“Why?” Jasmine Greene asked her mother. “I don’t understand why we have to move again.”
“You know how it is,” her mother said. “Your father’s work takes us all over the world. We never stay anywhere longer than a few years. We’ve been here for two.”
She didn’t care that her mother was using a gentle voice right now. The one she used when she was trying to teach English to the native children.
They were in Cambodia currently and her twelve-year-old mind was just fed up with picking up and moving nonstop.
“Why can’t we stay longer?”
“You hated it here when we came,” her mother said.
“I remember,” Mark said. Her oldest brother never did side with her.
There were five of them and she was smack dab in the middle.
Mark was sixteen, Dahlia fourteen, Jasmine at twelve, Ivy ten and Chase, the baby, rounding it out at five. She figured her mother was done after Ivy but guess they had one more in them.
All five of them had dual citizenship having been born in different countries.
Maybe it’d be cool to some kids, but not her.
“Stay out of it, Mark,” she said. “You hate it just as much as I do. We all do, but Mom and Dad do what they want when they want. We are just stuck to go along with it.”
“Jasmine,” her mother said sternly. “Enough. I’m going to have to go through this with Dahlia and Ivy when they get done with their work too. I’m not sure what it is about you girls that are always giving me grief.”
“Maybe we are sick of hopping all over the world. This is your and Dad’s dream, not ours. We are just the baggage you tote along with your clothes.”
“Go to the gardens and take a time out. You need it. I need it. I expect you to calm down and be supportive of this. Your father does wonderful work in the world and you know it.”
Her father was a doctor working with Doctors Without Borders. She knew it’d always been his dream to take this journey with his wife. But maybe they should have thought more of it before they had five kids.
Kids that never sat in an American classroom one day in their life.
They didn’t get to have friends they’d grow up with. Play sports either.
They were home-schooled by their mother.
Sure, they traveled more than most do in their entire life, but it wasn’t for everyone.
She was sick of always having to learn a new way of life. Figuring out pieces of the language to be understood. Only having her siblings that she could speak freely with.
“I’m not saying he doesn’t,” Jasmine said. “I just don’t understand why we can’t stay with someone else and live like normal teens.”
“Neither of your grandparents can take all five of you and we wouldn’t ask that of anyone,” her mother said. “You know that and I’m not sure why you bring it up at times. We’re a family and we are going to stay one. You’re traveling the world like so many would love to do.”
“I’m not one of them,” she said, stomping away and going into the garden as her mother told her to do.
It was her quiet place, and the only good thing she could say was that her mother loved flowers as much as her.
Every temporary home they’d lived in, her mother made it as comfortable as she could. They had a little garden with flowers and vegetables and they learned to care for them.
No, she didn’t like Cambodia any more than she liked living in Chad, Ethiopia, Madagascar or Haiti. She didn’t even remember the other places they’d lived other than she knew she was born in Peru.
Where she wanted to be was back home in America. Only she had no home there.
She had family there and nothing else. Everything in her life was temporary.
“I heard,” Ivy said, sniffling, twenty minutes later. Jasmine had been walking around and touching the flowers. There were so many jasmines in the garden and she found it funny. You’d think she’d be at peace here more, but she wasn’t. Just with the flowers, but it didn’t matter what country they were in.
She turned to look at her ten-year-old sister. The girls were all named after flowers and maybe that was why they stuck together and gave their mother fits. Who knows? It probably had more to do with the fact everyone was fed up with the life.
“I’m sick of it,” she said.
Ivy had tears in her eyes. “I hate flying. I don’t want to fly again.”
Jasmine forgot about that. She was so stuck in her own misery that she didn’t remember Ivy was afraid of heights and airplanes. Not that her parents seemed to care because they were all going to find themselves on another one in a few weeks. She didn’t even ask where they were moving to. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
She opened her arms and Ivy came running to hug her. “It’s going to be fine. You can sit by me.”
“I don’t want to be on one of those small planes again that shakes.”
She sighed. They spent a lot of time on them to get to these remote places. “You can close your eyes and listen to a movie like we always do. It could be worse. You could be like Dahlia and get sick half the time.”
“I heard that,” Dahlia said. She shifted and saw Dahlia in the doorway looking pissed off. The oldest girl of the group was by far the moodiest. “This bites.”
“Glad to know I’m not alone,” Jasmine said.
“Chase is sucking up to Mom saying he can’t wait for another adventure. Mark is laughing at us,” Dahlia said, “but he only has one more year of this and then he gets to go to college. This is probably his last move.”
“God,” she said. “Lucky him.”
Not that she had any clue how that would work out either or where her brother would go during breaks. It wasn’t her concern. She just wanted to get past this and figure out where their next step was going to be.
She was so over packing too, but it’s not like any of them had a lot of possessions. They lived minimalistic lives. Lives of a nomad in her mind.
“I can’t wait until it’s my turn to be done with this,” Dahlia said.
“Then you’re all going to leave me with Chase,” Ivy said, wailing.
“You might get lucky,” she said. “Mom and Dad might get tired of it by then.”
Dahlia snorted. “You always say what is on your mind, but you know as well as I do, it’s not going to happen.”
“Nope,” Jasmine said. “Looks like it’s another change. I guess the best we can hope for is Mom is done having kids.”
Dahlia laughed and Ivy just cried harder. Someone had to joke about it because it was the only way she felt she could get through.