Torn by Divorce
Think you're ready for your chemistry test?" my dad asked as he drove down the highway. I looked up from the backseat to see his eyes in the review mirror. I nodded.
"Call me Wednesday night after the test," he continued. "I want to hear how it went."
He flipped on the blinker, slowed down, and pulled onto the exit ramp for the small town where my sister, Kristina, and I lived with our mom. Dad pulled into Mom's driveway, helped unload our suitcases, and gave us each a hug.
"I love you guys," he said. "See you next Saturday."
He got back in the car, slowly backed out of the driveway, and beeped. I wiped a tear off my cheek and watched his car fade in the distance.
Every Sunday night had been the same since I was 5. That's when my mom, sister and I moved two hours away from Dad and then only saw him on weekends. Even though I'd been doing it for a long time, saying goodbye to him was never easy.
I took a deep breath and glanced up at the living room window. I knew Mom would be standing there, watching us.
I grabbed my suitcase and went inside.
"Did you guys have fun?" she asked, meeting us at the door.
"Sure," I shrugged. I tried not to feel guilty for leaving her alone over the weekend or for now missing my dad so much.
"So what did you do this weekend?"
"Not much," I mumbled. I didn't want to tell her I'd gone shopping with my stepmom, Linda. I'd heard horror stories about mean stepmothers, but Linda wasn't like that. I liked hanging out with her—and that made me feel even guiltier.
The ringing of the phone ended Mom's questions.
"Hello?" I answered.
"You missed it!" my best friend Debby nearly shouted. "It was the best party ever! Almost everybody was there."
"Sounds fun," I said, trying to hold back my tears.
I listened for another 15 minutes as Debby talked about her huge birthday party. It was only October of my freshmen year and I'd already missed a dance, a major football game, and now, Debby's party.
"Maybe next time you can just stay home," Debby said. "I mean, what do you even do at your dad's house? You must be bored out of your mind."
After I hung up, I went upstairs and flopped down on my bed and stared at Kristina, who was reading a book for school. She was a junior and she'd never skipped a weekend with dad.
"Do you ever get upset about missing out?" I asked.
"I got over it," she said casually, flipping a page.
"How?" I asked.
She put down her book and faced me. "You can always tell Dad you don't want to go," she said softly. "He'll understand. But don't you like going to his house?"
I did like going to his house. I missed him so much during the week and I looked forward to every Saturday morning.
"It's just that things changed when I started high school," I said. "Before I didn't feel like I missed out on much. I never knew there'd be so much going on."
"You can't do everything," she told me. "You just have to make the choice: Visit Dad or do stuff with your friends."
That night I couldn't sleep.
Dear Jesus, I prayed, I feel like I have all this pressure on me to choose between friends or family. When will the pain end?