Craig Cantaloupe’s Life is Upended When His Parents Divorce

Oct 17, 2020 by Meryl S. Brown | Author

     Growing up in Fruitland, Craig thought his life provided an example of perfection, an example of living the “good life.” The Cantaloupes lived close to the Pacific Ocean in an elegant, two-story home. Mrs. Cantaloupe cooked gourmet meals each evening, or so Craig thought. Teaching middle-school computer courses, Mr. Cantaloupe earned the respect of all of his students; they lovingly called him “Mr. C.”
     One of Craig’s closest friends, Peter Pineapple, lived within walking distance. Since elementary school, they’ve spent many hours at the beach while also seriously talking about their future careers. Now, as seventh graders, they felt certain that they would graduate from both Fruitland High School and Fruitland University. Craig’s major would be Information Technology (IT), and Peter planned to pursue a major in Communications. Becoming a motivational speaker became Peter’s daily focus.
     Planning for Benny Blueberry’s Vinyl Release Party started to take center stage with close friends devoting hours to strategizing how to advertise the event. One technique the friends agreed on had to be approved by Peter’s parents.
     When Peter got home, he said hi to his parents and then shared, “Mom, Dad, we’ve been talking about how we can advertise Benny’s upcoming event. And we’re wondering if we could design a sign to hang from our flag pole.”
     “Perhaps you guys could make a sign that could be displayed from our balcony. That might be a clearer way to get viewers.” Mr. Pineapple said with a warm smile.
     “What a wonderful option, Mr. Pineapple!” Craig enthusiastically responded. “Your balcony can be seen for miles, since it’s higher than most homes in the neighborhood.”
     “Thanks, Dad. You’re the best! We’re going to Craig’s house to start making the sign.”
     After a short walk to the Cantaloupe’s home, Craig and Peter went to Craig’s room to begin the sign. Forty minutes later they agreed that their product looked successful. Letting the paints dry for twenty-four hours seemed logical, so they planned to meet again the next afternoon, Sunday.
     When Peter rang the Cantaloupe’s doorbell on Sunday afternoon, he felt unsettled. The loud yelling and screaming that met his ears made Peter feel unsure that anyone heard the doorbell. In all of the years he had known Craig, he had never witnessed the confusion that enveloped the Cantaloupe home. The family always got along well.
     But there was a new, red sports car in the driveway. Maybe that belonged to Mr. Cantaloupe’s brother, Chauncy. He had quite a reputation for being a playboy. Chauncy lived about thirty minutes away, so maybe he had caused some type of problem in the Fruitland home.
     When Craig answered the door, he said nothing about the noise nor did he mention the car in the driveway. Peter knew to not ask questions that appeared to not be his business. The friends ran up the stairs, closed the door to Craig’s room, and carefully evaluated their product.
     “Looks great, Craig! We really exceeded my expectations.”
     “Yeah! I’m proud of our product.” Craig’s smile seemed genuine, so Peter said nothing else.
     “I’ve a lot of homework to finish, so I better go now. Thanks for everything, Craig. I’m going to ask Dad to hang the sign from the balcony before it gets dark. See you at school in the morning!”
     Craig smiled warmly and said, “Great! I’ll look forward to seeing you before school at our favorite meeting spot.”
     As soon as Peter walked past the red sports car, the screaming began again. He just didn’t know what to do, and he felt that he better not tell his parents about the unusual commotion.
     Very, very early the next morning, Peter received a text from Craig. After reading it, the noise and the red sports car made sense. Craig, his mom, and sister had packed their bags in the middle of the night. They were on their way to stay with Mrs. Cantaloupe’s sister because Mr. and Mrs. C were getting a divorce!
     Peter’s shock covered his face when he sat down for breakfast. He couldn’t believe that his close friend had moved away. Would he ever see him again? He shared his concern with his parents.
     Mr. and Mrs. Pineapple knew a little about the challenges in Mr. and Mrs. C ‘s lives. “So sad,” Mrs. Pineapple moaned. “Thirty years of marriage thrown away because Mr. C is bored with his job, his life, and Fruitland.”
     “When he bought that red sports car, I knew there would be problems.” Mr. Pineapple sadly relayed.
     “Mom, Dad, I’m so scared for Craig. His whole life is in Fruitland. The family has visited with his aunt before, and Craig said he hates her.”
     “Peter, those are strong words!” Mr. Pineapple placed his arm on Peter’s shoulder. “Give Craig a few days. Then, text him.”
     Peter listened to his dad. He waited two days. When it was about 7:00 p.m., he texted Craig. No response. Peter’s parents encouraged him to wait a few more days.
     Finally, a brief text could be read. “So depressed. Give me time. I’ll text you.” Months passed, though, with no texts returned. Now, Peter knew that he had to find someone to take on Craig’s role, someone wise who could handle all of Craig’s responsibilities for the vinyl release party.