I didn’t see Aunt Charlotte when she first arrived because I was inside the window seat in my room where I’d cried myself to sleep.
On the day that Aunt Charlotte was due to arrive. Dad found a ride to work and Mom kept the car. She wasn’t home when I got home from school, but my friend Glenda told me that her father rode to work with a friend on the days her mom had to go to the baby doctor. I assumed Mom needed to see the baby doctor so I didn’t worry when I came home to an empty house.
Devon, Marissa, and Caroline came home and went straight to their rooms without bothering to ask me where our mother was. I stayed downstairs and practiced reading. When I heard Mom come into the yard I looked out the window in time to see her open the trunk of the car and take out a small box of groceries.
I shrieked, “Devon! Come help Mom with the groceries. Quick!” I ran up the stairs. “Devon! Devon! Help Mom with the groceries.”
By the time Devon confronted me at the top of the stairs I was slightly out of breath.
“What do you want?”
“Go help Mom with the groceries.”
“Did she tell you to get me?”
“No. But she has a big box and she’s not supposed to lift more than ten pounds because she’s going to have a baby.” I clapped my hand over my mouth the second I said this because I knew we weren’t supposed to talk about it.
“I’m not a liar.”
“Rosie, you aren’t supposed to say such things.” Marissa sounded scandalized. And Caroline edged past me for the stairs as if I were untouchable.
Mom came to the bottom of the stairs. “What are you arguing about? Devon come help with the groceries.”
“Mom, Rosie is telling nasty lies.” Devon whined.
“Rosie, you are old enough to know better. Don’t tell lies.” Mom sounded tired and cross.
“Liar.” Devon hissed as he pushed me aside to go down the stairs.
“Really Rosie.” Marissa stuck her nose in the air and followed Devon.
I stood at the top of the stairs in shock for a full minute. Surely if our mother was having a baby Marissa would know or Caroline. They were older than me. I felt my lower lip protrude as I thought about not having the baby I’d been planning on. I was so disappointed I slipped back into my room, took my teddy bear, pillow, and favorite blanket and crawled into the cubby under the window seat to cry. I thought about the names I’d been practicing in penmanship. I’d asked mom to write down all my grandparent’s names so I could practice my penmanship. During class I’d practice writing names for the baby. I’d planned on sharing my room with my new brother or sister when he was old enough. In the small stuffy cubby, I fell asleep.
I woke up when Marissa came into my room calling, “Come out Rosie, I know you’re in here somewhere.” I lifted the lid of the window seat and looked at my sister. She turned and left calling, “She’s in her room hiding in the window seat.”
I let the lid flop shut again and stared into the darkness. I never wanted to see any of my family ever again. I hadn’t meant to be a liar. I really believed Mom was going to have a baby, and now I felt terrible over telling a lie and worse over not getting a baby.
This is where Aunt Charlotte found me when she opened the lid to the window seat. “Come out.”
I crawled out of the box with some difficulty because I’d been cramped up in there.
“Why didn’t you come to meet me? Don’t you like me?” Aunt Charlotte accused.
I shook my head. “I don’t know you. Devon called me a liar, but I didn’t mean to lie.”
Aunt Charlotte sat on my bed and patted the place beside her for me to sit. “What do you mean you didn’t mean to lie?”
“I thought what I said was true, but Devon called me a liar and Marissa and Caroline just looked at me and…”
“Well you shouldn’t say things unless you know for sure they’re true.”
“I know, but I wanted so much for it to be true, and I thought it was.”
“What is it that you wanted?”
Since Aunt Charlotte was sitting in my room talking to me. I thought I’d trust her. “I thought you were coming to take care of us because Mom was going to have a baby, and I wanted a new brother or sister.”
“Is that what you told Devon?”
“I told him to help Mom with the groceries because she was going to have a baby and couldn’t pick up heavy things.”
“I’ll tell you a secret, just between you and me. Don’t tell anybody else. Devon is a fool.”
I giggled to hear my older brother described in something other than glowing terms.
“Rosemary, I take it your parents didn’t tell you why I’m here?”
I shook my head.
“Well it seems you figured it out on your own. Yes, your mother is expecting and I knew she would need help.”
The sun came out and all my hopes and dreams were reborn. “I’ve been thinking up names for the baby.” I pulled my school papers out of the box under my bed and showed them to Aunt Charlotte.
She looked at the pages of names. “These are excellent names. I think your grandparents would be pleased with your ideas. Come, let’s go to dinner.” Aunt Charlotte carried my list of names with her when she took my hand to walk down to dinner.
I thought we really did need Aunt Charlotte to help us.