“Kaleigha,” her mother was back at the top of the stairs. A hopeful look graced her face. “Can I help you pack?”
“Yes, Ma,” Kaleigha smiled as she sprinted up the stairs. She followed her mother to the middle bedroom. She was not surprised to see it was decorated with a cheery yellow color and dotted with pops of silver and pink.
“Where’s Amina?” She asked looking for evidence of her aunt.
“Who is that?” her mother asked, a shadow falling over her pleasant face.
“No one,” Kaleigha shivered as a chill rolled down her spine. “Never mind.”
An hour later, their suitcases were in the back of the SUV and they stood in somber silence in the living-room.
“Mommie is so proud of you all,” their mother repeated for the hundredth time, dabbing her wet eyes. Felder comforted her with a weak, one armed hug.
Kaleigha was relieved that her mother was too happy to manage a full cry, but she was ready for this goodbye to be over.
“Honey,” Felder said sweetly, “I think I should accompany the children to the village, just in case there is any paperwork to sign.”
“It that allowed?” She looked at Egoly.
“Only on the first day,” Egoly’s tone was grave.
“Then, yes,” her mother nodded, “I’ll feel better knowing you’re there to see it.”
“I won’t let them stay if there is even one thing out of place,” Felder kissed her cheek and waved them all outside.
“Good-bye, my children,” her mother said, despair creeping into her voice. “I hope to see you all again.”