A story about a girl named Sam growing up during her parents' divorce. All she wants is to be noticed.




Screaming. That is all Sam would hear through the night. At eight years old, Sam lies in bed listening to the slamming of beer cans on the hardwood floors and the crackling sound of the lighter as her mother, Melissa, lights another cigarette while sobbing in tears. I’m used to it by now, Nicole would think to herself. But the constant sound of breaking glass lies in her mind as she lays in bed, wondering if it will ever stop. Sam’s parents knew she had school in the morning, but her father, Larry, seemed not to care. The tone in his voice scared her so badly saying, “If you would put down those damn cigarettes Melissa, maybe our marriage would be worth saving!”

Now, Sam was a smart and intelligent young girl. She knew what she wanted in life, but the last thing she wanted was to listen to her parents argue every night. Tomorrow was her fifth day of the third grade. She had always been eager to learn new material in class, but at night it was hard to think about school with all the constant yelling back and forth between her parents. Nicole would lie in bed trying to force herself to sleep knowing she would wake up to a peaceful house. She had already known what divorce was about, but that never crossed her young mind until that weekend when it became real.

School was great that Friday. Mrs. Higgins, Sam’s teacher, had assigned a family tree project to do over the weekend. She was eager to show her mother the project since Melissa was the only one who would help her with all of her homework. However, something was different that day when her mother picked her up from school. Nicole could feel it. Melissa proceeded to tell her daughter she was going to spend the weekend with her father at the lake while she went to see Memaw and Grandad in Longview. Poor little Sam could tell something was wrong, her mother had been crying. She could see the bags under her eyes and the redness around her face. There was also a new scar on her eyebrow that had stitches in it. Something was going on, but Sam couldn’t figure it out.

The next day, while staring at the boats gliding across the lake, Sam reminisce the good memories she had with her parents getting enjoying the time as a family. From riding jet-skis to going tubing in the summer, Sam felt at peace at that moments in time. It seemed as all the negativity in her mind had washed away in the water.

Sam spent her weekend with her father. They loved to cook together, fish, and work together on electrical issues in the R.V. park. Larry was a master electrician. He would work in the heat all day and come home cursing every name in the book , but Nicole didn’t mind it. She was a daddy’s girl. Even though he scared her most of the time, she cherished the moments they would spend together, especially at the lake.

That weekend flew by like a flash of lightning. It was over in a heartbeat. Melissa came to pick Sam up one Sunday afternoon. That was when Nicole found out that her father was not going to live in the house anymore with them anymore. It broke her heart, knowing in her mind something bad was about to happen. Nicole put her clothes in the car and turned around to give her father a hug. He told her, “I love you pumpkin, forever.” Nicole climbed in the car and her mother drove off. Melissa explained to her daughter that they were going to stop by her aunt’s house to see Memaw and Grandad, not knowing what was about to take place.

Melissa pulled into the driveway, and Nicole jumped out to run to Memaw and Grandad to give them a hug. She loved her grandparents. They had always welcomed her with open arms, but today was different. Grandad had tears in his eyes. Something was wrong, but Nicole could not pinpoint what was going on. We then all went inside and had a snack. Melissa came up to Nicole and leaned down and told her, “We are going to stay at Grandad’s house for a week, while I try to figure out things with your daddy.” Nicole looked at her mother and she could see the pain in her face and the tears start welling up in her eyes.

A couple hours passed, and the time came to head to Longview. It was only an hour drive from Tyler, but to Nicole it felt like a lifetime. Nicole walked outside to her mom's car. A cool gust of wind hit her face as the autumn leaves began falling to the ground for the beginning of fall had just arrived. Her mother was right behind her, watching her little girl, knowing what was about to happen was going to break her heart. “Nicole,” she said, the little girl turned around and looked up to her mother, “I want you to ride with Grandad to Longview, he has something important to talk to you about.” Nicole was hesitant for she knew something bad was about to take place. She wanted to ride with her mother, but she did not argue. She then climbed into the car with her Grandad. He then persuaded to help her buckle her seatbelt and started the drive to Longview.

It was silent for about five minutes until they came to a stop light by Super One and he stopped and looked at his young granddaughter in the passenger seat. His face looked troubled, “Nicole, I don't know how to tell you this, but your mother insisted on me telling you. Mommy and daddy are getting a divorce and after today, you will never see your father again.” Nicole was furious. She reached over to her side and unbuckled her seatbelt and her Grandad put his hand on her knee and said, “Don't even think about it Nicole, this is how it's going to be from now on.” The light had just turned green and Nicole knew in her mind that it was too late to run back home. The whole ride to Longview, Nicole kicked and screamed furiously. She was heartbroken. How could someone say those cruel words to an eight year old girl? Why was she never going to be able to see her father again? These questions were spinning in her mind for the rest of the ride. By the time they reached their destination, Nicole had enough tears to fill a lake.

Calming down and wiping the tears away, Nicole climbed out of the car and persuaded herself that it was too late to run away, since her father was over an hour away. As she walked in the big house with the same old purple door that has always been there since the day she could remember, she thought to herself quietly. She wondered how her father was feeling at that moment, if he even knew what was going on. She took a shower and threw on her pajamas and climbed into bed. Her thoughts overwhelmed her throughout the night. What about school? Was she going to have to start at a new school? All those questions filled her mind and it scared her. One positive side she thought about was at least she did not have to fall asleep with screaming tonight, but she much rather would have heard that than deal with this. She did not want to start a new life, she wanted to go back home. Sadly, she had to accept the fact that this was going to be her new home.

Nicole woke up the next morning with the smell of fresh ground coffee and her Grandads homemade waffles. She sped down the hallway to the kitchen where her Grandad was already holding a plate of waffles just for her. “Eat quick,” he said, “we have a big day ahead of us. We are going to enroll you into a new school today.” Nicole looked at him puzzled. Was this really happening? She took her waffles and sat at the table and picked at her food, for now she had lost her appetite. She got up and finished her glass of milk and went to put on the uniform she now had to wear to school. The outfit disgusted her, a blue collared shirt and khaki pants. She looked in the mirror, brushed her hair and put it in a low ponytail. Now was the time for the new life to start, whether she was ready for it or not. After getting dressed, she slowly walked back to the living room where her mother was waiting on her with her new backpack and school supplies. Nicole could feel the tears start welling up in her eyes as she put the backpack on. Grandad had already left for work and Memaw came running into the living room wanting pictures for her first day at a new school. Nicole put on a smile, even though it was not real and posed for the camera. Melissa then told her it was time to go and Nicole climbed in the car. She was excited about school, but not the fact of having to meet new people and having a new teacher. She wanted to be back home in Whitehouse with her friends. Nicole could not bear the thought of having to start a new life in a place where she did not even feel welcome.



Weeks passed as the beginning of fall entered East Texas. It was late September and the weather was getting cooler. Nicole stared at the leaves falling in the wind as her new teacher, Ms. Johnson, was reading out of the history book about the Declaration of Independence. She wasn’t paying attention, she had already learned about this in Whitehouse. Nicole sat there and counted the days since she had last seen her friends and her father. It had almost been 6 weeks. She felt the tears start welling up in her eyes, but she pushed them away. She hated for other people to see her cry because she knew that someone would ask her what is wrong, and that would break her apart even more to talk about it.

School had ended and Nicole climbed on the bus to go home. The same routine of her new life she still could not get used to. She was the second to last person off the bus which meant she did not get off until almost five o’clock everyday. Which also meant she had a lot of time to think. Nicole would sit there on the bus and look out as the bus passed by all the trees. She would close her eyes and imagine herself back home with her family. Although they were bad times, she still loved to think about it. She missed her mom and dad being together, but there was nothing that could change that now. The school bus came to a stop and Nicole realized that she had made it home. She climbed off and looked up at the sky. Nicole wondered if her father was even thinking about her, did he ever care that she was gone?

Melissa greeted her with a hug at the door and she looked happy. Nicole noticed this was the first time she had worn makeup in weeks. Her mother looked at her, “Sweetie, I have a surprise for you,” she said. Nicole looked up and the first thought that came to her little mind was that they were going back home. Melissa told her to get in the car and they sped off into town. As her mother was driving, Nicole noticed she was not going the right direction that would lead them home. Her eyes started to water. She tried to push them back, but this time she couldn't. Melissa pulled up to a large building with the number four on it, followed by numbers below it that said, “400-408.” Melissa had a gigantic smile on her face and turned to her daughter, “welcome home Nicole.”

Nicole was speechless. “What is this mom?” Melissa then persuaded to tell her that she had got an apartment for us so we did not have to live with Memaw and Grandad anymore. Nicole started crying, and the tears would not stop. Melissa reached over and hugged her and also started crying. “This is how it is going to be baby girl, your daddy and I are not getting back together,” she said. Hearing those words made it worse for Nicole. She pushed her mother away from her and screamed, “I hate you!” Melissa threw her face into her hands and was crying uncontrollably, but Nicole did not care. All she cared about was getting her family back together. Her mother looked at her and told her to never say that again and to get out of the car to go look at their new home.

Nicole walked inside to find Memaw and Grandad standing there with open arms. She refused to hug them, she did not want anybody to touch her. Her blood was boiling and she was ready to run away, but she couldn't. Nicole persuaded to give them a hug, although she still had tear pouring out of her eyes from the argument with her mom. Memaw took Nicole’s hand to give the little girl a grand tour of the new apartment. Nicole tried to think positive for the moment, but the thought of starting a new life without her father in the picture terrified her. As they walked into the living room, Nicole noticed all the same familiar pictures hung in the living room above the fireplace that were in her house back in Whitehouse, but none were pictures of the family. Her heart was hurting inside, but she told herself to hide and it act happy. They went down a long narrow hallway where a big closet door was, and across from it was a bedroom door. Memaw looked at her and smiled, “I saved the best for last baby girl.” She then turned the doorknob and the door swung open, and what Nicole saw was a beautiful sight.

New bed, new TV, new dresser, everything was new. Nicole could not believe it. It was her dream room. Everything was bright pink. Nicole was fascinated. The negative thoughts about moving finally went away. As Sam walked around, she noticed a picture of her mother and herself when she was three. Looking into the picture, it hit her that her father was not going to be a part of her life anymore. Sam was going to have to grow up without a father, unlike anyone else. It will be okay, she thought to herself. She walked out of her room and went to the sliding glass doors that led to the balcony. She put all of her strength to open the sliding glass doors and got on her tiptoes to look over the wall. Her eyes went big. They lived right next to the pool! Same was ecstatic. A smile grew across her face as Melissa walked out and put her arm around her, Oh, I forgot to tell you the best part, but it looks as if you have already found it.” Sam looked up to the deep blue sky and thought, “Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.”

Later that evening, they all went to Sam’s favorite restaurant, Jalapeno Tree. Sam had loved mexican food since she day she could remember, although she only ordered one thing which was tortilla soup. For the first time in a while, Sam had a smile on her face. She felt good inside and finally the negative thoughts had gone away and she was enjoying herself in the new town. The Gregg County fair was going on that week. Of course Sam persuaded her family to take her. Melissa and Sam rode the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Octopus multiple times and she noticed that her mother was happy again and that put a smile on Sam’s face.

The next couple of weeks flew by. Sam had made some friends at her new school and what made it better was one of her new friends lived right across the hall from her at the apartment. Christmas break was coming up and Sam was excited to see what she would get this year. Although this would be her first year not with her father, she was going to try and make it the best one yet.

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When Christmas break arrived, it was a tradition for Sam and her cousin Josh to go to Memaw and Grandad's house for break. Sam loved this time of the year, and she loved her cousin Josh. They always butted heads since they were babies. Josh was three years older than Sam so she looked up to him like the brother she had never had. Derrick’s mom was Sam’s aunt. Derrick had also grown up with his parents getting a divorce, so Sam looked up to him for advice. The only problem was, his parents divorce was not affecting him like her parents was.

Sam sat on the couch watching Josh play video games, but then she realized that it had almost been four months since she had seen or heard from her father. She had noticed before that Memaw’s phone had been ringing a lot when she would get dropped off by the bus while waiting on Melissa to get off work, but she never paid attention to it, not until the phone started ringing today. Sam didn’t know where Memaw was so she rushed to the phone. As she looked at the phone number, she noticed it was her father. Sam quickly picked it up and ran to the nearest bathroom and locked the door. While tears started falling down her cheek, she answered the phone, “Hi daddy.”

Let me know what you think! I’m currently still working on the third chapter!

Read next: Allie on the Sand
Amber Crist
See all posts by Amber Crist