“Why can’t you stay?” She asked.
“I have to find a job. That’s why I can’t stay here. There isn’t anything for me to do here.”
“I’m here, we are here.”
“But you don’t have to be here. You complain to me every day how much you hate it here. Why can’t we just leave? When I find a job and have a place of my own — come with me.”
“That’s not the point Charlie. You aren’t trying to find work here. I don’t like it here, but it’s all I know. You didn’t grow up here. You can’t understand.”
“You don’t think I miss my home? The house I grew up isn’t even owned by my parents anymore. They aren’t even together. You don’t have any concept of what it means to not have a place you belong to. The world doesn’t care that this is where you grew up.”
“I care about it and I thought you did too. You told me you cared. Was that a lie?”
“I do care about you. If you stay here you will be miserable. I’m doing this for us.”
“No you aren’t. You are doing this for yourself. You don’t feel like you can provide here. I don’t care about if you can provide or not. I just want you to be here by my side.”
“You don’t care if I can provide or not?” He asked incredulously. “What about you, Are you going to get a job so we can stay here? Have you ever had a job in your life?”
“Money isn’t important, only actions are important. If you cared about me you would figure out a way to make it work here.”
“Money is important when we don’t have any. We are barely surviving here as it is. We can’t do this forever. We need to make a change to make our lives better.”
“You just want to get rich. You can buy the things you never had growing up?”
“No, I want money so that my kids don’t have to grow up wearing the same clothes to school every day and that they don’t have to feel ashamed of their parents coming to school. I want to be able to buy my kids their first car even if I can’t send them to college. I want them to have it better than I did when I grew up. I don’t need to be rich to do that, but I need to have something more than what I have here.”
“So it is true. You just want money. Well go. Find someone who’s values align with your own. I should have never given you my heart. You were just going to leave me anyway.”
“You say you love me, but you refuse to leave here for a better life. Is this place all you want in life?”
“No, I want someone who cares for me and puts me as their top priority. I want someone who will stand by my stand in sickness and in health. I want someone here for the bad and the good. Because if you cared about me. About us. Then you would stay,” She screamed.
“I want those things too, but you are naïve to think we can just will them into existence in this backwater town. There is nothing here for anyone except a place to stop for gas, coffee, and a sandwich. This town is dying.”
“This town is all I’ve ever known. I thought you knew that.”
“I do know, but you are free to know more.”
That was the last time I saw my dad, but the money he sent every month for years kept me and my mom comfortable. I was even able to buy a used car on my 18th birthday. I don’t know what happened to him, but I’m going to find him.