Kellie gave the back row of her ’95 Ford one final check before slamming the door and getting into the driver seat. She glanced at her watch and sighed. I must go if I want to reach the border by nightfall. For the first time in her life, she was driving half-way across the country to California for school. It was what she had been waiting for for the past eighteen years – to say goodbye to the small town Texas life and hello to the big city.
If only her mother would accept this.
Ever since she told her mother about going to college in California, her mother hadn’t spoken to her. They had spent the nights eating dinner in silence. Even when Kellie came home after working the last day of her diner job, she said, “Hi, mom, I’m home.” Her mother just looked away.
Kellie peeked in the rear-view mirror at the boxes and plastic containers stacked on top of one another on the soft velvet seat. They looked like they might topple if Kellie were to brake too fast. She turned to the house and stared for a minute before sighing. She’s not coming.
Shaking her head, Kellie turned the key and cranked the engine just when her mother yanked open the door and ran down the steps. “Wait!” Her mother shouted breathlessly. “Kellie, wait.”
Kellie quickly shut off the engine and stepped out of the car. “Mom, I didn’t think…”
Her mother pulled her in a hug. “I might be hurt and angry that you’re leaving but I respect your decision. After all, it’s your life.”
“I just didn’t think you would come to say goodbye.” Lowering her head, Kellie wiped the tears from her eyes.
Her mother smiled and wiped Kellie’s tears. “I am not going to say goodbye because saying goodbye would mean I’ll never see you again.” She pulled her in a hug again and whispered, “You be careful now, okay? Call if you need anything.”
Kellie sniffed as tears fell from her face. She nodded, “I will, mom. I love you.”
“I love you too.” Her mother said as Kellie stepped back into her car and turned on the engine again. She looked at her mother once more before shifting the car to drive and pulling from curb. “Don’t forget home.” Her mother cried as Kellie drove away. I won’t, Kellie mentally promised.
Originally written and published: February 13, 2015
Edited: February 28, 2017
Republished: March 17, 2017
Image Credit: Google