Another Move?

“So…” R said, lifting his bottle of beer to his lips.  He looked in the direction of Zach’s bedroom to make sure that Z wasn’t still in the hallway.  We were sitting at the dinner table, the remnants of my latest experiment scattered about.  The windows were open; even in November, the weather was still in the 60s and warm.

“What is it?” I asked.  R hardly ever engaged in leisurely conversation after dinner these days; there was always something to attend to.  And frankly, I didn’t mind.  I ended up in bed most nights not long after I’d cleared the dinner dishes, sleeping twelve hours before I woke up, still tired.

“Well, my boss called me into his office today.”

“That doesn’t sound good,” I countered, filling the loaded pause.  I remembered R’s boss; he’d come over a few times after we’d moved in, and had us over for a barbecue in May.  I had walked around their house, completely intimidated.

“It depends, I guess, on how you look at it.  They are happy with the work I’m doing.  But to really be more effective in getting us into the Latin American market, they’d like us to be in closer proximity.”

I digested this for a moment.  “But wasn’t that the whole point of moving you here from Wisconsin? Everyone said you’d be able to do this all from here.”  We still hadn’t even unpacked all of the boxes; the guest room closet housed them, floor to ceiling.

“I guess they feel that the experiment isn’t working out as well as they’d hoped.”

I gulped.  “Experiment?  It would have been awfully nice to know this was an experiment before we uprooted our whole lives to come here.  I would have stayed back in Michigan if I had any inkling this was temporary.”  I could feel my emotions rising, fast.

“I agree.  I am a little pissed, frankly.  This is definitely not the way they framed this position when they offered it to me.”  The olive branch of solidarity lowered my blood pressure, slightly.  I put my hand on my belly and absent mindedly rubbed it.

“Well, spill it.  Where do you they want you to go?”  San Diego, maybe.  I hated the thought of being so far from family, but the weather and water might assauge all manner of ailments.  Arizona might not be terrible.  I remembered Tucson fondly, and it wasn’t that far from the border.

“El Paso, Texas.”  I could see R looking to me, sizing up my reaction.

“Oh no!” I said, a gut reaction.  “That’s even worse than here!”

I meant no offense to those who loved El Paso, but it seemed like everything I disliked about Oklahoma would be intensified there.  The heat; I’d hated the hot, dry summer.  The brown landscape that didn’t support anything green from mid June until October.  The fact that nothing grew locally, so produce had to be shipped in from places as far away as Colorado.  There were no cider mills for fall fun here; apple trees didn’t grow. The endless driving everywhere because nothing was close.  Even the politics of it; I was a moderate, but I felt completely alienated by the red state culture that lived and breathed around me.

I looked at R, carefully.  “When do they want us to go?”

He shrugged his shoulders, his expression flat.  “Before Christmas.”

I could feel my blood pressure rising again.  “That’s impossible!  We just got here, for heaven’s sake.  We haven’t even been here a year!  How am I supposed to tell Zach that he has to move, again.  To somewhere even farther from our families.  He’s finally made friends here.  And do you honestly mean to tell me that you want me moving at six months pregnant?  Really?  Does this make any sort of sense?”

R held up his hand.  “Calm down.  We don’t have to decide this tonight.”

I looked at him, puzzled.  “Decide?  Can we say no?”

He nodded, slowly.  “We could.  I don’t know exactly what they would do if we said no, but we could.”

I concentrated on breathing in and out.  I felt so helpless, so out of control.  My destiny, my life, none of it were in my hands.  I’d just gotten my Oklahoma teaching certificate, just learned which store was better for produce, the short cut down to my friend Amy’s that I hadn’t realized was there before.

“I don’t want to move again so soon,” I said quietly.  “I can’t even imagine us in El Paso.  I’d have to find a new doctor and hospital and…” I trailed off.

R nodded.  “It’s not ideal.  Let’s chew on it for a few days before I give them an answer.”

I got up from the table and started clearing the dishes, ending the conversation out loud, but with many, many voices floating around inside my head.

All of them were saying, “No.”

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