The Move

Annabeth stood on the porch of the house her Aunt Sara had left her waiting for the movers to arrive. The house was an old yellow Victorian with burgundy awnings and shutters, and she had loved this house since childhood. She had been living in Chicago for the last 10 years. She missed her aunt dearly. It was quiet here in Beacon Falls, Connecticut. Something she was not used to. But after getting out of a 5-year toxic relationship, and with a new job on the horizon, she was equally ready and excited for this next chapter of life. 

Looking down at her Apple watch, she realized she had a little time to run to the store and grab some last-minute items she needed for the weekend of unpacking ahead. She locked the house up, hopped in her CR-V, and started down the road towards the general store. It was a beautiful mild October afternoon and the sun shining through the orange and gold leaves on the trees seemed to give new life to this sleepy town.

Annabeth pulled into the parking lot of Beacon Falls General Store and was already calculating the extra time she would need in the mornings for the commute to work. Even though everything was close it took double the time to get anywhere because of the slower speed limit. 25mph was much slower than the 45mph she was used to. Not to mention the traffic lights seemed to last forever. Getting out of the car and looking at the piece of paper in her hand, she double checked her list. She needed 60w light bulbs, some amps for the breaker, and a new mop, bucket, and rags. The cashier, a little white-haired man, in an apron greeted her as soon as she entered the store. Something else she was not used to. 

The store was out of amps and would not have any for a week and a half. Great. She thought sarcastically, hoping that no fuses would blow before then. She grabbed the bulbs she needed and was about to head to aisle three where the mops and buckets were when she realized she was blocked in by two little old ladies with their carts side by side. Turning around to go the other way, she realized the whole aisle was full and she was stuck waiting either way. The ladies were talking to each other about their ailments. She was starting to panic about the time but stood politely for a moment, hoping they would be quick. After a few minutes of Arthritis this, and sciatica that, Annabeth glanced at her watch. She was running out of time. She sighed to herself and meekly said, “Excuse me, may I pass through?” The two women startled and turned. “Oh, dear, we’re in this sweet girl’s way and I’m sure she has better things to do than listen to us all day.” One lady said to the other. “Our apologies dear!”  said the other lady. Annabeth waited for them to move to the sides of the aisle and passed looking at her watch again. She had to hurry to meet the movers now or she would be late, and she hated being late. 

Going down aisle three to the mops and buckets she looked them over and decided to go with a mop and bucket combo because the bucket had a spin out part for the mop. The rags were next to the mops. Finally, some luck, she thought and grabbed a pack and headed to the checkout. 

“Of course, there would be line too.”, she thought as she got behind a man who happened to be third in line. She pulled out her phone and was doomscrolling Facebook when she realized the line was not moving. She was the only one in the store that did not know anyone else, and everyone was talking to each other about the chilly weather coming up, deer hunting season, and the holidays. Annabeth wondered if this is what life in rural America is like every day?! Her patience was growing thinner by the minute, and she thought of the city and how she missed curbside pick-ups and the anonymity of walking into the store and getting what she needed and getting back out in minutes and not having to wait for items to come in because they were always in stock. She had things to do, and these people were just not getting it. She had to get back to the house, so she did not miss the movers. Part of her shamefully contemplated leaving the cart right where she was in line so she could get back in time, but she didn’t. She had made it this far. 

When she finally reached the register the cashier, named Joe, according to his tag, started to ring her up. After exchanging pleasantries during the cash out he told her “Welcome to the neighborhood.” She thanked him and rushed out the door to hurry back to the house. Three long red lights and a car going shockingly lower than the speed limit later, she pulled into her driveway right before the moving truck pulled in. She had made it just in time. 

After the movers left, Annabeth sat in her aunt’s old recliner, reflecting on her day. She was so frustrated and feeling so rushed during her trip to the store and she despised feeling rushed. But then she had another thought too. She did not get stuck in rush hour traffic, which always made her feel trapped and claustrophobic. She did not pass any awful wrecks on the road or had to be re-routed for one. People spoke to her today and they were warm and sincere. She thought back to a visit she had with Aunt Sara in childhood for Halloween and remembered how they blocked off the side roads to give the kids safe space to run back and forth to houses without the fear of being hit. In the city everything was online, immediate, and so fast that you never really had time to think, only react. But here in Beacon Falls, she had something she never realized she was missing, connection. With this final thought Annabeth fell asleep listening to the crickets outside and felt peace. 

Written By: Tamecka Nave

Designed By: Michelle Headley

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