When we pulled in to Josie's driveway last night, the sign was right there, for everyone to see.
The sight of the sign had an immediate impact on Theo. Gone in a second was the laughing kid who had been going on about his experience that day at PAX in Boston. No more talk about chicken hats or obscure video games or scantily clad women. In his place, a scowling teen-ager reminded of something he'd prefer to forget.
He barely said good-bye to Corb or me. He mumbled "I don't like that," slammed the door shut and slouched into her house.
Thirty minutes later, a message from Josie: "Theo saw the sign and he's not talking to me."
"I was wondering if he saw it," I texted back. "I'm sorry. Maybe you should talk to him?"
"I'm going to give him some space," was her response.
"I just don't get your kids," said Corb to me, later that night, over dinner at our favorite dive. "This whole thing should be like a big adventure to them. A new chapter. When my my mom sold our house, I was all excited. I couldn't wait to see where we were going to go next."
I conveniently decided not to remind him that where he ended up after that wasn't all that great and instead dug into the mashed potato on my plate. "I can see it," I replied, after a few bites and a quick swig of diet coke. "When my dad wanted to move us to a new place my sophomore in high school, I was totally upset. We were so bad we actually convinced him not to move, even though it was for a big huge promotion. It was actually kind of a Meet Me In St. Louis moment." I thought about that for a bit. "Maybe that's what Theo is hoping will happen."
"You were a sophomore, he's a senior," Corb pointed out. "He's going away to college in September, anyway."
"But that's why it's even more upsetting," I replied. "His life is going to totally change in six months. "He wants to have the security of knowing that when he comes back, nothing will have changed. At least, at first."
Corb shook his head and continued eating his burger. Sometimes he is not the most sympathetic of people.
On the plus side, the realtor also gave Josie a lead on a great condo that she is selling that has a lot of room, is in great shape, and seems affordable. Josie has been convinced that she won't be able to take out a mortgage, due to the college loans for Ashes, but she has a good job she's been at for years and good credit rating (something I didn't have when I first started looking for a house). I think that hearing this from someone else helped. So, it made Josie feel more hopeful about the future...even if Theo is feeling sad about the past.