“Why can’t we all go together?” Rae pleaded.
The thought of staying behind filled her with anxiety. She didn’t like being away from her mother for too long. The plan was for mum to go on ahead and get a job and a home sorted for them before the children joined her. Rae didn’t like the plan. She didn’t understand it. She wanted to go and help. She didn’t like the idea of being left behind.
“It’s going to be okay, Rae. You have to stay here and help grandma with the boys. Time will pass by quickly, before you know it, we will all be together again. Just be patient!” mum tried reassuring her, placing a small kiss on her forehead.
Mum was right those four months went by very quickly and before long, big suitcases were lining up the corridor at grandma’s house, and their little lives were being packed into them. Rae was excited! She couldn’t wait to see her mother. Last week she had written her mum a letter using a tiny pocket dictionary she had found on her auntie’s desk. In the letter she told her mum that she could not wait to hug her very tightly. School had finished two weeks before so Rae’s last couple of weeks at home were spent at the beach, like every other summer before. Grandad would go to work, pacing up and down the beach selling his baked goods, and Rae would stay behind and mind the hut with her aunt and brothers. The beach was Rae’s happy place, the sea in particular.
Saying goodbye to her friends and family wasn’t that difficult. Maybe on some level Rae thought this move would only be temporary. After all, how many times had they moved already? She would, much later, come to realise that this particular move would be very much forever. The excitement of seeing her mum again, of their little family being reunited finally, their new home and new schools, with a uniform and everything, all made the transition a lot easier. It made Rae kind of forget what and who she was leaving behind.
Seeing her mum again was euphoric. Much more than getting on a plane for the first time, even more so than actually flying, taking off and landing for the very first time. Hugging and kissing and smelling her mum again, after four whole months was just everything Rae had hoped it would be. She was happy. Ecstatic. Then they left the arrivals lounge, they were outside.. Torrential rain welcomed Rae to her new home. Torrential rain and a sky coloured in with so many shades of grey, that Rae felt overwhelmed. Sure, she had seen rain before, yes even in summer. But nothing quite like this, even the worst winter days back home did not match up to this tempestuous afternoon. Getting out of the taxi outside their new home, Rae notices a strange noise, almost music like, getting closer and closer. Screeching around the corner, a very colourful truck comes speedily towards them, coming to a stop a few feet ahead.
“What’s that?” confused but intrigued Rae asks her mother.
“Oh, that’s the ice cream truck, it drives around the estates selling ice cream” mum replies.
Rae looked around, at this late July afternoon, grey, cloudy and wet and for the first time since finding out they were migrating to another country, she realised just how much she would miss home.