For Carter Jones, life couldn’t get any better than it is at the moment. His parents attended his school event together for the first time since he stepped into high school three years ago. His duet with Cassandra Higgins was a semi-success if not for the little wrong note she sang at the end, overall it was still great. They won third prize for the annual talent show.
“Great show, you guys!” Mr. Longford gushed as he entered the back stage. He gave Cassandra a pat on the back. “That was great, great, great. Even Mrs. Reyes was impressed. I could see it in her eyes.” He chuckled then he turned his attention on Carter who was busy fixing up his guitar. “Good job, Carter! You are really something with that guitar.”
Carter felt blood rush to his face in embarrassment. He wasn’t used to being praised so openly. “Thanks, Mr. Langford. It’s because of your mentoring.” He replied.
Mr. Langford grinned. “I know, kid.” He placed an arm over the Carter, “What do you guys say we head over to get some pork barbeque two blocks down? My treat!” He glanced at Cassandra who was texting on her phone. “You can invite your posé, Cass.”
Cassandra beamed. “Awesome! Thank you, Mr. Longford! I’ll go and call them.” She rushed out of the backstage. “We will meet you at the exit gate!”
“Yep!” Mr. Longford replied, “Walk with me, Carter.”
The two walked towards the exit gate a few yards away. “You know, Carter, I used to be really good with the guitar too, but then I stopped. I got busy with school and other priorities started to pile on top of each other.” Mr. Longford began. He shoved his hands inside his black coat’s front pocket. His blue eyes looked distant, like he was deep in thought. “I still know how to play it but I have lost my… zing. I am no longer into it as I was back in the days.”
“I guess, what I want to say is that you really have talent with the guitar and I heard you made the song you and Cass sang on stage. That was good.” He continued. “I want you to apply for a musical scholarship in New York’s School of Music. I’ve read your college plans and I know you are focused on business courses. That’s fine but you have real talent, kid. It would be a waste not to cultivate it.”
Carter nervously licked his lower lip before he replied, “Gee, thanks, Mr. Longford. It means a lot hearing that coming from you. I’ll think it over.”
“Sure. Let’s go eat pork.”
After binge eating on delicious grilled pork, Carter hurried home to have dinner with his parents. All of the lights were on when he arrived at their two-storey victorian home down in the suburbs of Long Island. He wasn’t surprised to see a lot of guests inside. His dad often held parties without letting the family know. It’s just a surprise party for everyone.
In their foyer, a banner that said: CONGRATULATIONS GIDEON AND CARTER! was seen hanging. “Congratulations, Gideon?” Carter whispered. Did his dad have good news? Was his parents gettimg back together? But then, if that’s the case, his mom’s name should be there too.
“Hiya, C!” Jill Jones greeted when she noticed Carter in the foyer. They were cousins from his father’s side. They had the same blue eyes and dark hair. “You are late to your own celebration. We saw your performance.”
Carter was confused. “What do you mean? You were at school?”
“No, silly. Your dad took a video of it and played it at the living room earlier.”
Carter let out a groan. That was so embarrassing! All of his relatives and probably his dad’s friends saw his performance. He sang too! How will he be able to face them now? With eyes cast downward, Carter hurried inside the home and prayed that no one will notice him but of course, since most were waiting for his arrival he was quickly seen.
“Carter! Babe! Over here!” It was his mom. She was waving at him to come closer. Defeated. He managed to give his mom a small smile. They didn’t look the same at all but Carter could see tht he had her nose and her affinity to anything musical. She had her blonde hair in a loose bun and she put on light make-up which was still noticeable for Carter. Barbara gave her son a quick hug when he finally arrived to where she was standing with her friends. “Oh, darling! Where did you go? We’ve been waiting for you to arrive for two hours.” She stated. “Since we have already told everyone, I’ll tell you myself… no wait, your dad and I will tell you together.”
Barbara grabbed Carter’s hand and dragged him to where Gideon was. “Honey, Carter’s here.” She called then gestured the two to follow her upstairs.
“That was a great performance, kid.” His dad began when they were alone in his parent’s bedroom. “I never knew you liked music.”
“You never attended my school events.” Carter stated.
His mom gave him a look thst clearly says to be nice. “Anyway, Carter, we have great news for you.” She began then glanced at his dad. They both nodded at the same time.
“We are moving!” They both announced in unison, taking Carter aback.
Gideon placed an arm over Barbara’s shoulder. “Your mom and I, we’ve been fixing our issues and we have both agreed to focus on family so we are moving to a small town called Highlands. It’s up north!” He was saying.
“You will love it! The whole town looks something out of a postcard. You can hike, go kayaking, or whatever camp! You like that, right?” Barbara added, looking a little hopeful. “Plus it isn’t too crowded. No worries, they have a mall and popular fastfood joints. It’s not all mountain.”
Carter blinked. “My life is here. Mr. Longford wants me to get a music scholarship.”
“You can still do!” His mom quickly reassured. “We just think this is needed for our family… to get away from the city, you know. Everything is so stressful here. In a small town, we can concentrate on strengthening our bonds, focusing on each other…”
“Why would you want a music scholarship? I need you to take over the business when you grow up. Didn’t we already agree that a business course is what we will be aiming for?” His dad suddenly cut in.
“Yes, dad, but studying music won’t hurt.”
“Yes, it will hurt our family’s business. You can study that on your free time or whatever.” His dad pushed. “Back to the topic, we will be moving in two weeks.”
Carter was just… speechless. First, they tell him that his performance was great then they discourage him from getting into music. Second, they decided to move on their own. Never did they ask for his opiniom when his life was going to get affected too. He didn’t bother saying anything. Instead, he just walked out and locked himself up in his room. It wasn’t like anything he will say will make a difference. Plus his mom looked so happy to be moving.
Good bye, New York in two weeks it was.