Waverly School. Located just west of Bolton, Massachusetts. Which, of course, if you are like me you have never heard of it. To give you a frame of reference it's about forty five minutes west of Boston. There you go, I know you have heard of that. Now I say forty five minutes because that is what MapQuest would have you believe. In reality it is over an hour. I have just been relocated here after a… lively past couple months.

You see, I am from Martinsville, New Jersey. Another town I am sure you have never heard of but none the less, it is my home. Well, it was for my mom and me. She and Dad had been divorced about 4 years. They like to keep up with the trends, in the early 80s it was getting married young, now it is getting divorced around your midlife crisis phase. Dad moved away to Washington. As in the state, not D.C. Mom got full custody and now it's a tossup whether or not I'll hear from Dad at Christmas or my birthday. He gets caught up at work, so I don't take it personally. He wasn't built to have a family; his brain doesn't function outside of the office.

Anyway, as my junior year started to wind down at the end of May, Mom was on the way home from her business trip in New York. It was rainy. The road was wet, I am sure it was hard to see. The company driver was driving through an intersection. Someone ran a red light. The next thing I knew I was sitting in the waiting room of the Somerset Country Emergency Room. From the moment the Cops showed up on my doorstep to arriving in the blindingly bright florescent lights of the hospital, I could remember very little. It's all blurry. I can visualize the Police Officers coming in my front door and sitting me down on the couch. They introduced themselves, two men. I couldn't point them out in a line up if you asked me. I simply stared straight ahead as they told me what happened. I saw them sitting in my living room but I didn't hear a word they said past the words: "There was an accident." I have heard it described before, what you feel like when you get earth-shattering news. You don't hear anything, you don't know what's going on, and you're dazed. It's true. At first I felt and heard the blood rushing to my face and in my ears blocking out the Officer's voices. Then my mind started picturing the company car I had seen my mom ride in dozens of time wrapped around another. In my mind it was a dark blue Volkswagen. At an intersection on Highway 22 by a shoe store we go to. In reality I don't know where it was or what the other car looked like. And these details don't matter. But as all of this flashed through my mind on repeat I must have been running on autopilot because I managed to have communicated to the officers that yes, they could take me to the hospital and no, there isn't anyone I needed to call right away.

So the first time I had been to the hospital since my birth was for my mother's death. I knew it the second I saw my mother's surgeon come out from behind those swinging doors labeled "Do Not Enter" in bright red print. He was tired and ragged looking, like he had been in these situations too many times to care for. He just looked at me and apologized. That's when I shed my first tear. It was beginning to seem real now. My mom, my other half, without whom I didn't think I could function without, was gone. Where do I go? What do I do? Simple things like going to the grocery store seemed out of reach now. I don't get my license till July.

By the time I was given a chance to say goodbye to my Mom's body, she wasn't in there anymore, and was taken to the Police Station to discuss my situation it was well into the middle of the night. It was time to find a place for me to go. I am still a minor. I can't live alone. Who was my closest living relative, they asked. Closest biologically was my father, closest physically was my Aunt. Aunt Paige. Resident of the city Bolton, Massachusetts. She is my mother's sister, although I hadn't seen her in a couple years. I hadn't seen her since Grandma, their mother, passed away a couple years before. I told them to call her.

The next day she was on a flight to New Jersey. I went with the Cops to pick her up. I hadn't slept that night. I hadn't even left the Station until it was time to go to the airport. It seemed to me that there were a lot of people at the station waiting around. Waiting for paperwork, waiting for lawyers, waiting for family members to come pay bail, etc. It was easy to blend in and stay awake; it was the atmosphere of a place that never slept. No one went out of their way to talk to me or comfort me. That is how I preferred it. "What's wrong?" Those are the two words that God invented to make me cry like a baby. I could have been shopping at the mall with my best friends, joking around and if those words are uttered in just the right tone, my lip would start trembling and my eyes would fill with tears. It's as if my body is trained to react a certain way in response. But no, I did not have the deal with this at the Police Station and for that I am grateful. There was a time and place to grieve and this most certainly wasn't it.

As I saw my Aunt walk past security and towards the baggage claim, I stumbled forward into her arms. I just held on. I don't know how long we stood together. Long enough for the tears to slip from beneath my eye lashes and onto her shoulder. I finished the crying I started back at the hospital the night before. As Aunt Paige whispered comforting words in my ear I felt safe again. I knew I didn't have to grow up just yet. I didn't have to be alone and worry about who I would end up with.

From the airport it was back to the Station to finish paperwork and custody papers. I barely remember this part. My exhaustion kicked in as the hours passed. Then we went home. I carried myself to my room, my mind numb from crying, and my eyes dried and puffy. I fell asleep as I came in contact with the bed. It was a deep, dreamless asleep for which I was thankful for. Simply a time for my body and mind to recuperate from what I had put it through in the past twenty four hours.

The days flew by after this. Aunt Paige stayed in the guest room. She dealt with the lawyers, Mom's office, the funeral home, and the church. The funeral for Mom was three days later. I found the ceremony comforting. There was an order and reason for each element, as there always is to Catholic ceremonies. That's one thing I love about Catholicism. It's logical and dependable. I like dependable. I knew few people there, mostly friends and colleagues from Mom's job. Dad was there. It was comforting knowing he still loved her. He stayed over at the house after the ceremony and thanked Aunt Paige profusely for taking care me and for everything. They discussed contact information, schooling, where I would go, and all of those things I hadn't even begun to contemplate. I had two weeks left at my school here. And then I would be done for the summer.

Form there, I took one day at a time. School. Friends. Pitying faces in the hallway. I know I was withdrawn. My best friends for as long as I can remember were worried. I was always the upbeat one. But I couldn't bring myself to care about others or their worries. It seemed too trivial to me. Suddenly these people, who I had cared about as if they were family, were suffocating me. I wanted out. So I counted down the days until finals. And then until the day finals were over. After finals Aunt Paige and I were going to pack up the house and have all of the things I wanted to keep to her house in Massachusetts. And then we were going to sell the house and I was moving away. Away from the place I called home for as long as I can remember.

I broke the news to my friends as soon as it was decided. I met with them at the local bookstore. We drank coffee and read magazines; magazines that we put back on the shelves as we left, we would never actually spend our money on them. They looked relieved to see me there drinking my coffee and reading about how to best please my boyfriend, the one I didn't have.

"I'm leaving," I simply stated as I closed the third magazine I had read through. I looked up to see the somber faces of my best friends, Erin and Lainie. We had been a trio since middle school. Inseparable. But now I couldn't bring much emotion into the news I was telling them. I wanted to get away. I felt as if I had suddenly grown and I didn't fit in this town, the school, or this bookstore with the people I love. And for that I was sad, but not because what was happening.

"Where are you going?" Lainie finally replied.

"To stay with Aunt Paige," I responded. "She can't leave her job and there's a good school nearby, she says."

"We'll miss you, Maddie," Erin whispered.

"I know," I sighed. "But I can't stay here much longer. It's tough."

School ended. Finals were over and my transcripts were sent to Waverly School. The moving truck packed up the remaining contents of what had been my home for most of my life. Aunt Paige and I set off to the airport. Me with my one-way ticket in hand.

Getting off the plane at the end of the flight was the start of a new episode of my life. I had the summer to work, get my license, started seeing a psychiatrist, and get acquainted with my new school. See, what I didn't know was that Waverly School was a boarding school.

Not until about halfway through July that summer. Aunt Paige lived smack dab in the middle of Boston. It was easy to find a close job to occupy my days and save a little money. The local sub shop wasn't classy but it filled the bank account. And my driver's license picture turned out as horrible as I anticipated when my seventeenth birthday rolled around in July. It was actually this day, my Birthday (Dad actually remembered to call, I still wasn't too impressed what with the recent events) that Aunt Paige told me. She said I'd need a car at school. I didn't see why if I was just attending the local public school in the city. I guess it runs in the family though, workaholism. Aunt Paige had always been too caught up in her career to even glance at men. She'd been alone, no one to worry about or look after and I think she liked it that way. Sending me to the nearest boarding school was her way of making sure I was well looked after without having to change her daily routine. After the fight that inevitably broke out, it was decided that to Waverly school I was going and I was to inherit Aunt Paige's Ford Focus she had just finish paying off so that she could move on to a newer model.

"What exactly are you worried about attending Waverly School?" Claire, the psychiatrist Aunt Paige vehemently insisted I visit twice a week as soon as I arrived in Boston at the end of May, questioned. It took about a month and a half but we're starting to have a comfortable relationship. It's nice to talk to an adult without having to treat them like one.

"Oh, I don't know." I sighed as I slouched back into the plush armchair. I had just broken the news to Claire about my future school location. Waverly School, just west of Bolton, Massachusetts, wherever that was.

"Is it simply the idea of attending a new school?" Claire leaned forward to give me that penetrating look that she was so good at.

"I don't know!" I was beginning to feel frustrated. Half the time it wasn't that I didn't want to open up to Claire, I just didn't have the words to properly express myself. I often feel like the English dictionary does not contain words that properly describe what goes on inside of me. "I think it might be that when Mom died I felt as if I was alone. And that I had to take care of myself. But then Aunt Paige came and I thought we would take care of each other like Mom and I did."

"So you are disappointed that you aren't staying at Paige's?"Claire asked as she jotted down notes on her folder.

"I guess that's it." I replied. "I am not mad that I have to attend a new school. I don't' mind that. At least not yet, we'll see how I feel when I am there. I feel like I should have this extra year before I go off to college where I am supposed to lay around the house after school and have my Mom yell at me to clean my room."

"You feel you are being forced to grow up too fast."

"Yeah…"I whispered.

"Madison, many people have been forced to grow up when they aren't ready. Human beings are amazing at adjusting to their environment. You said last week you want something different than what you experienced at your home on New Jersey. Take this in stride and you may enjoy it."

"If I have to," I whined. I have found in these sessions that I am really good at whining.

"Have you had anymore dreams of your mother's accident?" Claire abruptly changed the subject to the topic of my mother. We talk about her the most. It's hard to remember all the good and bad things, it makes me miss her more.

"I had one a couple nights ago. Just the same one as always…."