How did we end up here? That seems to be the question of the year. Two months ago I had my family together, a home, a job and as much of a social life as one can have with two active teenagers, a husband and a full time career. Today, we have nothing and my husband is missing.
That’s it? That’s the best I can do writing in my own diary? Maybe journal writing isn't my thing after all, I have never written a diary entry a day in my life. Mama!” Startling me out of my thoughts my thirteen year old yelled as she ran into the room. I looked up and took in my surroundings. Across the room from me is a tan sofa with a worn, beige and chocolate Afghan draped over the back. Family portraits hang haphazardly on the wall behind the sofa. On my left a large mahogany book shelf runs the length of the room. Old books mixed with new. In my old life this room was my sanctuary. This is the first time I have been in here since that horrific nightmarish day two months ago.
I lock eyes with my daughter and snap out of the trance I was in. “What is it, Rayne?” I ask. I notice the look of confusion and worry in her dark brown eyes. “I’ve been trying to call you for an hour. What’s wrong? You never showed up after softball practice. Jenna’s mom brought me home. You know Jenna and I don’t get along. Are you sick?” Rayne gushes in typical Rayne fashion. “Oh honey, I am so sorry. Time got away from me.” Yes, that’s me mother of the year. “Mother this is the fifth time in two months you have forgot Raylan or me. What’s going on? Dad has been gone a lot longer than usual. Are you guys getting a divorce? Is that why he hasn’t come home or called? I know you’ve been crying a lot. You don’t have to treat us like babies.” I stare at the miniature version of myself. She isn't quite five foot yet but stands in front of me with an air of confidence that I did not have at her age, long curly chestnut hair hangs in a disheveled ponytail down her back, she's still wearing her practice clothes. She has my temperament along with my stubbornness but her keen observation skills came from her father. Her observation skills have always been one of the personality traits I have loved the most since she was a toddler.I slowly released the breath that I didn’t realize I was holding. “Where is Raylan?” I stray away from her line of questioning. I haven’t had the strength or the courage to tell my kids that I don’t know where their father is. I don’t know if he’s coming home and frankly speaking if I want him to come home. The nightmare Damon left me in is incomprehensible how could they ever understand? “Raylan is at football practice" she tells me. I nod, "How about we go get Ray and swing by and get a pizza from Jimmy's Pizza?" I ask her. "Sure whatever mom," she retorts as she turns to stomp out of the sitting room. I sigh, teenage years are hard enough, Damon damn sure didn't make it any easier. I toss my journal on the end table as I take another look around the room. There was a time I found comfort here. With my cozy oversized chair and ottoman, the fireplace to my right, all of my books and the silence; once upon a time this was my sanctuary. Uncurling myself out of the oversized arm chair I stand and walk to the door.
"Ma, don't forget I have to turn the permission slip in for my trip to D.C by Friday," Raylan tells me as we finally sit down to eat. Practice ran over so Rayne and I waited thirty minutes at the field. Jimmy's pizza was unusually busy for a Tuesday by the time we made it home and both kids showered it was eight o’clock, my desire to crawl into bed was strong. "Ray, we need to talk about D.C," I say. Raylan is top of his class 3.9 GPA and one of two kids selected from his sophomore class to be invited to Washington D.C with the honor society and I can't afford to send him. "I am old enough to go by myself mom. You and dad said I could months ago. I keep calling him but his phone goes straight to voicemail. Is he ever going to call us back? You can't even leave a message his mail box is full.” I fall back into reality. I push away from the table hoping I can dodge this conversation one more time. Once I tell Raylan why he can’t go to D.C, I will have to be completely honest with them. Being completely honest with them means this is real and I can’t fix it. “I know baby we will discuss this tomorrow. Finish up and get started on homework. I'm going to shower," I tell them as I put my dishes in the dishwasher. Tears are building up and I have to get out of here. I head straight for the bedroom. It’s not fair to the...