Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Common ❯ Part III: Call to Innocence: Chapter Nine: Going Mad ( Chapter 35 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Nine: Going Mad:
Atticus broke the news at dinner. He looked uneasy when he got home. Aoi noticed the look on his face when came in.
“Dear? Dear, what's the matter?” Aoi asked. He didn't answer as he walked by her.
“Atticus?” his wife asked. He flopped down onto the armchair and covered his face. He would stay like that until dinner. Aoi and the children tried to figure out what was going on. Atticus didn't even want to touch his food. He had no choice but to say it.
“My job wants me to go to Hong Kong for six months,” Atticus said at last. Aoi whipped her head around.
“What?” she asked. He dropped his head in his hands.
“I just found today,” Atticus muttered. “They are opening a branch in Hong Kong in the fall. I got picked to work over there for six months a year. They made the deal last night.” He peeked out from the cracks between his fingers. Aoi looked ready to cry.
“But why?” she asked. Atticus sighed.
“I don't know either,” he said. He dropped his hands.
“It just happened,” he added.
“Can't you get out of it?” Aoi asked.
“I don't know,” Atticus said. “I just found out myself.” His wife looked ready to cry.
“I'm so sorry,” Atticus said. The kids watched in silence. The little girl stared at him with big eyes. Atticus couldn't bear to look at her. He stood from the table.
“I'm going to bed,” he muttered. “Thanks for dinner.” He turned and walked down the hall. His family didn't even get in another word.
Some days at home are fine. Others made her want to scream. Today felt like the latter.
Aoi locked herself in her room after Atticus went to work. He was going to Hong Kong for six months? Aoi shut her eyes and shook her head.
“No! No! No!” she wailed. She had fought down the need to cry. Her children already saw the cracks.
“Mama?” Sanjiro asked behind the door. Aoi turned around as she forced herself to smile. She unlocked the door and opened it to see her son staring up at her.
“Yes, honey?” she asked. Her older son took a step back.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yes!” Aoi was quick to say. “Did you need anything?” Sanjiro slowly shook his head.
“No,” he lied. The boy turned and walked back to his room. Aoi fell against her bed. She didn't leave her room until the kids went to school. She put her hand over her eyes.
“I can't do this alone,” she said to herself.
Chores became unbearable. Aoi use to do them without any thought. Today, her mind felt so heavy. She stared off into space as she started vacuuming the apartment. It was Wednesday after all. Their home wasn't going to clean itself. But, what was the point anymore?
Aoi turned off the vacuum and looked out the window. Six months alone with the kids, huh? She couldn't picture it. Aoi shivered as she shook her head.
“I can't think about that,” she said to herself. Aoi picked up the vacuum and resumed cleaning the floors. Let's see. Wash the sheets, clean the bathrooms, sweep the floors, mop the floors, clean the windows, shop for dinner, cook, and finish laundry. She's done this before. It's not a problem, yes?
Then the phone rang.
“Hello?” Aoi asked.
“Is this Obuchi-san?” a man asked on the other line. A confused look came over her face.
“Yes,” she said. “Who is this?”
“I am Principal Ito Jiro,” the man said. “Can you come down here so we can talk about your daughter, Marilyn?” Aoi froze as the color drained from her face.
“What about her?” she asked.
“We are a little concerned about her,” Ito-san said. “Can you come by the school so we can talk?”
“Sure, okay,” Aoi said. Her voice was trembling. “Thank you. Goodbye.” She hung up the phone.