Students wrote stories based on some of their favorite songs. These are their stories…
Temporary Home – Carrie Underwood
“Little boy, six years old
A little too used to bein’ alone
Another new mom and dad, another school
Another house that’ll never be home
When people ask him how he likes this place
He looks up and says with a smile upon his face”This is my temporary home
It’s not where I belong
Windows in rooms that I’m passin’ through
This is just a stop, on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know this is my
Temporary home.”Young mom on her own
She needs a little help got nowhere to go
She’s lookin’ for a job, lookin’ for a way out
‘Cause a half-way house will never be a home
At night she whispers to her baby girl
Someday we’ll find a place here in this world”This is our temporary home
It’s not where we belong
Windows in rooms that we’re passin’ through
This is just a stop, on the way to where we’re going
I’m not afraid because I know this is our
Temporary Home.”Old man, hospital bed
The room is filled with people he loves
And he whispers don’t cry for me
I’ll see you all someday
He looks up and says “I can see God’s face””This is my temporary Home
It’s not where I belong
Windows in rooms that I’m passin’ through
This was just a stop, on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know this was
My temporary home.”
This is our temporary home”
The atmosphere was almost as daunting as the thoughts swirling through the little boy seated on the cold cement steps. The cold, crisp morning air enveloped him as it formed goosebumps on his dry skin. His fingers were fiddling with a thin stick, continuously breaking pieces off.
It was a game he found to be the most distracting. He would busy himself with trying to make each piece the same measurement, but no break was clean. Instead he ended up with a pile of small, weak pieces and a pile of strong, sturdy sticks. He laid the pile of the stronger branches next to him as he blew the smaller pieces into the wind.
Before he had time to react, a man stomped up the stairs, smashing the pile of sticks he had next to him. He looked down at the broken mess, his thoughts rearranging in his head to find something for this situation. I guess nothing is meant to last, he thought.
His moment of disappointment was interrupted with the clanging of high heels behind him. He turned his head and focused on the slender woman walking towards him, her pencil skirt making her look too formal to be at this particular place. Her brown hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail, stretching the skin on her forehead. Her face was clear enough to make the assumption of there either being no distress in her life, or she was good at hiding the pain.
A man followed behind her, the tan suit he was clad in accentuated his dark skin tone. His eyebrows were slanted toward one another, creating a wrinkle on his forehead. His hands dug into his pockets as he fiddled with the change stationed inside. He took the steps with a jolty type of descent as the woman walked slowly and deliberately, bending slightly to see the ground, but still keep her upright posture. When they reached the little boy, the woman crouched down, holding her skirt as she knelt, but the man stayed standing.
“Nolan?” the woman asked the boy in a polite tone. Nolan nodded his head, allowing her to continue. “I am Katelyn and this is my husband Roger,” she gestured to the man behind her, bringing Nolan’s attention with her. “We are your new parents!” Katelyn announced it in a way that made it sound like they bought a puppy. The situation was similar to when a child is browsing the pet store, judging each animal it came upon.
Nolan kept quiet for a minute, already knowing that piece of information. After noticing that Katelyn was waiting for a reaction, he plastered on a small smile. When Katelyn stood back up, he first thought he blew this opportunity, but he was reassured when she held out her hand for him. He placed his thin hand on hers, gripping her palm to pull himself up. They walked to the glistening car parked in front of the building, Roger being the first to flee to stairs.
It was a long and painful drive for the passengers and driver of the car. Roger was tapping the steering wheel awkwardly, the child in the backseat causing him to stress, while Katelyn tried multiple times to start a conversation between the three of them. However, each sentence she spoke was returned with a small smile from her husband and complete silence from the newest addition to their family. Nolan, though, was sitting in the back, his small frame pushed against the door as he stared outside the window with one hand gripping the door handle.
Roger pulled the car into the driveway of white house. There was the cliche white picket fence surrounding the perimeter of the yard and garden gnomes spread around the flower bed in front of the house. Everything seemed so neat, that Nolan started to theorize each piece of grass was cut at the same angle to make the perfect yard.
“This is where you will be living, Nolan,” Katelyn informed him with a warm smile when she peeked over her seat at him.
They climbed out of the car, Roger already making his way through the doorway as Nolan pulled his bag out of the back. Katelyn placed her hand on Nolan’s back, causing him to stiffen from the touch, as she guided him inside.
The house was full of decorations and precisely placed furniture. There were multiple glass and ceramic figurines; the type that someone buys in order to mock rich people, but then grows to love that peculiar item. Nolan took note of the organization in the house while Katelyn took him on a tour. She sent him through the white kitchen, white living room, and to the white door of the study. The only hint of color was a few paintings and ferns throughout the house.
When she brought him upstairs, she had them stop at the last door on the right. She knelt down to be at his level, but all it did was make her shorter than him. After meeting his gaze she happily said, “Now, this is the best room of the house. Do you know why?” Without waiting for a response, she decided to answer her own question, “This is your room. It will be your own space to do whatever you feel. Are you ready to see it?”
Nolan nodded his head. Katelyn stood up, placed her hand on his shoulder, and opened the door of his room. Inside was a small bed pressed against the center of the right wall, a blue and white bed set wrapped around the mattress. There was a dresser in the left corner of the opposite wall; the other corner containing a toy box. Nolan sat on the bed, feeling a bounce of the mattress underneath him. His backpack was still draped over his shoulders, but he didn’t make any attempt to release himself from it.
“We can go to the store, later,” Katelyn started, gathering his attention, “to get things for your room. To make it more…homey.”
Homey. Nolan didn’t entirely know what home meant. He didn’t want to get anything, either way. He did know one thing and it was a factor that made all of his decisions for him. “I’d just end up throwing it all away in the future, anyway.” After seeing the look of confusion on Katleyn’s face he continued his thought, “Nothing is permanent, it’s all just temporary.”
She was surprised to hear the negative words he spoke. They were the first words he said to her all day, but they couldn’t have hurt more. She went to say something, something that could comfort him or ensure he knows this isn’t something temporary, but the phone began to ring. After a few beats, her name was called by her husband, summoning her downstairs.
“One second,” she yelled down. She turned back to Nolan, his face showing no emotion. “I’ll be back in a minute, you just…make yourself at home.”
She exited the room, rushing down the stairs to make this phone call quick. Ruger stood by the counter, holding the phone in his hand, one hand covering the mic. “It’s Miss Davis,” he whispered.
She grabbed the phone he handed her, placed it to her ear, and spoke a formal greeting. “Miss Davis, how may I help you?”
A hopeful voice sounded through the phone, “I was just wondering if you found a house yet? Or an apartment? Anything that fits my requirements?”
“I’m afraid not. From what I’ve seen there are no places in this area that are in your price range and don’t need to be remodeled.”
On the other end of the line, Miss Davis, was standing in her kitchen watching rain leak in from the ceiling and pour into the bucket on her wooden counter. She tried her best to keep the place up to routine by placing nicknacks here and there, continuously cleaning when she is home. She knows every part of this house, but everyday she gets a new surprise by something falling off or breaking apart. This was no way for her and Lily to live.
Her thoughts get interrupted when a distracted voice comes through the line, “but I will keep looking and I will find you a home to live in.”
The call ended, leaving Miss Davis with no good news to go on. She checked the time, discovering that she had ten minutes until she had to leave for work. She ran around the house, cleaning up any mess she could. She didn’t want Lily to come home and have to walk through this obstacle course. Their house was like one of those abandoned houses you pass, when you are on the road to somewhere amazing, that makes you wonder, ‘what went wrong there?’
Miss Davis grabbed her car keys and headed out the door, yanking the door shut behind her. She carefully jumped off the porch, wishing they had stairs she could be walking on. At least Lily made it a game, instead of focusing on what they don’t have, but Miss Davis knew that wouldn’t last long.
She arrived at the diner a half hour later, hopped out of her car, and headed inside while she pulled her hair up. She headed to the back of the diner, noticing a few customers on her way. She grabbed the apron off of the hook in the kitchen, took the notebook and pen out of the pocket, and headed back out to the one table that had customers.
“How are you both this morning?” Miss Davis asked a familiar older couple.
The woman looked up from her menu, smiling up at her waitress, “We’re doing good today, Maya. How are you, Sweetie?”
“I’m alright, just another day.”
“How is Lily? Last time we saw her, she was obsessed with a butterfly she stuck in a jar.”
“She’s doing good; just started kindergarten the other day. Her teacher said she’s at an advanced level for her age.”
“She must be if she knew how to trap a butterfly,” the older man piped in, “you better watch out for that one. She could be a mad scientist one day.”
“Oh, Hank,” the older woman stopped him, lightly hitting his shoulder.
Hank blocked his mouth with his hand and whispered, “She will definitely be mad if you keep her around Sylvia,” to Maya.
Maya laughed as Sylvia swatted at Hank once more. “What can I get you both?” Maya changed the subject after they all settled down.
“We’ll have our usual, dear, but make Hanks breakfast a light on the sugar today; he has a doctor’s appointment,” Sylvia answered.
“Okay, I will be right back with your drinks.”
Maya left the couple alone as they bickered on the amount of sugar Hank should be consuming. She handed the order to the chef and then started to make their coffee the way they like it. After giving them their steaming mugs, she leaned her elbows on the counter, a newspaper in hand, and circled various jobs she could apply for. She needed a better paying job, something that will give her and Lily the house they need. Nothing in this area, though, hired highschool dropouts who only had a few experiences, and paid the amount of money she needed.
“Order up,” the chef announced.
She grabbed the plates and headed over to the table, placing the desired food in front of Sylvia and Hank. They thanked her and sent her on her way to help the next table that had just walked in. She took their order, set the paper on the bar between the diner and the kitchen for the chef, and served them their drinks.
She carried on with this routine until three in the afternoon, when a school bus pulled into the parking lot. She walked out of the diner, wiping her hands on her apron as she waited for her daughter. When a little girl began to slowly get off the bus, using the metal rail to steady herself as she descended the stairs, a small smile made its way on Maya’s face to see her little girl made it here safely. Maya studied the stained jeans, and pink puffy coat Lily was clad in. Maya had spent nights working on making those jeans look brand new, and when she couldn’t, she did everything she could to at least give Lily a warm coat for this winter.
Lily got off the bus and ran toward her mom, who was crouched down with her arms open, as the bus began to drive away. Their reunion got interrupted, though, when a boy shouted out the bus window.
“Lily’s so poor, she lives in a diner,” he mocked.
Maya stared at the bus, tightening her hold on Lily as she pulled her closer to her chest. She broke their embrace, allowing them to make eye contact so she could talk to her little girl. “Lily, do you remember what I told you?”
“Anyone who is mean to you is jealous of something you have and they don’t,” Lily answered with a sigh, repeating the words Maya told her every time someone picked on her.
“And their momma never taught them manners.”
Maya smiled at Lily’s impression, “That’s exactly right,” Maya said as she stood back up
“Can we go inside and eat now?”
Maya chuckled at her daughter’s urgency and nodded her head. Lily ran into the diner as Maya followed behind. They fell into their routine, Maya serving tables while Lily went back and forth between a coloring book and a book to read. When Maya was behind the counter, Lily told a wide range of facts she learned, including that ‘butterflies taste things with the back feet.’
When her shift was over, Maya gathered her things and scooped Lily out of a booth that she fell asleep on. She was curled up in a blanket, looking similar to a caterpillar in a cocoon. She was so peaceful that Maya almost didn’t move her, but she knew they couldn’t sleep here; not again.
After buckling Lily into the backseat, Maya drove towards their broken home as slow as she could. She kept hoping that when she pulled into their dirt driveway, their house would be replaced with one that was safe and felt like home. After growing up in a house the size of a mansion, Maya was nowhere near prepared for this life of broken dreams. Deep down, though, she knew that money wasn’t everything. She knew they could get past this. They had to get past this.
They arrived home soon after, exhaustion finally starting to take its toll on Maya. She unbuckled Lily and carried her inside. She carried her into her room, and sat her on the comfiest bed in the house. Lily’s room was the cleanest in the house; Maya made sure of it. She hung some christmas lights to make up for the ceiling light Maya was missing, and she placed a heater in the corner of her room to keep her warm. She made sure everything matched, the way Lily liked things to be, and always made sure this room was untouched from the destruction in the rest of the house.
“Lily?” Maya whispered as she rubbed Lily’s arm to wake her. “You have to wake up for just a second. Just long enough to change out of your day clothes. Nod your head if you hear me.” Lily followed the instruction and nodded her head, but stayed in her position, not opening her eyes. “I’m going to leave your pajamas next to you and when I come back to check on you, I want you to be dressed, OK?”
Lily nodded again, started to stir, and moved to grab the clothes Maya laid out for her. Maya headed out, shutting the door behind her to give Liliy some privacy, and went towards her own room. Maya’s room was the exact opposite of Lily’s. It was at the end of the hall and everything was cluttered. It wasn’t because she was a messy person, it was because this was the least sturdy room in the house. She did have a light, but it was one of the hanging ones that you would have in a closet, and it flickered like the lights in Sci-fi movies when the aliens landed their UFOs.
She got dressed in her pajamas, which were just comfortable day clothes, and was careful as to which floorboards she stepped on. She has lived the experience of her foot falling straight through them and she wasn’t ready to go through that for the third time.
Maya walked out of her room and back down the hall to tuck Lily in. However, when she entered the cozy room, her eyes filled with a sight that made her smile. Lily had managed to change her shirt and put on her pants, but her pants were backwards and she only had one sock on. Maya moved next to her and whispered about her mistake. She quickly corrected Lily’s pants, making sure to not yanked her around, and slid the other sock on her bare foot.
“Here,” Maya said, pulling the covers down for Lily to climb underneath. When Lily was curled underneath, Maya laid the thick blanket on top of her, and tucked it into her sides to make her snug.
“Mommy?” Lily said softly, her eyes finally open as she sleepily stared at her mother.
“Are we poor?”
Maya stopped what she was doing, freezing at the question, before she sat down next to Lily, and draped her arm around her. “Of course not, honey.”
“Are you sure? We live in a home with no ceiling.”
“Those are the best ones. And we still have a ceiling, just not all of it.” Lily looked up at her, squinting her eyes. “Listen, Lily, we may not have the fanciest house or have the best clothes, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t ever have them. One day, we will be at the top of the world and you will have a library full of books and butterflies.” Lily smiled at this comment, making Maya continue. “Right now, we aren’t in the best shape, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t happy. This is all temporary, okay? One day, we will find our place in this world, I promise.”
After a moment of hesitation, “Can I really have a library full of books and butterflies?”
“Of course you can. You can have anything you want,” Maya poked her nose, “You just have to work extra hard sometimes. Now, you have to go to sleep, you have a big day tomorrow.”
“Good night, Mommy.”
Maya leaned over and planted a kiss on Lily’s forehead before getting up, “Good night, Lily.” After unplugging the lights and shutting the door, Maya mumbled, “we’ll find the place we belong.”
The following morning, Maya woke up to an email from her realtor, Katelyn Smith. It was meant to inform her that a house had just opened up on the market and it was in Maya’s price range. What it didn’t say was why it opened up.
Katleyn received this information from a man with a shaky voice. He was giving up the house he grew up in. Of course it contained some of his worst memories, but it was a part of him. It belonged to his father, who passed away a few weeks earlier. The man still remembers watching his father dying.
His father’s thin figure laid in the uncomfortable bed, a thin blanket covering all but one foot he had poking out. He was surrounded by all of his children, the hospital only allowing a few people to be in the room at once. He wished they weren’t there, so they wouldn’t have to see him leave this Earth. At the same time, though, he was grateful to not be alone.
“Dad,” a middle aged man voiced out as he moved closer to the bed, “why didn’t you tell anyone you were sick?”
“I didn’t want you to worry,” the old man’s fragile voice rang out.
“We could have done something. Something to keep you from…from being in this hospital bed. Something to keep you from…”
“Dying?” the man finished.
“Dad, don’t say that,” a younger woman chimed in.
“What? It’s true.” He waited for someone else to say something, but they all stood silent, too scared to say anything. “Listen, you guys, I need you to know some things before I, you know.” After a breath, “Willow,” he grabbed his daughter’s hand. “You are the stubbornest woman I have ever met. Seriously, you’re worse than your mother was.” Willow laughed, tears beginning to form in her eyes. “But that is why you’re my little girl. I’m so proud of you for following in your mother’s footsteps, even if I didn’t always agree with it. You are an amazing woman.
“Isaac,” the dying man turned his attention to his son who was standing next to him. He grabbed his hand, “I remember when you were in diapers, and even then you were leading any group you could. That included the dogs. You are a natural born leader, and that is why you went from an assistant to the boss of your own company . And look what you have done with it; you’ve turned into an empire. I’m proud of you for leading this family into the right direction.”
He paused after that and moved his attention to his oldest son, the man sitting on a chair in the corner. His son stared aimlessly at the scene, not knowing what to say or how to feel. But the old man knew. He knew exactly what words to voice.
“And Trevor, my oldest son. Come here,” the old man summoned when the man didn’t move. Hesitantly he replaced Isaac’s spot as Isaac moved to other side of their father. “You and me? We have never gotten along. I think that as soon as you saw my face, you decided you hated me. Then again, you had every right to. I wasn’t a good father to you and I realize now, that there was no excuse. I always left you to fend for yourself and you added the responsibilities of a father to your plate. You raised your sister and brother when I couldn’t. And when I did straighten up and become an actual dad, I wasn’t good enough for you. I disagreed with every move you made. Now look at you, you are a famous writer and I couldn’t be more proud.” He grabbed Trevor’s hand, surprising his son.
After a moment, Trevor squeezed his hand in return, “I…”
“Let me finish. Each of you have done something with your lives. Something that I didn’t know how to do when I was your age. Usually, the child is supposed to look up to the parent, but I look up to you guys. I aspire to be as good as all of you are. I am so glad to call you my children,” the man said with a proud smile as he looked over each one of his children.
They spent the rest of his life talking. They talked about things they used to be scared to say. They talked about moments of their past. They talked about their mother. Most importantly, they shared with one another, the most they have ever shared with each other, in their father’s last moments of life.
All of the fun and flashbacks ended when their father voiced out his last words, “I can see God’s face.”
Willow threw herself at him, hugging him with all her might, hoping to keep him with her. Isaac held his face in his hands as he sat hunched over on the chair, tears streaming down his face. Trevor, though, he did what he felt he was born to do. He gently pulled Willow away from their father, allowing her to fill his shirt with her tears. As he did this, he rubbed Isaac’s back in a comforting way, making sure his siblings were taken care of. Something he learned from his father.
None of this comforting helped him, though. Instead, he felt pain in his chest. He felt his eyes begin to fill with tears as his vision became blurry. He didn’t let it out, however, he just bit his lip and swallowed the lump in his throat. The only thing going through his mind, ‘this is all just temporary. This place, this hurt, all of it. One day, I will be with my father again. Right where I belong.”