It all depends on how you look at it. Jerri’s decision to take the job in a state she never had seen before, in a city she knew nothing about, could be considered reckless. Leaving everything and everyone she knows, for an opportunity that may or may not pan out, seemed unreasonable to many. Selling the hard-won house in her divorce, and giving up what seemed like a sure thing, promotion wise, with her current employer on a crap shoot was not like her, at least in some people’s opinion of her. And giving full custody of Wilson and Nina to their father? That decision alone raised more than a few eyebrows.
Her parents begged to her rethink the whole thing. Her friends said they supported her decision, but pressed her with the kind of questions that clearly demonstrated they thought she was out of her mind. Her brother had nothing to say about any of it, except, “Hey. Your funeral.” Her current employer made a Hail Mary attempt to keep her, but couldn’t begin to come close to what the new job offered.
Her children…well, that was hard to say. They said they looked forward to living with their father, especially now that he was remarried to a nice lady, and said they were happy to have three new siblings, all of whom they thought were pretty cool. And, they’d have rooms of their own. That bit was particularly cool.
But while they said to Jerri they were alright with the new arrangement, their faces looked maybe a bit sad, even worried. Jerri would hug them and kiss their cheeks and repeatedly remind them that she’d only be a plane ride away and they could visit any time they wished. She told them she’d call so often they’d get tired of talking to her.
Jerri stood at the front door of her now former home watching the moving truck drive away. Once the truck was out of sight, she stepped back in the house, gave the living room a quick unsentimental scan, then picked up her purse, shut the door, and walked to her car.
Pressing the unlock button on her fob, she stopped. The car’s alarm chirped. The locks unlatched. Jerri couldn’t move. She stared intently for what seemed like forever at the door handle of her car. She could not bring herself to reach out, grab the handle, pull the latch, open the door and get in the car. She began to shake, almost uncontrollably. Steadying herself against the garage door, she reached for her phone and dialed Wilson.
“Hi Mom!” Wilson’s cheerful voice nearly undid her. “You driving now?”
“No, honey. About to. The movers just left. Thought I call one more time, see how…where are you?” Jerri could hear a deep echo and other children’s voices in the background.
“At Pizza Pete’s. We’re playing on an old Pac Man.”
“Me ‘n Nina and Mikey and them,” Wilson said, referring to his step siblings.
“You guys having a fun time?”
Wilson sounded good. Really good. “Put your sister on,” Jerri said.
“Hi baby! You guys having fun?”
“Yeah. Can I call back? It’s my turn.”
“Sure, baby. Anytime. Miss you already. Kisses!”
Jerri waited for Nina to chime back with a smooching sound, as she typically did in response. There was nothing except the phone’s notification the call had ended.