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Signs - Laura Daniels

The last thing I remember as my eight-year-old head hit the pillow was that we had to move.

The landlord sold our home, and the new owner wanted our apartment. When I opened my eyes to a bright sunny morning, I knew something was up because the sun waited until late afternoon to come into my bedroom. I got up and peeked out the window.

My Concord Place bedroom was now situated neatly at the edge of Aunt Blanche’s backyard.

The house had settled on the familiar football field-size lawn. I saw Aunt Blanche hugging Ma. Was Ma crying? They were too far away and talking too softly for me to make out the words. I could tell by the way Ma looked that something was up. Was she upset? Nervous? Was she looking for me?

I scrambled to get dressed and joined Ma in the yard.

Aunt Blanche was a sturdy woman only a few years older than Ma. She never married, talked loudly, and cursed like a sailor. She scared me because she was tougher than Ma. But she was hugging Ma. That was a good sign.

Aunt Blanche had inherited this six-family house from her ma, my Grandma Mizerek. The house stood next door to the town firehouse. The six railroad apartments were filled with Mizerek families. I’d visited often but never stayed.

This visit looked different.

As I stood there next to Ma, I had lots of questions rolling around my head. Does this mean we can stay in our Concord Place apartment? Will the relatives be welcoming? Will they be loving? What about school? What about my friends?

What will it be like living in someone’s backyard?

I was too scared to ask any of the questions aloud. I just took Ma's hand and listened. I had a feeling I'd have my answers soon. Ma always told me to be patient, that good things took time.

We had time now.

I heard sirens in the distance. The fire trucks were being called out. I hope they’re safe. I hope we’re safe. I hope I’m safe. As I roused myself from a sleepy fog, I saw it was a grey, dreary morning. The alarm clock was waking me up for school.

That’s not the sign I expected.


Laura Daniels is a prolific writer for adults and children. Founder of the Facebook blog The Fringe 999 - - it’s published daily and has over 150 members who come together to share their creative endeavors. She’s published in the Visible Ink 2021/2022 Anthology and New Jersey Bards Poetry Review 2022 and is an active member of Women Who Write, Inc. Her writing explores transformation, nature, and slice of life. She lives with her family in Mount Arlington, New Jersey


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