It all started when her father came flying through the door and ran into the dining room where everyone was eating dinner. He was so excited that he left the front door wide open and didn’t even waste the time taking off his overcoat. He threw his briefcase down on the floor somewhere between where he came in and where his family was sitting, and he grabbed his wife right out of her chair. He squeezed her in his arms and spun her around like they were the only two people on a dance floor. For a man that was always so organized and grounded this was very out of character and had Lisa very concerned. Matt and Rachel, her younger twin siblings, were only eight years old and were starting to giggle at the way their parents were acting.
“I got it!” their father yelled. “I got it!”
“Oh honey, I knew you would. I’m so proud of you,” their mother responded joyfully.
A strong sense of concern was beginning to form in the pit of Lisa’s stomach. “Got what? What are you guys talking about?”
Realizing the whole family was looking at them, Lisa with confusion and the twins with innocent smiles and laughter; they stopped their private celebration and addressed their children.
“Everybody sit down,” their father said. “Your mother and I have some great news for all of you.”
They all took their seats, but just from the feel in the air Lisa knew there was something about this she wasn’t going to like.
Her father went into great detail telling them about the job interview he had a few weeks back and how he knew he would be perfect for the job. He talked about how he and their mother didn’t want to mention anything to them about it because nothing was set in stone, and there were a lot of people after this one position. After about twenty minutes of him giving background information he said the words again.
“I got it. I got the job.”
Her mother gave him another hug, and her brother and sister started jumping up and down telling him they were happy for him. She sat quietly for a minute. Something didn’t make sense and she was trying to pinpoint what it was. She felt like there was more to it that wasn’t being said. Then, just like that, it hit her.
“Wait,” she said. “What job did you get? What job could you have possibly gotten? You are already the Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago division field office. What else is there after that?”
“You’re right. There is no other job in my current office for me. The job I just got is much bigger than that. Much more important than that. I just got assigned to be the new Assistant Director of the Cyber Division.”
“That’s great Dad. I didn’t realize any of the directors jobs were here in Chicago.”
Her parents became silent after she said that and almost instantly a cold chill ran up the back of her neck.
“It is here in Chicago, isn’t it?” she asked.
Well, no dear,” her father finally answered. “It is going to involve a lot of traveling for me, but my main office is going to be at the FBI Headquarters building in Washington D.C. We’re all going to be moving to Virginia.”
“Virginia!” she yelled at the top of her lungs. “I am not moving to Virginia. Everything is here, my boyfriend, my friends. I’m a junior in high school, you’re really going to make me leave now and start over in a new school for my senior year.”
“Well, not quite your senior year,” her father responded. “We are leaving in two weeks.”
“What?!” she yelled one last time before she got up from the table and stormed out the front door.
She called her boyfriend Jeremy and told him to meet her at park down the street from her house. When he pulled up at the corner she ran to his car and explained everything to him while he drove away. They went straight to Lake Michigan, their favorite place to be together, and he held her while she cried.
“I don’t want to leave you,” she cried.
“I know baby. I don’t want you to go either. We are going to figure something out. I promise. We will spend every day together until you leave, and hopefully by then we will come up with something.”
He held her, and she continued to cry with her face buried in his chest until they ultimately fell asleep under the stars, something they had always talked about doing but under the circumstances it didn’t seem as special. The next morning they woke up and spent the whole day together. She didn’t want to go home, she didn’t want to do anything but curl up tightly in his arms and forget about everything that was happening. She always felt safe in his arms, and she hoped that his embrace could make everything go away. They took out his father’s boat, which was docked at the lake not far from where they had spent the night. He went out far enough into the water that they could just shut the motor off and calmly drift for a while. He held her and she cried for most of the day.
He brought her home that night and she went straight to her room without speaking to anyone. They spent every day together after that and she made it a point to get home late enough that everyone would be asleep. She didn’t want to speak to them. She didn’t even want to see them. She knew there was nothing she could do about the life-ending situation she was in, but it didn’t mean she had to accept it and pretend everything was okay.
The two weeks went by faster than any other amount of time ever did and the inevitable day arrived. She still didn’t want to move, but she had no choice. Her father got a new job, halfway across the country, and she felt like he didn’t care about anyone else. He was just uprooting the entire family and moving to a new city. It was her last day in the house she grew up in. The moving truck was outside and men kept walking in and out of her bedroom taking away her furniture, her personal belongings…her life. She was miserable to have to leave her home town, all her friends, her school, but most importantly Jeremy. How could she leave Jeremy?
Once her room was completely empty it didn’t feel like it was hers anymore. She moved outside and sat on the porch swing, one of the few things the movers hadn’t taken away yet. She slowly glided over the porch when Jeremy pulled up in front of the house. She ran to him and jumped into his arms.
“I can’t believe this is it,” she said.
“This is not it. We have been together for three years and this isn’t going to change that. We are still going to see each other all the time. Not as much as we do now obviously, but all the time. It's 700 miles. If I have to drive out there to see you that is what I will do. I love you Lisa. I love you.”
She started to shake as his words set in. “I love you too,” she said through hysterical tears. “I love you so much.”
“It’s time,” her father said.
Jeremy leaned down and kissed her softly on her lips as he squeezed her tightly in his arms. As they parted she felt empty, as if part of her stayed with him. She took slow steps backwards towards the van, not taking her eyes off him, afraid she might never see him again.
“I love you,” she said as she climbed in and the door closed. The van pulled away from the curb and her eyes stayed fixed on him until he faded from sight.
To be continued…