” I tell her.

She laughs. “I still have that, you know. Roe, you need to take your meds.” She walks over to the kitchen and grabs the pillbox.

“Here.” She says softly as she hands me the tiny white circle and a glass of water. She rubs the back of my head as I swallow.

My father had the same problem I do, but he waited until it was too late to do anything about it. I used to think that I was going to end up like he did, but for the first time in a while, I feel hopeful.

“This is the year of change.” She says triumphantly, as she puts the glass in the sink. “New you, new me, new house, new job…” she pauses and trails off. “You’ll love it in Newmarket, I’m telling ya.” She stares outside the window at the people below.

“How’s, um, how’s everything?” she asks, still staring out the window.

“Good. I haven’t heard anything from it in a while.” I pause. “It’s, uh, it’s just me in here.” I smile and point to my head. She looks at me and smiles back.

“Great. That’s just what I like to hear. I think you’ll really like your new school too, they have a great arts program. You’ll love it.” She sounds like she’s trying to convince herself more than she’s trying to convince me.

“Look Rowan, I know this is a big step for us, but I think the move will help us. This place…this place carries a lot of negative energy. A lot of bad things happened to us here. But now that you’re healthy and we’re making some really great progress, I think that this is the best move we could possibly make.” She stops and starts biting her nails. She always bites her nails when she’s nervous. “We gotta stick together, you know. We’re all that we have.” She looks down. “Your father would be so proud of you if he could see how much you’ve grown in the past few months.” She covers her face.

I rush over and squeeze her tight. “I love you mom.” I step back and look her in the eyes. “Remember,” I say confidently, “this is the year of change.”




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