Hello, Sarah. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Um. Okay. I’m not sure what to say. My name is Sarah. But you already know that. I live in a suburb just outside of Chicago. For now. But, I’m going to sell the house. I can’t live in this huge empty house now that I live alone. But don’t tell my mom, Rosemary. She’ll flip out if she finds out this trip I am taking back to my hometown of Brighton, TN is permanent. This is my chance to go back and get life right this time. Wipe the slate clean.
Sounds complicated. So tell us more about that. What is it that you really want out of life?
Sigh. You know, I don’t know if I’ve ever admitted this out loud. Well, at least not since elementary school. Most people from my little hometown would never understand, but all I want is to move home and work my family’s store, Old Depot Grocery, alongside my mother and grandmother. Brighton is your classic rural Tennessee town. The kind of place that the teenagers dream of escaping for the chance at better opportunities. But I’ve had those big opportunities. Went to college. Married into a wealthy family. Owned the big house. Saw the world. But now that the life I’ve built has crumbled in my hands, I see the truth. Brighton and that little store are all I ever wanted. Mom would say I was hiding by coming back. But Nan, she’ll understand. She always seems to understand my love for Old Depot. Maybe together we can convince Mom that me coming home to help run the store is the right thing to do.
It seems like your mother would be thrilled you were moving home. Don’t you think she’ll enjoy seeing you more often? Having someone to take on the family business?
You’d think that, wouldn’t you? It’s not that my mom doesn’t love it when I come to visit. But me living in Brighton? I can’t tell you how many times she’s told me about how she worked at that store her whole life to make sure I was never stuck there like she was. She was so proud of my college degree, of my marriage to Aaron. The travels I took. It really did look beautiful on the outside. She’d be so disappointed if she found out how miserable that life left me.
Why do you think your mom feels stuck?
That’s one thing I’ve never understood. Her sister, Jessie, is in her fifties. She lives on the other side of the country, runs her own company, and even took up surfing last year. If mom didn’t love her life here in Brighton, I don’t understand why she stayed. Aunt Jessie is proof that Mom could have had any life she wanted.
I don’t think she regrets settling down with Dad. They seem really happy. Her pushing me out of Old Depot has something to do with the store. There’s something she’s not telling me. Maybe I’ll finally be able to squeeze the truth out of her. Then again, maybe it’s better to respect the doors that people keep locked tight. I’ve got my own secrets to keep.
Nice try, but that wound is a little too fresh to talk about. With anyone. Don’t you think there are some things better left unsaid? I don’t see how it would help anyone for me to voice these dark thoughts I’ve had. Mom would never understand what I almost did. Neither would Nan for that matter. The two of them with their happy marriages.
I’m really sorry. It sounds like you’ve been through some tough times.
Yikes. That got a little heavy, didn’t it? Sorry about that! These past few weeks have been really intense. I didn’t mean to go into all that.
Don’t you worry about me. This girl will be just fine. My bags are packed and tomorrow I’ll step through the front doors of Old Depot Grocery. I know it probably sounds crazy, but even just the memory of the sound of the floorboards beneath my feet makes me feel lighter. Nan will know how to get me on my way to this fresh start I’m craving. And mom…I know I get frustrated with her pushing me toward this life she thinks I need, but she’s not the enemy. She’ll be there for me too. It will definitely be interesting, easing her into the idea of me staying in Brighton. But I know with the two of them by my side, I’ll figure out how I lost my way all those years ago. I finally have the chance to make up for the time I lost chasing a life that was never meant to be mine in the first place. I am so thankful for the chance to start again.
It sounds like you’re a woman on a mission. Best wishes on your new, or should I say old, endeavors. Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!
Amanda Cox is the author of The Edge of Belonging. A blogger and a curriculum
developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, she holds a
bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional
counseling, but her first love is communicating through story. Her studies and her
interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create
multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers. She lives in
Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her husband and their three children. Learn more at