DAY TWENTY TWO
"Dad!" I exclaimed as soon as I was past the gates and all of the security of Dayton International Airport.
"Naomi, sweetheart, it's so good to see you! Even if it is a little spur of the moment..." Dad said, scooping me up into a bear hug.
"It's good to see you too, Dad." I smiled, though I'm sure it turned out like more of a grimace.
Dad and I walked leisurely over to the luggage carousel, where I pointed out my suitcase that I had packed last minute when Mom told me when my flight was...
"Naomi?" My mom said as soon as I walked through the door after school.
"Yeah, Mom?" I asked, setting my bookbag, heavy with every single classes books, by the door.
"I booked your flight. You're leaving at ten."
"Oh... Wow... I didn't really think you'd be able to book one for today..." I mumbled, shuffling my feet nervously. Honestly, I was having a few second thoughts about this spur of the moment little trip to the country. But, apparently, I didn't have a choice in the matter anymore. "I'll go pack."
"Naomi, it's ten tomorrow morning, not ten tonight."
"Oh... Still, I should probably go pack."
"Okay, sweetheart. I'll order some pizza for us. Pepperoni and sausage, I presume?" She said, tempting to make a joke and failing.
"Yeah, Mom." I said, and quickly walked into my room.
"So, Naomi, what brought all of this on? You can't honestly expect me not to answer that, honey." He said, watching me grimace.
"I just needed to get away from Buffalo for a little while." I told a half-lie, so it wouldn't be quite so obvious.
"I'm going to pretend like I don't know that ain't the only thing...." He opened the door of his station wagon for me.
"Thank you." I whispered, and tears I fought so hard began to well up in my eyes.
"Sweetie, you know you can visit me anytime. ANYTIME. I mean it. Though I do like to have a little warning beforehand. If it's what you need, you can stay as long as you like." He wrapped me into another bear hug.
I fell asleep on the long car ride to the Middle of Nowhere, as Addie liked to call it. Adam, Addison, and I had all came out over Winter Break one year, and Addie complained because of how long a drive it was to "any good shopping". Which went hand in hand with how long a drive it was from the nearest airport to Dad's house.
When I woke up, I looked up at the country sky. It was sky blue, that one perfect shade of sky blue that you rarely saw in Buffalo. Oh, and the clouds were just big soft bunches of cotton, barely even moving, at least visibly by the naked eye.
Dad's house was an old farm house, a faded white with green shutters around the windows, and a tin roof. The outside was old and warn, and so was the inside, in a different way.
Dad and Honey, my stepmother, had renovated this old place as soon as they moved in. Whole walls had been removed, and unlike my loft back in Buffalo, a plush carpet was all through the house, except for the kitchens and bathrooms, where there was a pattern of white, cerulean, and gold porcelain tiles. The walls were different colors throughout the house, as was the color of the carpet. The kitchen had sunny yellow walls, a muted version of that in the tile. The living room was an antique white. My room was cerulean blue, same as the tiles I had helped pick out.
Plopping onto my bed immediately after entering my bedroom, my true home away from home, I wondered why I didn't spend a little more time here. No, Mom and Dad didn't exactly like each other, and I had heard horror stories about the both of them, but I loved them both. I only visited Dad once or twice a year, depending on whether he had me for Winter Break that year, but I always stayed with him a week or so in the summer.
Truthfully, I knew the answer to my question. As much as I loved it here with my dad and Honey, and the sky, and the smell of the country, and the feel of freedom around me that the city did not provide, I loved Buffalo. I loved the city. I loved living with my mom, in our cozy little loft, no matter how often she came home. I loved the chaos and the rush of the streets of the city. I loved being near my friends.
There was a soft knock at my door, causing me to lose my train of thought. "Naomi?"
"Honey!" I ran to the door, opening it, and tackling her into a hug.
"Hi, Nao." She smiled adoringly at me. I was the closest thing she had to a real daughter, because she was unable to have any kids of her own.
"I missed you, Honey." I sighed. It was good to be home.