Darling Come Home is the first novel I wrote, and I'm hoping to find a home for it soon. This is what it's like:
Mama left the refrigerator door open. You’re not supposed to—we can’t afford to refrigerate the whole house—so I closed it—but she opened it again, said, “Leave it open.” It isn’t turned on so it’s okay I guess. And there’s boxes everywhere, and our stuff is everywhere, just a little unpacked, but not put away. No one is saying to clean up: This is the new place. It seems like we’re always moving, but Mama never says why, when, or where. Now we are in the new place, right after school, without even a warning. And it’s in Ithaca. I’ve been here before, a few times. Mama says she didn’t want to come back here ever, but she changed her mind I guess. I think because she got a job. Or there are better jobs. She can get a job. I was looking for Alida’s grass skirt that she wore last year for Halloween. She was a hula girl, which I know is dumb but that’s not what I’m gonna use it for. I have a plan. I couldn’t find it though, so I ended up climbing into a box I’d emptied. Mama said, “Get out of that box,” and “look at this mess!” Sometimes I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing. Everything was everywhere: Clothes—her clothes and mine—the kitchen clock with the hearts, a hair straightener, some plates, Mama’s address book and a bunch of papers. It looked like the my-room-box from the top, but Mama packs boxes more like the every-room-box every time, so you can’t find anything. “Clean up,” she said. “Leave the things in their boxes for now.” I asked about the skirt and she said, “I don’t know where it is.” But I saw her take a bag of trash clothes, and I bet it was in there. She took it and got rid of it I know she did. I told her I saw her take it and she said, “Oh, that thing was a rag. You don’t want that. We’ll get you a princess costume maybe. You don’t want to be the same thing two years in a row.” That made me mad because it wasn’t me that was a hula dancer, and I don’t want to be a stupid hula dancer like Alida. I’m going to be Gary the Green Lion, and the skirt will be my mane. She didn’t care though, and then she went to the store, but not to buy me a costume I don’t think. To buy food. And smokes. She left both doors open when she left, refrigerator and freezer. We have to leave them that way until the ice melts and the smell is gone. It’s already been a few hours and I don’t think the smell will probably ever be gone. Smells like old old leaves and cheese. Like Alida’s stupid blanket when Mama said she had to throw it away and then they burned it. There’s no food in the refrigerator while it dries out, and there isn’t any in the cupboards either. We didn’t have much food when we left the last place, but here there’s none, just the rain puddling out of the refrigerator. I try to catch the drops in empty tin cans from the recycling bin—we didn’t even have time to go to the dump when we moved, it just stayed in the car. I have four cans in the refrigerator and I put towels on the floor because the boxes are getting wet. Mama will be upset. Look at this mess.