Sleepy chatter floats up from majority of the Carter children as they flock to the kitchen like chickens to their feed for their Sunday morning breakfast. A bout of quiet giggles erupts forth from two children as they scramble onto their chairs. The youngest child, a little girl, settles into her booster seat, her blond pigtails bobbing and her little legs swinging.
“I like pancakes,” she announces out of the blue, her mouth curved into a bashful grin. Her mother smiles and kisses her daughter’s forehead before setting down a plate of steaming pancakes. Next to Emma, the second child plops himself into his seat. With a growing energy that surpasses his younger sister’s, the boy ...view middle of the document...
A fragile silence hangs in the air, awkward and thin, as if threatening to break at a moment’s notice. And it breaks.
“Jeremy, son, you’ve got to stop beating yourself up over this. It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t know,” Mr. Carter declares in his gruff, yet fatherly kind of way.
Jeremy sends irritated glances at his two siblings, who are staring down at their pancakes with penetrating concentration. Mr. Carter’s eyes meet Jeremy’s. They have a detached look; the haggard spirit the adolescent boy has left is barely visible.
“You don’t get it, Dad,” Jeremy snaps, his words biting and jaded. “You’re not the one who ran over his best friend.” He stands up, shoving his chair back and his plate forward. “I’m not hungry.”
“Jeremy, before you go, your father and I need to tell you something,” Mrs. Carter tentatively stammers.
“Well then spit it out already, I need to get out of here. What is it?” Jeremy bitterly inquires.
“Jeremy! You will not take that tone with your mother, young man. You better shape yourself up before we get to Worcester, because I will not have my son known as the rude new kid.” Mr. Carter sternly barks, his patience worn thin by his son’s insolent behavior. Jeremy balks.
“What are you talking about?” Suspicion is in his voice. The situation is already delicate enough, but this new occurrence has added yet another stick of dynamite to the already towering pile.
Mr. Carter sighs and rubs his temples. “We’re moving to Massachusetts. We leave in the middle of August.”
With that, the fuse is lit. Jeremy silently stares at his parents, infuriation bubbling up. And then, he explodes. “Isn’t it enough that I just lost my childhood companion? I killed him...