Leaving Rainbow House (Short Story)

by on October 19th, 2014
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This story takes place right after “It’s Hot.”

It was early November, and the foster children at Rainbow House had recently gotten news they were to be leaving soon. Their father had finally gotten custody of the children after 8 months. On the day he came to pick up his kids, Dawn was outside sitting patiently in the sandbox, obliviously digging her hand into the sand and slowly lifting it to feel the sand slip through her fingers. Staring down the road that led to the driveway of Rainbow House, she was anticipating her father to appear at any moment. Her siblings were scattered about the yard, keeping themselves occupied.

Before long, she saw her father pull into the driveway, his sleeved arm hanging casually out the driver’s side window of his blue station wagon – his usual trademark when he was driving. When he pulled up next to the house, his demeanor was calm, but the excitement could not be contained among his children as soon as he appeared.

One by one, the children rose from where they were, simultaneously shouting, “Daddy!” and flailing their arms in the air as if they were cheering for their favorite team at a football game. What little luggage they had packed was waiting near the front entrance of the house, it seemed to take only seconds to place the bags in the car and head out. The children said goodbye eagerly to their foster family waiting on the stoop of the house, and they quickly waved the kids off in return.

The children were all smiles being reunited with their father, all five kids scrunched tightly side by side with their luggage in the back of the car and tucked under our feet. They didn’t know what the future brought but they didn’t care. They were back with their father. Daddy. Their hero.

While the children lived at Rainbow House, their father made many visits on the weekends. During one of his visitations, he informed his children that he and their mother had finalized their divorce. The kids asked him what that meant and he replied uncomfortably that it meant Mommy and Daddy weren’t going to be together anymore at all. The kids were speechless at his announcement but in Dawn’s mind, she didn’t think it was true. And today, she thought, her family was beginning to mend itself, so surely her mother would want to come back and her parents wouldn’t fight anymore.

Most importantly, they were getting back their baby sister, Lydia. She had been staying at another foster home having no connection to Rainbow House. During their stay in foster care, the children saw their baby sister only during visitations with their father. Today however, was more than just a brief visitation, they were picking her up for good. By now she was over a year old, and able to walk on her own. Her hair had grown in little golden waves around her face, and her she was very shy around her siblings. She hadn’t remembered being around them much.

After picking up Lydia, Edan asked where their older brother, Jason was. His father hesitated a moment before answering, “Right now, he’s living with your mother in Staunton.” Was the only explanation offered. Edan seemed confused, and wanted to press further when his father became silent and stared straight ahead, momentous to the road. Why was Jason living with mom? Had he been living with her all this time?

The kids didn’t spend too much time asking about Jason’s whereabouts, as their father seemed reluctant to talk about it. They were subdued enough after being liberated from foster care. The children didn’t even pay attention to how long they were on the road to their new home, Aunt Krista’s house in Bristow.

Their new home was located just outside the city and eventually the car took a turn down a country road of gravel. The children became silent as they felt the crunch of rocks under the tires and seeing dirt fly up around the car. Aunt Krista’s home was built in the middle of a wooded area, with her neighbors dispersed several yards from one another. She had a small backyard and beyond it there was nothing but a long stretch of forest. She had a shed a few yards away from the house, containing outdoor yard tools and equipment for house maintenance.

Naturally, it was a pretty quiet neighborhood, with not much to do. She had many pets: dogs and cats, which were either free-roaming the premises or kept in a cage in the backyard.

Aunt Krista’s house was very small, and a little dilapidated. It was definitely not intended to house more than a few people. The original blueprint layout of the house only had 3 bedrooms including one master bedroom, where Aunt Krista slept. She was a divorcee living there with her two teenage sons. There was an addition to the back of the house that had been built on shortly before we had moved in, but the construction was very poor. The roofing was unfinished and often leaked during thunderstorms. Within the house’s extension there were two bedrooms and a rudimentary family room led from the dining room. One of the newly constructed bedrooms led to the master bedroom of the original house, but did not have a door.

Edan and Rafe set up camp in one of the new bedrooms, currently their father’s bedroom, while the four girls settled into the room extending from their Aunt’s bedroom. The girls had a bunk bed set up for them, Marissa and Lydia were to sleep on the bottom bunk and Angie and Dawn were going to sleep on the top bunk. In their father’s bedroom, Edan and Rafe were destined to share a bed and their father made arrangements to sleep on the sofa in the living room. Close living quarters? Yes, but they were so happy to be free from foster care they didn’t care how unconventional their new life was.

The story continues in “Jason.”

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