Leaving the Nest – Short Story


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Nathan (right) with his brother Chris and I at his 21st birthday celebration in Brisbane a week ago.

Leaving the Nest – J.Leahy Short Story

One more of mine flew out of the nest. This time, not the feathered kind. As you often read, I write about lorikeets that leave our home. My son Nathan, 21, has moved out of home officially today. He has been moving furniture, but his mattress arrived this afternoon to fill the empty bones of his new bed. He had figured, he said, it was a good enough time to finally tell his mother – he was not coming home tonight.

“I’ll stay at my house”, he said with a smile. “But I might be back tomorrow” he added. His silly and cheeky grin was on. Tonight was his first night in his new home where he shares with two flat mates. It takes less than 15 minutes to drive to him; not far from where we live, but it feels like he has moved to another country. It has taken him 18 months to find a place of his own. I thought it was a threat initially, but now, it was a reality. I looked at him and couldn’t think of much to say so I repeated the same: “text me and let me know.” Somehow this sounded weird, because, I could not possibly check if he has gotten home (his home) every night. I had a flash of memory as he picked up his sheets and headed for the bus stop. (He would not let me drop him off).

19 years ago, he carried his school bag and ran off on his little chubby legs with a back wave and a shout “bye mum” as he ran into the kindergarten. I sat crying in my car before I dried my tears and drove to work. He never looked back that day, although he was under school age and was allowed to go to school. He could not wait to start school. Nathan has always been a very independent child – spending hours alone working out puzzles or building blocks, opening the fridge and feeding himself, even when missing his cup and pouring juice or milk on the floor. Watching him walk quickly away today, I thought to myself, I should be grateful, he didn’t leave our home earlier at 18 or 20 years old. At least I had him here for a few more years.

He took his new white cotton sheets (mine I never used) for his Queen bed. Only I had a Queen bed before. But now, he has the sheets, because he has a new bed, and his old bed was a single King. I was going to wash the sheets first but when I woke up, he had left. I rang him to bring it back, because he does not have a washing. So that’s why he came back with the sheets and waited while I washed and dried them.

All the trips to the new place, since he got his unit keys on November 27th has come to an end. November was a big month for Nathan. He turned 21, completed his exams for a Science Degree and even started dating seriously. It was all new for him and for me. I am proud and happy, really, I told myself that. I miss him already. And, I know he will be fine and will show up in the next couple of days with his silly smile.

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