“Sunday…” I breathed, sipping my steaming hot coffee. Sitting at the table on the back porch, I relaxed into the plush chair cushion and took in the day. It was early morning, just after sunrise, and everything was bright and beautiful. It was all so calm, so quiet, and I wished I could stay there all day, but my mind reminded me that I was going to have to spend the day helping Kati move into college. And not wanting to drown in total boredom, I had convinced Sue and the boys to join me.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the day. I was almost certain Kati was really going to college, but traveling around with her boyfriend and his band. I shook my head in amusement, recalling how my parents had given her some ‘helping out’ money the day before. But, if she really was going with her boyfriend, where would she be putting all of her crap? His van was definitely not going to accommodate all that and everyone else’s and from what I’d heard, we were putting all of her stuff into a moving truck. I furrowed my brow. Maybe she really was going to college? Had she really given in to our mother?
A small click from the sliding glass door sounded behind me and I turned to see Kati in her purple robe, closing the door behind her. “Hey, what are you doing?”
“Just relaxing before everyone gets here,” I said, turning back to stare at the backyard.
She came to sit next to me and we remained quiet for a while. “Can I tell you something?” I looked at her and waited. She hesitated, then said, “I’m not going to law school. I’ve been accepted into the Art Institute.”
This completely caught me off guard. “I thought you were going on the road with your boyfriend, what’s-his-face.”
Now it was her turn to be confused. “What? No, I broke up with him last week because he was being an ass. He wanted to have an open relationship so he could hook up with girls while he was gone.”
“Oh, wow,” I said. She nodded and started to laugh, and before long I was laughing too. “I was always surprised how long you stayed with him.”
“Yeah, well,” She stopped laughing. “The whole thing was just a huge mistake… but now, I can start over and find someone really worth my time.” I nodded and we shared a silent moment.
“What about mom?” I asked.
“She never liked him,” She began and I shook my head. “Oh, about the school? You know she won’t like that. Art is a hobby, not a real job.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’ll need your help if I’m going to pull this off. Will you do it?” she asked anxiously.
“No, I’m just going to sit back and watch you get caught. Come on, you know you couldn’t do it without me.” She smiled and I mirrored it.
“Thanks, but just for your information, I did do some pretty sneaky stuff before you came around.”
I gave her a knowing look and she rolled her eyes. “Anyway, besides I can’t resist the chance to do something behind Mom’s back. You know that.”
“Yes, I do,” she said, and I gave her a light kick.
A short time later, everyone was over and once the truck was backed in the driveway, we started our work. “Man Kati, you have a ton of crap!” one of her friends called as he descended the stairs with two stacked boxes in his hands.
“It’s not crap!” Her voice was muffled behind the wall.
“Kati? Why are you taking all of your art supplies?” Mom asked, looking through some of the boxes. I shook my head. Did she have to be so nosy?
She was down the stairs in a flash. “Uh, so I can draw some things when I’m bored. When I’m done with my homework.”
Mom gave a little huff of a laugh. “I’m pretty sure you won’t have much time for that. Law school is very, very taxing on its students.”
“Law school?” one of her other guy friends said. My heart jumped to my throat and Kati and I shared a scared glance.
Mom gave him a confused look. “Yes? What else would she be going to school for?”
“Uh,” he dragged it out, looking at Kati’s wide eyes, both scared and angry. “I forgot what she told me, I’m sorry. I just remembered she said she needed help moving.”
“Oh.” Mom looked at him for a minute longer, and then let it go. Putting the art set back inside the box, she pushed it back into the truck and stepped back to let us all continue loading. Louis and Dale were behind me carrying a particularly heavy box and had been slowly losing their grip.
“What the hell is in here?” Louis asked as they finally set it down and pushed it away with relief.
“Books,” Kati said, already heading back into the house. “And there are more.” Dale and Louis shared a weary look before dragging their feet after her.
Two hours later, the last box was set in the truck and the door slid shut. There was a tearful goodbye on Mom’s part, and after sidestepping her several attempts to follow her to college, Kati finally said it would be too crowded and it was too far to drive.
“I’ll see you when you get back,” Dad said, bringing her into a tight hug. He leaned in, kissing her forehead and then whispering something in her ear that made both of them smile. She gave him another squeeze before kissing Mom again, giving me a hug and then climbing into the truck with her friends.
“What did you tell her?” Mom asked Dad as we all watched the truck drive off, towing behind it her little Kia.
Dad shrugged. “Nothing much. Just a little fatherly advice about college boys.” Mom smiled and nodded, hugging him, but while she looked after Kati, he glanced back at me and winked. I was a little surprised. Was Dad in on the secret too? I almost laughed out loud at how oblivious Mom was, but was able to contain it until they both went back inside.
“What’s so funny?” Chase wore a confused look.
“My Dad was in on it too.” I shook my head. “My mom is crazy.”
We all laughed. “Well I don’t know about you, but I think I’m gonna go home and fall asleep in front of the TV,” Dale said as they all headed for their vehicles. Dale drove a black 2001 mustang, Chase drove an old red Chevy truck, and Louis drove a big green jacked up bronco, with camouflage interior.
“Thanks for helping.” I hugged them all, and when I got to Louis he held me a minute longer than the others. When I broke away, the look on his face said he’d been breathing me in, which would have been weird if I hadn’t been doing the exact same thing. He smelled so good. His Axe was fading and I could smell cedar and pine needles, everything that made up the country was on him and it made me want to melt.
He seemed satisfied with my look and after a slight shake of his head, he climbed into his monster and started the roaring engine. “Wow,” said Sue as she watched him wave before driving off.