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This will do. It’s exactly what my boys and I need right now. I thought was I surveyed the bungalow I decided to rent. Located just off the town square, it was within walking distance of the boy’s school. The house was also located between Mommy and Renny.
Built in the early 1900’s, the owner had recently renovated the two bedrooms, two baths home. The twelve hundred square feet was perfect for me, CJ and Cam. The deep porch, complete with swing, is what initially attracted me to the house. The family room was an open but cozy area, the highlight being the huge picture window that framed the view of the porch. Through the family room was the dining room with the updated kitchen just beyond. I smiled while touring the space, picturing CJ and Cam at the dining room table doing homework while I prepared a snack in the kitchen. I looked forward to purchasing a dining room table large enough to host family dinners.
The two bedrooms were to the left of the family room. The boys could have the master suite with the attached bathroom while I took the smaller bedroom. It was large enough to accommodate the bunk beds and chest of drawers I planned to purchase.
After signing a six month lease and paying the required deposits, I convinced Momma to go furniture shopping with me. She was not thrilled when I decided to move. I was a bit reluctant at first, but after seeing Renny and Brandy at CJ’s party, I knew it was time to move on with my life.
“Is this because Courtney has a girlfriend?”
“Yes and no. I mean I am 37 years old. Don’t you think it’s time I left home,” I joked.
“That’s foolishness, Elaine. You’ve lived on your own, as a single woman and with your family. As a matter of fact, you just moved back five months ago. ”
“That’s exactly my point, Momma. I’ve been home for a while now. Renny is living his life. I need to do the same.”
“Have you talked him? Asked about Brandy?”
And say what exactly: don’t love her, love me instead? “Momma, I am NOT talking to Renny about his relationship with Brandy. That is none of my business.”
“Except you’re still in love with that man.”
I couldn’t respond, couldn’t deny my momma’s words. I am still in love with Renny, and probably would always love him. And that is one truth I would never share with him. He had Brandy now, and they were a bonafide couple, having just returned from a cruise.
Momma helped me pick out furniture for the family room, dining room and both bedrooms. We also purchased bedding and other household necessities in preparation for this move. My mom was supportive and enjoyed the shopping trip, but I knew she did not want me to leave.
“Hey, Sissy, where do you want this box?” Danny called out from the family room.
I was in the kitchen, putting away my new dishes. My furniture was delivered earlier today, and Momma made the beds for me. She took CJ and Cam to her house to start dinner. Danny was helping me with clothes, small appliances, and other miscellaneous items. We planned to go to Momma’s for dinner.
While I was excited about my first night in my new house, I was a bit sad that the boys would be staying at home with Renny. Against my mother’s advice, I did not tell my ex-husband about my move. Our divorce decree called for joint custody, and at the time of our divorce, Renny was the primary custodial parent. This had not changed since I moved back to Mabrary Springs. We shared care of the boys, with Renny allowing unrestricted access to his house. While we haven’t had a discussion, I planned to reciprocate with my new home.
Danny walked into the kitchen, “I’m gonna stop by my apartment to get my tool box so I can mount the shelves in the boys’ room. I’ll be back. Need anything while I’m out?”
“Nah, I’m okay.”
“Cool. Be back.” Danny exited the house from the kitchen out to the single car garage. I turned up the music and continued organizing my kitchen. A few minutes later, I heard the front door open and close.
“Wow! That was fast!” I stepped into the doorway between the kitchen and dining room and froze. Expecting to see my brother, I was shocked to see my ex standing in my living room, especially since I never told him about my new accommodations.
Neither of us said anything for a couple of minutes. I spoke first.
“What are you doing here?”
“What the hell are you doing here, Elaine?” His tone was glacial.
“I, ummm, I live here. I mean, I just moved in. Today.”
“Yeah, I heard. The boys told me. Then my best friend texted me about a drill so he can hang shelves in my sons’ bedroom. What the hell is going on here, Elaine?”
Renny only calls me Elaine when we are joking or when he’s upset with me. There was no humor in this encounter.
“So when were you going to tell me? Or were you going to tell me at all?”
“I was going to talk to you so we could work out arrangements for the boys.”
“What kind of arrangement for the boys?”
“Well, I mean, they have a room here, and I wanted them to spend some time here. Maybe we can alternate – “
“Bullshit!” Renny roared. “CJ and Cameron both have a bedroom at their home.”
“I know, Renny, but now I have a home, and want them to stay here sometimes. With me.”
Renny laughed. “You are one selfish bitch. Haven’t you fucked up their lives enough, Elaine?” He turned and walked out.
His words felt like a punch to the gut, leaving me winded and doubled over in pain. I plopped down on my sofa and curled up in fetal position. I waited for tears to fall. But they never came. I felt empty. Renny’s words cut me to my core, leaving me hollow.
The door opened again. This time it was Danny. He sat on the opposite end of the sofa.
“Wanna talk about it?”
“Renny stopped by.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“He called me a selfish bitch.”
“He called you a what?”
“I tried to talk to him about the boys staying over here. He said I already fucked up their lives enough.” I paused. “And he’s right. I am selfish.”
“Did you tell him about the renting this place, Sissy?” I shook my head.
“Why not?” I didn’t respond.
“That’s messed up.”
“I didn’t think. Umm. I mean, I don’t want to screw up my kids, Danny. God knows I don’t. They are the reason I moved back to Mabrary Springs.”
“You need to talk to Renny, Elaine. Really talk to him.”
“I know.” This isn’t my first time hearing that. Momma had been hounding me for months to do the same thing.
“Well, I’m hungry so I’m going back over to Momma’s. You coming?”
“I’m not hungry. Renny probably already picked up the boys.”
“Yeah, he did.” Danny stood. “Okay, kid. I’ll lock-up. Love ya, Sissy. See you tomorrow.”
“Love you too, Danny.” I lay on the sofa after my brother left, Renny’s parting words on repeat inside my head. He had never called me a bitch before; he hardly used profanity at all. I pushed him to his breaking point. Again.
I pulled myself up and walked over to the picture window. This was my first night in my home. Instead of contentment, all I felt was restlessness. Relatively small, the house felt large and empty. Normally, I would be at my mom’s or over at Renny’s with the boys. This was my house, but it was far from a home. It was all wrong.
Copyright 2016 Kay Morris Writes
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