“Mom?” Momma asked. Grandma Shirley nodded.
“Natalie and I just had a very interesting conversation about an hour ago,” Grandma Shirley said. “And she made me realize that I don’t want you back.”
My jaw dropped to the floor. How in the world could Grandma Shirley say that with a clean conscious?
“Excuse me?” Momma asked also in disbelief.
“But,” Grandma Shirley said. “I don’t want you back because of the memories and feelings you bring. Do you know how crazy your father and I went when you left? I guess after a couple years I was glad that we hadn’t found you. I hated you. I gave you life. I devoted my entire life to you and one day you just up and decide to leave without even saying goodbye? I hated you for that.”
Momma and I had a look of pure surprise and disgust. Did Grandma Shirley just say that she hated my mother? That was cold.
“Mrs. Walters, I suggest you leave,” Nurse Sarah said.
“You didn’t let me finish,” Grandma Shirley said. “I hated you for leaving but I have always loved you, Riley, even thou I tried to convince myself that I hated you. Riley, I do love you. Only take it a little personally if I’m quick with you or easily get mad easily.”
Momma stared blankly at Grandma Shirley. How could Grandma Shirley just walk in here and say that she hated my Momma and then tell her that she loved her.
“I would like you to leave,” Momma said. “But if you feel like it visiting me in Florida you can visit me.”
Grandma Shirley smiled and walked out the room.
“Momma, is it all right that I don’t like her very much?” I asked.
“The truth is I don’t like her very much either. She’s a different person. That’s not the mother I know,” Momma sighed.
“When you left, everything changed in their lives. They changed. They tried to improve themselves. They threw themselves on everyone around them especially your siblings,” Nurse Sarah said. “You running away changed them.”
Momma started crying.
“After Alexander died I never planned on telling anyone else why I ran away but…NO! I can’t tell her. They know I’m back. I can’t risk anymore lives,” Momma said.
The look in her eye alone told me that her life, my life, and anyone who knew this ‘secret’ or not was in some serious danger.
“I hope you’re feeling better Riley.”
Momma smiled at Aunt Jane.
“The car accident didn’t hurt me too bad,” Momma said. “I’m feeling much better thank you.”
Momma had received a flower from everyone in town.
“Here you go my lady,” Mr. Steve said to Momma putting her soap down on the table.
“Thank you,” Momma smiled.
I squirmed at ‘my lady’.
I looked over at Ms. Donna. She looked anxious and excited at the same time.
“Riley W. Baldwin, I’ve known you since the ninth grade and by the time I finished high school I knew that I wanted to marry you,” Mr. Steve said.
I almost passed out when Mr. Steve got down on one knee and opened a ring box.
“Riley, will you marry me?” Mr. Steve asked.
Momma looked at me. The look on my face screamed, “NO!”
“Yes,” Momma managed to get out.
My face fell. What just happened? Did my mother really just accept a marriage proposal from Steve Matthews.
“Tom and I have an announcement to make,” Mrs. Rivers said standing up. “I’m having a baby.”
Soon everyone was talking about babies and weddings.
Good and bad changes were about to come to Florida, Massachusetts and I don’t just mean babies and weddings.