"There's no easy way to put this, so I'm just going to come right out and say it. When I touch you I see dead people..."
Hayden's father moves her across Country in hopes that a change of scenery will help her cope with the death of the mother. Only Hayden is reluctant to let go, and becomes more so when she meets, Cole her troublesome neighbor. Cole is a delinquent medium, who has been burdened with fulfilling the wishes of the dead, and also the last link Hayden has to her mother .
I play her voice like a broken record over and over in my head. I'm terrified that if I don't I might forget what it sounds like. Although it hurts to remember. So instead I imagine. I imagine a word in which she still exists This is how I spend the majority of my days, trapped in my head and in this world with my mother.
I know it's selfish, I'm not the only one who's grieving here. There's dad and Noah, my younger brother. So I come back to reality. I snap out it when I can remember too.
Without warning a semi truck veers into our lane cutting us off to get ahead of a slow car. Dad blares the horn and I curse under my breath, as I'm jolted back to reality.
-“Hayden, that's a little unladylike like don't you think?” He asks lightly.
I nod in response, I know he's not bothered. In fact he prefers hearing me swear over the silence. I peer out the passenger window at the sight of the ocean. The water looks irritated, a dark reflection of the clouds overhead.
“ Sunnyville? I hope this town lives up to it's name." Dad says with feigned cheerfulness.
I try to smile, although as part of our unspoken agreement it's supposed to be Noah's turn to smile at Dad's lame humor. He's passed out in the back. I shove my ear pieces in and turn up my iPod because I can't take the sound of mom's silence or the absence of her playful banter with dad. Without her the trip from Pennsylvania to California is not only agonizingly long but borderline unbearable. I hit the shuffle button. My ears fill with the bittersweet lyrics of the Almond Brother's Soul Shine, my mother's favorite song.
Hours later we pull up in front of a Malibu barbie type house quite the stretch from the Pennsylvania farm I grew up on. It's the first time Noah and I have seen it, we exchange looks with each other. We're looking at a towering salmon pink Mexican style Chateau. I can tell by Noah's wide eyed expression that he's also wondering how on earth dad could afford this. A horrid thought hits me like a lightning bolt. "Dad, Mom's life insurance?"
"What?" It takes my father a moment to process what I'm asking, " Jeez Hay, I would never. It was a foreclosure home and I had been putting money away since...." He lets his words fade. There's no need for him to finish, I already know what he was going to say, Since your mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Dad gives us a tour of the house, He moved in most of our stuff with his business partner Jerry a few days ago. The house has a large open layout a foyer leading into the house on the left are two colonial looking doors opening up to a huge historic looking library slash office. On the right is the living room has a twenty gallon built in fish tank and a large window structure that takes up one whole wall of two stories.
The floor looks like it's real hard wood, it leads into, an eat in kitchen with a sliding glass door leading to a large patio that houses a built in hot tub and descending stairs that lead down to an infinity pool with a beautiful fountain in the middle. It's hard to believe this house was a foreclosure home, but I don't push the question on Dad again, I know he's just trying to keep me and Noah happy given the situation. He points to the remaining yard.
"I can set up a basketball court for you over there Noah." Dad says. Noah nods happily. He's perfectly okay with the idea of being bought, "And Hayden we'll get you a trampoline to practice new cheer moves."
Back home I was on the cheer leading squad, and I loved every minute of it, but now simple pleasures like that seem vain and pointless. I shrug, "Honestly Dad, I don't feel much like cheering anymore dad." He doesn't say anything but puts a hand on my shoulder to let me know he understands.
Back inside I find a set of potentially dangerous spiral stairs at the end of the foyer. I cautiously make my way up them. There are four bedrooms, Dad will obviously get the master bedroom. But I choose one with a wide window it's closest to the neighbors house but I don't care because I have my own bathroom and a large walk in closet, that is bigger than my old bedroom in PA, I plug my ear pieces back in and hole up in the closet until Noah comes to get me hours later. He gives me a weird look and tells me it's time for dinner.