Charlie’s Room: Vacation

“But I don’t want to go on vacation.” Charlie slumped in his chair and folded his arms across his chest.

“I thought that you wanted to go see the horses. You’ve been talking about this for weeks.” Marianne set her fork down with a frown.

“Well I don’t. Not anymore. I want to stay home.” Charlie slumped down further in his chair. Just his eyes were visible above the edge of the table.

Marianne sighed. “What brought this on? Is there something in particular that you’re worried about?”

“I just don’t want to go. That’s all. I want to stay here.”

“I like staying home best too,” Isaac said.

Charlie sat up a little straighter. “Then we don’t have to go?”

Marianne turned to Isaac. “That’s not helping.”

“I don’t know.” Isaac looked past both of them to the window. It was evening, but the sky was still light out. Summer hadn’t ended yet, but he knew the end was coming. The seasons seemed to change faster and faster anymore. He missed the never-ending summers of his childhood.

“What do you mean?” Charlie was sitting up straight now. He leaned forward, hands on the table. “Are we going or not?”

“I like staying home best, but I really like having fun memories of fun things we did as a family too. It’s fun to sit and remember those times when we’re here at home. Remember the corn maze and how lost I got?”

Charlie grinned. “I was the one who found the way out. You couldn’t read the map, but I could.”

Isaac nodded. “It wasn’t fun to be lost. My feet hurt by the time we went home. But it was amazing when you just looked at the map and knew which way to go.”

Charlie giggled.

Marianne smiled. “I drank all the pumpkin juice while I waited for you to come out, and I had to go buy more.”

“That was a lot of fun. I hope we go again this year,” Charlie said. “Why can’t we just be gone during the day like that? I wouldn’t mind just being gone during the day.”

“You don’t like sleeping somewhere else?” Isaac asked.

Charlie shrugged. “I guess. It just feels weird. And who’s going to take care of the garden? If something goes wrong, we’ll be so far away.”

Isaac nodded. “I worry about things like that too.”

“You do?”

Marianne smiled. “The new neighbors will take great care of the garden. We can leave them instructions if you’re worried.”

“We’ll all be sleeping in the same hotel room while we’re gone. Hotel rooms aren’t home, but I think it feels a little safer when we’re all together.” Isaac handed Charlie another roll.

Charlie started smashing the roll flat. “Do we have to go?”

“We don’t have to go,” Isaac said. “But I think we should.”

Charlie tore off a piece of flattened bread and rolled it between his fingers. “But why?”

“I told you that I like having fun memories of things we do together, like the pumpkin patch.” Isaac paused and looked at Charlie. Charlie nodded. “Well, I think it’s good to have a variety of memories. Otherwise they kind of blend together, and it’s hard to separate them. It feels like fewer memories. The time goes by so fast. You’ll see. Sooner than you think, it will be the end of the week, and we’ll be home. And then we’ll have the memories to look back on.”

“And we’ll be at home talking about the horses,” Charlie said.

“That’s right. It’s like watching the rain while being inside safe and warm.” Isaac smiled.

“That sounds nice.” Marianne picked up her fork again.

“I guess it’s just a week.” Charlie finished rolling up the last piece of smooshed bread. “I still don’t want to go.”

“Me either. But won’t it be fun to see the horses?”

“I guess so.” Charlie started eating his bits of bread.

Marianne smiled. “Now that’s settled, I have a list of things we need to do before we go…”