Arrival with Jessica
You ready to go see Jess, Rachel asked as the alarm clock blared. We had to get to Portland to catch our train, and we had to get moving. Rachel and I were on our own getting to the train station, and for whatever reason the train station here in Vancouver didn’t have a bus connection.
We will have simple bowls of cereal then get the bus, Rachel explained as she started to get dressed,
We will arrive in Tacoma around lunch time and have a meal with Jessica.
The bus dropped us off at the mall and Rachel pointed to another bus,
That’s ours to Downtown Vancouver. One more bus to Downtown Portland and finally a bus to Portland Union Station.
We were ushered onto the train when it was time and soon, we were crossing the Columbia River back into Washington state. It felt weird passing back through Vancouver, but it was what it was. I put my arm around my sister, and we started talking about how life was. We hated this divorce life, and I missed life with both girls. I started tearing up as I thought about the good old days. Going to the park with my sisters and cousins and just spending the day there.
Hey, you ok, Rachel asked, noticing the tears in my eyes.
Just thinking about the old days with all of us, I whispered, as my baby sister allowed me to snuggle up with her as the train rolled on,
I do miss having both of you at home with me.
We miss being at your side too. Let’s look forward to a week with Jessica, My sister said, happily letting me cuddle up with her.
The train eventually dropped us off in Tacoma, with a very angry Jessica waiting in her wheelchair for us. She pulled both of us into a hug and said,
What the hell was daddy thinking leaving you two stranded in Downtown Portland?
Out getting drunk with friends apparently, Rachel snorted,
Noelle’s mother was in the right place at the right time and got us home safely.
Yes she was. Now, bus fare, Jessica said, handing us cards,
Up here, just show it to the bus driver when you get on. If you two get on the express buses, the blue and white ones, the operator might ask for ID.
ID only on the express buses, I asked.
They won’t ask on local buses because these cards are based on the price of a single bus ride. Local buses are $1.50 for adults, but the express buses are normally $3. However, as youth, you can ride for $1.50. That’s why they might ask for ID, Jessica explained. She then looked at her watch and said,
It is almost time for the #500 to Federal Way, and we need to cross the street to catch it.
As we exited the train station, I noticed that the pass had the month of June on it.
Jess, how long is this pass good for, I asked as we crossed the street.
It is good for the whole month. We will talk about it when we get to my apartment, Jessica replied as we finished crossing the street. It was a short five minute wait and a bus marked #500 Federal Way was picking us up.
I am getting off at the transit center, Jessica said as she wheeled onto the bus and parked herself in the wheelchair area. The bus was reasonably full and she said to us,
Find anywhere to sit, and we are getting off at the very last stop at the Federal Way Transit Center.
Rachel and I found a seat together in the back of the bus, and she said to me,
The original plan was that we were going to stay with Jessica for the two weeks she was on vacation. That wasn’t supposed to be until next week. My little sister started hugging me and said,
I’m just happy to be able to see Jess sooner.
We arrived at Federal Way and exited out the back door while waiting for our sister. A moment later, she wheeled off of the bus and said,
I live across the street on South 317th. You two are probably hungry, and I can order us a pizza. We have much to catch up to do.
We finally entered Jessica’s place, and it felt good to no longer be dragging around a backpack and a suitcase.
You two, please have a seat. I will be up front and say that I am very, very angry with daddy right now for leaving you two to fend for yourselves. This is why, Michael, you noticed that you have a monthly pass. You two are going to be spending time with me. Rachel, I am sorry that we hid this from you, and we hope you understand: your brother and I shielded you from the brunt of the lack of care from our father. We did it because we love you, and wanted to protect you. Jessica started to have a tear in her eye as she and I both explained all the times that her and I were both let down by our father. By the time we were done explaining everything to Rachel, all three of us were crying and cuddling with each other.
Are you two hungry, Jessica asked, after trying to calm herself down,
I can order us a pizza or something.
I won’t say no to pizza, I said.
Drinks, Rachel asked.
I have drinks here, Jessica replied,
You two go help yourselves.
Where should we place our suitcases with clothes, Rachel asked.
Want to sleep with me like we did back in Delaney Street? One room is the bedroom and the other is the office, Jessica replied as she pulled out her phone,
I’m going to order mushroom and sausage. That good for you both?
We will make it work, I called back through the hall. I took one look at the bed and saw how big it was, compared to the bed in the other room.
What do you say Rachel, the three of us here, I asked.
Sure. I think that is what Jess was suggesting, My little sister replied.
We came back to the living room, and Jessica said,
Pizza should be here in about 30 minutes. Now, it has been fa-regular too long since we have been together as a family, and I want to make the most of having both of you with me. Jessica hugged both of us and continued,
I really missed both of you and I wish we could be back together for longer. Now, we need to talk logistics. Vacation was not supposed to start until next week. I am giving you both two options while I go to work: either you can stay home, or if you want to go explore I don’t mind, but you will have to wait for me to return since I can’t give you a key.
There might be days we want to explore, but there might be days we want to relax. You wanted to take us on a big trip during your vacation, Rachel said.
I did, but now I do not want daddy to come. You two are coming, obviously. Thank goodness for trip insurance, Jessica groaned.
Wait, big trip? What’s going on, I asked.
Rachel covered her mouth, as if she spilled a big secret. Jessica said,
This was supposed to be a surprise for you, but I was going to fly us to Newport. It was going to be the four of us, but now I don’t think I want daddy to come with us. Rachel, don’t worry, I’m not mad at you. We are all stressed about what daddy did.
There was a knock on the door, and Jessica said,
Should be our pizza. She went to answer the door, and yes it was our pizza.
Dinner you two. Help yourself to drinks in my kitchen.
Rachel and I were grateful to have some food in our systems as I pondered what we were going to be doing. I was excited to be going to visit my birth home of Newport. I would’ve been just two when we left, Jessica would’ve been six, and Rachel was born just before we moved to Virginia. I started wondering what things would be like, and now I was also having to wonder what was going to happen if Dad didn’t come to drive us.
The phone rang, and Jessica answered. In an annoyed voice, she said,
Yes they are with me. Yes they are fine, and it is a damn good thing they didn’t get hurt after AWF. No, you didn’t just forget because Rachel was only excited about watching wrestling live for the past three weeks counting down the days. No, you may not talk to them. Don’t you tell me what to do in my house. Jessica then angrily hung up the phone, and turned to us.
Yeah, that was our father. No I don’t think he is truly sorry about last night; he was just saying the words without meaning it. She then took a breath and said,
I’m sorry I yelled. It isn’t you two that I am mad at.
After we finished eating, Rachel threw the pizza box into the trash and said,
I think tomorrow we should rest after an all day ride up here. We can go exploring another day.
I put my arm around my little sister and tried to stifle a yawn.
I don’t want to stay up too much longer. I’m still getting used to West Coast Time.
I understand, Jessica said,
We can at least get changed into night clothes.
We got changed, and Jessica said,
Let’s climb into bed together and we can watch TV until we get sleepy or something. It’s what, almost 11 PM eastern right now? Michael, you let us know when you can’t stay up any longer.
I let out a large yawn, and Jessica said,
One hour of TV at most then while you get used to the time difference.
I struggled to stay up even the one hour, and Jessica said,
Let’s try to sleep. You two can either stay home or go out. If you stay here, you have to stay because you don’t have keys, but if you go out, you have to be out and about until I am done work for the same reason: you don’t have keys.
Tomorrow I want to rest I think, I yawned,
I only got here a couple of days ago, and was not expecting to take an all day train ride today.