The Days of Their Lives

Written by Isa Bedigian

In the year 2020, Julia and Griffin move back into the Salinger house, and Julia reflects on the events of the past years.

May 28th, 2020

"Griffin!" Julia was looking everywhere. In the empty closets, under the beds, in the dressers they'd chosen to leave behind. She found nothing. "GRIFFIN!"
He hobbled into the bedroom, his knee was bothering him yet again. "What? What is it?"
"Did you check everywhere? Make sure we'd packed everything?"
"I did my best. Why don't you ask the kids?"
She walked past him to the top of the staircase. "Nicholas! Sarah! Dorian!"
Sarah walked over from the kitchen. She was holding a large hair stick in her teeth and was winding her hair up into a messy bun. "Whu-ut?"
"Did you check everywhere to make sure we hadn't left anything behind?"
She placed the stick in her hair and let the ends of her hair fall over her forehead like bangs. "Mom, we're leaving half the furniture."
"You know what I mean. Where's your sister?"
"Probably with Jarod. You know how she is about leaving him."
Julia shook her head as she walked back into her bedroom. "God. You'd think we were moving to England, she'll be ten minutes from him."
"Ah come on, give her a break," Griffin put his arms around her. "Don't you remember what we were like at that age?"
She shoved his arm away. "That's what I'm worried about."

An hour later, Nick had returned from a "last date" with his girlfriend Kayli. He'd brought her home with him and she was sniffling as the movers loaded the last pieces of furniture into the moving van.
Julia came down the stairs and tossed her last duffle onto the floor. She looked around her at her three children and their significant others, all blubbering like babies. "Come on you guys. We are moving eleven miles from here. ELEVEN! And you're moving back to the house you lived in as babies. I don't understand."
Dorian sniffled. "Jarod & I had our first kiss here."
"So? If you beat us to the house you can have alot of firsts there." Sarah rolled her eyes. "Gregg is going away to college in the fall. This is our last summer together, and he's not going to be down the hill anymore."
"You're right. He's across the bridge. Kayli can't drive." Nick complained. "What are we going to do?"
"I give up." Julia walked into the kitchen and stared for a few last minutes at the house. She sat on one of the chairs and all of a sudden, she could see Nick crawling around the floor and the girls playing with their dolls and their mini kitchens in the corner. She was sad to be leaving the house her children had grown up in, but at the same time, she was thrilled and relieved to be moving back into the house she'd grown up in.
When Charlie had offered her the house back, she wasn't sure she wanted it. It had taken her a good month to think about it. She loved the house she was living in, but she kept realising that if she wasn't living there, a stranger would be. Someone who wasn't a Salinger.
She'd wished so badly she could ask her mother about it, but she kept remembering that if her mother were alive, her mother would be living in the house and there wouldn't be any question about where she'd live.
Griffin had promised that he'd do whatever she wanted to do, and she knew he meant it. The kids weren't as happy about the move, but she knew they'd adjust to it eventually. And she knew the twins would adore having their own rooms for once.
So much had changed since she'd last lived in that house. When she moved out, Bailey and Sarah moved in. They'd gotten married and had six children; three of their own, three they'd adopted. They were moving to new house Charlie had built near LA where the new Salingers was being built. Owen was going to run the original one and had gotten his own apartment. Sometimes when Julia looked at him, she still saw him as the baby she used to read to and play with on the weekends when Charlie worked.
Charlie. She admired him so much. Even after he'd divorced Daphne, he'd gotten full custody of Diana and built himself a house. He and Kirsten finally had gotten married and adopted two little boys, Ethan and Alex. They'd started up a furniture company called "Salinger and Sons", and she was sure Charlie had finally gotten all the happiness he deserved.
The phone rang, snapping Julia out of her reverie. She answered it, and it was Claudia.
"Jule, guess what?"
"Tell me."
"Well, first of all, Mike's really buying us a house."
"That's great Claud."
"And Charlie's gonna fix it up for us."
"Even better."
"And I have more news."
"I'm pregnant."
Julia would have enveloped her little sister into a huge hug right at that moment if she could have. "That's great Claud. Congratulations."
"Don't tell anyone ok? I only told Bailey, and I'll tell everyone as like an announcement on Friday at the opening."
"Promise." Julia thought it would be a good idea to tell everyone at the party Friday. Not only was the family getting a new Salingers, they were getting a new baby as well.
Julia got off the phone and noticed Griffin standing in the doorway. "Who was that?"
"Claudia. She's--she's getting a house."
"Cool. We're ready."
"All the boyfriends and girlfriends are gone?"
"Actually, everyone's gone. It's just us. The kids went off on their own. They said they'd see us tonight."
"It's just as well, I guess." she shrugged. "You ready?" "If you are." She kissed his cheek and they set off to move back into the house. Again.

January 14th, 2022

The entire Salinger family was crowded into Claudia's kitchen. "Happy bithday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Baylee, happy birthday to you!"
"And many more," Kirsten added.
"Don't we have to sing 'How Old Are You?'?" Owen asked. His new girlfriend, Erica, gave him a playful shove. She shook her head. "Guys."
Claudia leaned over her daughter's high chair. "You wanna help me blow out the candle Baylee?" The baby just smiled, but Claudia blew the candle out and kissed her daughter on the cheek. "Happy birthday sweetheart."

Later, when everyone but Julia had gone, Claudia pulled her aside. "I just wanna tell you thanks."
"For what?"
"For helping me like this, and for all your advice, and for the baby clothes." they both laughed. "And most of all for the bracelet." Julia had bought Baylee a charm bracelet identical to the one Claudia had. "It really means alot to me. To us."
"I know. Claudia?"
"I'll race you to the leftover cake!"
The two girls took off, racing like children into the kitchen, just like old times.