There’s no place like home. Well, no place like Auntie Em’s house. That’s home for me now. My parents have been “getting divorced” for the past four years. Feels like forever. They can’t agree on anything. Rather than shuttling me back and forth between their apartments, each of them filling my head with how awful the other is, Auntie Em stepped up and said, “Why doesn’t Dorothy come and live with me while you two figure things out? It’s not fair to the girl to subject her to your feuding.
It had never occurred to either of them what effect their break-up was having on me as if I were a piece of furniture. They’d go at it hammer and tong and only after Auntie Em talked to them did they agree that the dissolution of their relationship was probably not a good thing for me to witness – it was the only thing they had agreed on in ages. So, they sent me off to live with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry while they, “figured things out.”
What a relief! Life here on the farm is calm and relaxed. Auntie Em and Uncle Henry get along. I’d kinda forgot that married people can do that. She does her thing; he does his thing and then over dinner they share about their day. And they ask me about mine. They didn’t bat an eye when I told them about Oz. They thought it was nice that I had three companions on the journey to look out for me. And they also thought it was nice that they all got what they wanted – courage, a heart, a brain. “Those are all nice things to have and worth wanting,” Uncle Henry had said thoughtfully. “Nice” was pretty much their operative word for everything. But there was never any sideward glances, tsking, or anything like that. They took me at my word and completely bought my story. Of course, telling them about Oz and all, sounds like a dream which I guess it was. But so real! I guess that’s how dreams work.
Anyway, I’ve thought about what it would be like to tell my parents. I’m pretty sure they would just have dismissed it as nonsense. Auntie particularly listens to me no matter what I tell her. I’m not used to that. It makes me feel really safe. There’s so much I’ve never told my mother because she’d have all kinds of comments to make. She made me feel stupid usually. I hate that. So, I just stopped telling her stuff. Then the whole divorce thing blew up and I landed here on the farm. Like I said, I feel safe here.
Anyway, I had to change schools which was pretty great as I hated my school – so competitive and judging. In the school I’m at now, they’re all thrilled that I showed up. At first, the girls were only interested in hearing about city life, but once I told them that I liked it so much better here, they stopped asking. Now I’m one of them and we just hang out. I never hung out with other kids at my old school – they all had piano lessons or any number of other after-school activities. Plus, they were really mean. Everyone here is really nice. Everyone. People in stores, neighbors. It’s incredible. Maybe it’s because farm life is so straightforward, and everyone isn’t racing all over the place. You’re your own boss. There is no one to please but yourself. Things get done “in due time.”
They all seem so happy with whatever the day brings.
It’s almost like living in a fairy tale.
Jane McDermott is the 2014 Michael Rubin book award winner for her collection of microfiction, Look Busy: One hundred 100-word stories by and for the easily distracted (14 Hills). Her fiction can be found in the journals/sites Foglifter; 100 Word Story; Weirderary; Reflex Fiction; Reunion: The Dallas Review; Red Light Lit, and others.