This story originates from Newfoundland. The author, Thomas Pierce, attended an Adult Basic Education (ABE) program for two years and has progressed to the college level in order to study business. He was urged by family and friends to submit his work for publication, but only agreed to publish for the first time in the 1995 collection, A Newfoundland Spell, assembled by the Newfoundland Adult Basic Education Network. (courtesy of Harrish Press, Saint John's, 1995).
By Thomas Pierce
I remember vividly the day my family and I reluctantly left our home. My wife and I had talked at length about moving out of the area to find work, but had never taken the steps to do so until circumstances forced us to. It hadn't been that long ago that I had a steady job and a good income. My bills were paid, there was no wolf at the door and my children were fed. All this fell apart when the fishery collapsed. I could no longer provide for my family, and what was once taken for granted was now taken away.
I'll never forget the expression on my kids' faces when I told them we had to move. It's hard to explain to a 12-year-old that her life isn't over because she has to leave behind friends that she has spent her entire life with.
Trying to explain to nine-year old that he'll make new ones is almost impossible. The anger and resentment gave way to tears and sobs as the day inevitably came.
My son, the youngest, grasped the gatepost and hugged it tightly, refusing to enter the car. My wife knelt beside him and gently stroked his blonde hair as she cried right along with him. He finally gave up the post and flung his little arms around his mother's neck.
"I don't wanna go, Mommy," he sobbed. "Please stay home with me."
His mother whispered something in his ear that made him stop, look into her eyes and nod. To this day I don't know what she said to him. He climbed into the back seat with his sister who was valiantly trying to hold back her own tears, but the redness in her eyes showed her failure. She stared out through the car window and remained quiet. I didn't know it at the time, but she had told her friends not to come and see her off. She didn't want them to see her cry.
"Daddy," my son said, as we pulled out of the drive, "is it okay for men to cry if something hurts alot?"
"Yes," I calmly answered, trying to hide the quiver in my voice, "Of course it is , son."
"Cause, Daddy," he said, as he stifled a sob, "it really hurts a lot."
"It hurts me too, son," I replied, and a tear somehow managed to surface and roll down my cheek.
I looked over at my wife, who looked back at me with eyes that were wet and red. Her smile failed to hide the pain. I reached for her hand, squeezed it tightly and drove away.