Moving Day

Written by Isa Bedigian

The family starts to drift apart as Charlie moves out

"Aren't you supposed to be at work?" Julia asked him after a long pause.
"Yeah, I was there for awhile. Matt and John said they could handle it and gave me the night off."
She glanced at her watch. "It's close to nine o'clock and the sun's still out."
"An advantage of summer." He looked out around him at the busy street and that was when he noticed the unfamiliar car parked just to the left of their house. The blue Camero's windows were open, as though the driver assumed he wouldn't be parked there that long. "Hey Jule? Whose car is that?"
"Keith's. God, I can't believe he's still up there."
"Up where?"
"Daphne's room. He was--"
"Look," Bailey pointed. They fixed their eyes on the tiny sidewalk passage that led from the backyard to the front. Running through there eighty miles an hour and half dressed was Keith. He was carrying his pants and one of his shoes and kept tripping over the untied laces of the one he was wearing. "Was he--"
"He brought Daphne home, around one. He's been hiding up there somewhere ever since."
"No one saw him?"
"Not that I know of."
"I thought Charlie went up to talk to her right after our little meeting."
"He did. I guess they must have hidden him somewhere, the closet maybe. We used to hide in there from Charlie, remember?"
"Yeah. So what were they doing up there?"
Julia gave him a Look.
"They were?"
"You're sure?"
"They were undressing as they came in. And what's more, they were loud. Ask Sarah, she heard it too."
He made a disgusted face. "They had sex in Claudia's old bed."
"It's enough to make you sick. And to think, that used to be my bed. I slept in it 'till I was like ten then we gave it to Claud."
"That thing has alot of history then. Before Daphne moved in, Sarah & I were, uh, here alone and--"
"I don't need to know," she shuddered. "You think we should tell Charlie?"
"About Sarah and me?"
"About the two of them & what they did!"
"Nah. I still want him to name the baby after me."
"Really!" she gave him a playful shove. "Besides, you know he's naming the baby after me."

"So you're saying that we're gonna live here? In this very room?" When Griffin came home, he and Julia had ordered a pizza and were eating it up in the attic while discussing the move.
"Yeah, if you want to." she picked a piece of green pepper off a slice before biting the end off of it.
"Do you want to?"
"Yes, Griffin, I do. I mean, this is my mother's house, you know? We all grew up here. It would be wonderful to raise my children here."
"If you want to live here, I want to live here."
"You sure? It's a big payment to make each month," she teased.
"I think we can handle it," he leaned over and kissed her lips. "I love you," he kissed her stomach. "And I love you too. Hey Jule?"
She swallowed the bite she was chewing. "Yeah?"
"You think it's gonna be a boy or a girl?"
"A girl. The boys already out-number the girls in this family."
"Are you gonna wanna know? The sex, I mean, before it's born."
"I never really thought about it. I guess I wanna know. My mom knew with Owen. We used to pour over these baby name books. I remember Claud liked Ken 'cause of Barbie."
"My parents used to say I wanted to name my sister Rebecaa Rosie. I don't know why." he sighed. "I should call them."
"Why don't you?" he shrugged and changed the subject. "Do you have any opinions on names yet?"
"I dunno. I think that when you have a family like mine--ours--you're kind of obligated to name people after people that have passed away. Not that I don't want to name my kids after those people I just feel pressured to do it."
"We can name our kids anything we want Julia. Their our kids."
"I know, it's just, I guess if it's a boy I wanna name him Nicholas, like my dad."
"Okay." he paused for a second. "Do you like the name Jillian? You know, like Jill?"
"Yeah, it's pretty," she mused for a second. "Diana Jillian would be pretty, doncha think?"
"Great, so we're set if it's a girl. And if it's a boy...."
She leaned her head against his chest. "You tell me."
"I'm not that great with names. When we were kids, we had a dog and a cat and I got to name them 'cause I was the oldest. It was like this big deal to me."
"What names did you pick?"
"Fetch and Meow."
She laughed. "You're right, you aren't good with names."
"Since this place is like ours now, do you wanna redecorate it? Like with new furniture and stuff?"
"Nah. I like it this way." she closed her eyes for a minute. The way my mother liked it, she thought to herself. More and more, it seemed she was slipping into her mother's shoes, and she didn't mind it at all.

The days before Charlie moved were busy. Julia and Griffin moved all their stuff into the master bedroom & Griffin re-painted it pale blue since Charlie had painted it beige awhile ago. Claudia took up residence in the newly vacant attic, since Bailey and Sarah were still happy to be in the apartment. Julia came in while Claud was hanging posters of some of her violin idols.
"Whatcha doin?"
"Making this room scream 'Claudia!' I wanna have a great room to come home to. You know, on breaks and stuff."
"That's great Claud."
"We're falling apart aren't we?"
"No, we're drifting." Julia sat on the bed. "We're all grown up now, 'cept for Owen. We've got our own lives, our own families even. When you leave, it's gonna be me and Owen."
"And Daphne."
She rolled her eyes. "Don't remind me. And she's not a Salinger."
Claudia sat next to her. "I can't help wondering if it would be like this if Mom and Dad were here."
"Everything would be different if Mom and Dad were here. I probably wouldn't be married--"
"I just wonder......would I even be going? Or would I have gone to the conservatory? I mean I don't even know--"
"They'd be proud of us no matter what Claud. I mean, they are. Of what we've done, of the way we've stuck together."
"We're not sticking together now. I don't even know if I should go to Andover anymore. I'm not sure if I ever really wanted it or if I was just doing it to escape Charlie's illness."
"Can you close your eyes and picture yourself there?"
"Then you should go."
"If I go away, I'll miss when the baby is born."
"Mine or Charlie's?"
"Both!" she threw herself back on the bed. "It's so hard."
"Life is hard. You know, I felt the same way as you when I went off to Stanford."
"Right, and you came right back."
"I came back because I'm pregnant, Claudia. I figured it's better for my baby-to-be to evolve in a family environment as opposed to a breathing in pot smoke and watching my dormmates puke."
"Is 'dormmates' a word?"
"I doubt it." she giggled. "Claudia, the point is, you'll know if you belong there as soon as you get there. It always comes eventually."
"Do you know where you belong? You didn't come home until you found out you were pregnant."
"That told me where I belong. Here, in this house, taking care of things."
She smiled. "Like Mom."
"That's what I keep thinking."
"I miss her."
"I miss her too."
"And I'm gonna miss you."
She gave her a hug. "Ditto."

"You're taking your drafting table?" Bailey asked. He'd seen Charlie struggling to tie it down onto the truck bed and decided to come down and help him.
"Yeah, the apartment has this great extra bedroom, I'm gonna turn it into a studio. Maybe design a crib even, if I can get going in time."
"That'd be great. I'm not sure where we put Owen's old one." Bailey leaned over and held part of the table down while Charlie tied it. "It's gonna be weird, you know. To come over here, and you won't be here."
"I'll be around. Every day, to check on Daphne. And Julia." he smiled.
"It's not the same and you know it."
"You think they'll be okay without me around to referee?" He knew Julia & Daphne didn't exactly adore each other.
"They'll be fine."
"You'll come by, like when I can't."
"You should see Kirsten." he secured the last rope. "She's so excited. She bought a huge stuffed Snuggle bear, you know from the fabric softner? And she bought all these clothes, some pink, some blue, so that either way, we're prepared."
"This is too weird, you being a dad."
"And Jule being a mom."
"That's the strangest." Bailey couldn't picture his little sister eight months pregnant.
They were both silent for a few minutes, just staring at the truck. They were all packed up, this was the last load.
"I'd better go. Kirsten is waiting."
Bailey wondered why they were the only ones there. "Where're the girls?"
"Upstairs crying."
"Grocery shopping with Sarah."
"I guess it's better this way."
Charlie nodded and threw his arms around him. Bailey blinked away tears. Without saying anything else, Charlie pulled away and got into the truck. He gave Bay a quick wave and drove off. Bailey stood there, watching the table rattle as Charlie approached the hill at the end of their street. "One down," he said quietly. He thought of the day when Claud would leave for Andover. "One to go."

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