The editors at Trifecta have given us a photo prompt this weekend. We are responding to a picture of a man carrying a shit-ton of luggage through some kind of a terminal, and for me, the central question is “Why does he have a carseat?“
Julie would have met him at the airport. Brian could have turned around and been on the next flight. But it eased things for all of them if he took one extra day to say goodbye. Macy’s carseat thumped every time he swung his arms. But by bringing it to use in the rental, he held onto her fruit candy scent a little while longer after he went back home. Three months wasn’t enough.
At Julie’s, the kids threw themselves at their mother, then dashed out into the back yard with her giant dog. Julie said, “It sounds like they still get along really well with Cerise. Not as much of an adjustment as when I married Mark.”
“Like a house afire.” But Brian remembered those ‘adjustment’ calls. Trying to calm Josh from four hundred miles away without denigrating either his ex-wife or her new spouse to the children they held between them.
“That makes what I need to tell you a little easier, I guess.”
“And what would that be?”
“This travel is bad for the kids, Brian. We need to make it stop. We need to change our custody arrangement.” A thousand protests rose into his mind, but before he could voice them, Julie continued. “Mark starts a new job in October. It’s all travel. We’ll barely see him. It doesn’t matter where we live. We’re moving.”
“Moving where?” Brian tried to keep his voice level, but he knew it rose.
“If it wouldn’t make you and Cerise uncomfortable, we could even come to the same neighborhood. And I think it would be best for Josh to start the school year with you, even if Mark and I wind up living on the other side of town.”
Brian concealed his shaking hands by gripping Julie’s counter. The car seat. The luggage. Never again. In that moment, he loved his ex-wife more than he had for years before their divorce.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.