October is a month in transition. The colours of the leaves start to change, and the sun shines less every day. Vanessa has been running for a long time now. The only thing that’s keeps her together, is the love for her daughter. Raising a young teen is anything but easy; things have changed since her days as a youth. Vanessa believes the kids of today are so needy, and want too many things. One day it’s a laptop the next it’s a smartphone. The newest technology seems to be running their lives. It’s hard for her to give her daughter everything she wants. Even though Vanessa makes a decent living, its still hard. The company she works for has been expanding for years now, first nationwide, now Canada. Vanessa is in charge of setting up new divisions; or revamping the old ones. Vanessa works for an American Investment bank that has decided to expand its operations into Canada. Her job has required her to move almost every year; once she sets everything up it’s off to the next expansion. The new Toronto location will be her seventh location in six years; Vanessa is planning on asking her boss to stay at this location to manage it. It would be nice to add some stability, to her and her daughter’s lives. The movers have just left, now comes the tedious task of opining the boxes and sorting out her things. Vanessa considers herself to be a pro packer; all her boxes are neatly labelled and organized. The movers were nice enough to set up the two beds upstairs, so with that out of the way, she decides it’s time for her to set up the kitchen. First the box labelled “pots and pans”, and then it’s the four boxes labelled “kitchen stuff fragile.” With her trusty exacto knife in hand, Vanessa starts opening her boxes. Over the sound of chattering pots and pans she doesn’t here her daughter come in the front door.
“Hey mom whatcha doing?”
“What does it look like?”
“Hmm. It looks like you’re making a mess.”
“Why don’t you go and get started on unpacking your room.”
“Nah I don’t feel like It.” said Clara
“What did you get from the store?” asked her mother.
“I got a bottle of Sprite, a box of Kraft Dinner, some Cheetos, milk, and some bread.”
“I should have known sending you out for food would be a bad idea.”
Vanessa thought: there’s that famous saying she uses all the time; I can’t say anything to my daughter without hearing “whatever.” Everything to her is just “whatever” it’s as if the world and everything in it means nothing to her.
“Did you get a chance to see any of our new neighbours Clara?”
“Nope, I just saw a big dumb German shepherd next door; I think it wanted to eat me.” Vanessa gave an incredulous stare.
“Why don’t you help me with some of this kitchen stuff?”
“Sorry mom you look like you got it covered, I’m going to go set up the computer; I’ve got some friends to talk to.” Vanessa exhaled with grief as her daughter exited the room; it’s not easy getting help from her these days, thought her mother.
“Hum, hum,” “Hum, hum.”
Vanessa is woken up from a deep sleep on the couch, she has early morning disorientation. Her cell phone is vibrating its way across the coffee table in the living room. She only intended to shut her eyes for a minute, she must have dozed off. With one hand she reaches across the table to get her phone; with the other she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. Her face begins to pale as she recognizes her old Californian area code; it takes her a second or two before she remembers to breath.
“Hello” Vanessa says guardedly.
“Hello Mrs. Reed I’m calling on behalf of Thompson & Bradley, you’re a tricky person to track down.”
“I haven’t been called Mrs. Reed in a long time, I use my madden name Evans.”
“That’s fine may I call you Vanessa? My name is Helen I’m an attorney’s assistant, and I have been given the task of hunting you down.” Vanessa’s mood turned from shock to horror.
“You may call me Vanessa; can I ask what this is about?”
Helen cleared her throat before speaking “I have been told to inform you that your husband will be released earlier than previously expected. John Reed will be released into the confines of a half-way house and under the direct surveillance of a registered probation officer.” Vanessa’s face went from pale to ghost white; her worst fears were beginning to come alive.
“That can’t be he’s not scheduled to be released for another three years.”
Helen paused to shuffle around some pages “I have in my hand a letter from the State of California’s District Attorney’s office; it basically states that due to overcrowded prisons and budget deficits prisoners who have completed greater than three quarters of their sentence will be released ahead of schedule.” Vanessa felt like she got hit by a dump truck.
“Ma’am, are you still there?” asked Helen.
“Yes I am this is just so unexpected. I really tried to put my past behind me and move on with my life” said Vanessa.
“Your husband will be released in a few days; if he violates the terms of his probation he will go right back to prison. He will also not be allowed to leave the State of California until the probation period has ended.” Helen tried to sound reassuring.
“Vanessa have you been in contact with your husband at all since he was incarcerated.”
“No, only once in the beginning, I tried to get a divorce, but I didn't press the issue.”
“Well ma’am I can reassure you that no one from this office will hand out any privy information about your whereabouts. Thank you for your time, if you have any further questions, contact the offices of Thompson & Bradley, goodbye” with the sound “click” the line went dead.