by Sana Hameed, Age 15, USA
Artwork by Lucy Zhang
The fiction prompt for April required that writer name at least three locations in their piece.
Flurries and Epiphanies
Kendra watched the snow flurries collect on the pavement outside the window, ignoring how her phone buzzed rhythmically as it was bombarded with messages. Kayleigh. The image of a short brunette with laughing eyes and a pale pink infinity scarf flashed across the screen. Kendra quickly turned it over and sprawled the fingers of her right hand over the surface of the window. The glass was cool to the touch, contrasting nicely with the steaming mug of white chocolate mocha she sipped as she observed the frostbitten landscape.
Though the climate was usually unpredictable in her hometown, a white winter was extraordinary. Dallas didn’t do snow. Snow made the entire city shut down. Kendra knew that schools had been cancelled because driving with the roads frozen over would lead to turmoil in traffic, and if there were no cars gracing the city streets, there wouldn’t be any planes taking off either.
“There goes my trip to France.” She sighed, checking the updated flight schedule and noting that every flight had been delayed due to the weather conditions.
“Is this seat taken?”
Kendra looked up to see an elderly man gesturing to the chair across from her with a rumpled newspaper under his arm, a mug of what seemed to be hot chocolate in his grasp, and a kind smile on his face. He wore a striped button down, dress pants, and suspenders reminiscent of the red licorice Kendra had used to play pirate and prisoner with her sister when they were smaller and more imaginative. At the end of each game, they would snack on the remaining bits of candy and laugh uncontrollably until it was time for bed. Kendra shook away the memories. They were bothersome. She needed to get away from them.
“No, of course not. Go ahead.”
“Why thank you. So where were you headed? Was your flight also delayed?” the man asked curiously as he sat down carefully. The stools were rickety but comfortable with plush cushions.
“I believe they all were.” She laughed at the old man’s attempt at small talk. “I was supposed to have a connecting flight from Amsterdam to Paris, explore Europe a bit during my time off from work. Apparently, I have accumulated quite a few vacation days over the last few years.” Kendra heard her phone vibrate once again on the table, muttered a mild profanity under her breath to make her annoyance known, and made a move to turn it off, but the old man stopped her.
“It’s no trouble really. Whoever that is seems pretty determined to get in touch. Maybe you should take a moment to respond.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Kendra replied succinctly. “It’s just my sister. We had a…disagreement. We need some time apart.”
“That isn’t why you’re fleeing the country, is it, young lady?” he asked, humour present in his expressive eyes. Those eyes forced people to put forth their complete trust and provide honest answers. They made lying impossible.
“Partially, yes. Kayleigh and I haven’t been able to see eye-to-eye for a long time. She’s younger, immature, selfish at times. Our parents…there was an accident a few months ago and they… they aren’t with us anymore. I’ve tried to take care of her, but then she made a scene at the funeral and now…now I don’t know anymore. We used to be so close. I need to get away. Spend less time worrying about her and more time worrying about myself.”
“I’m sorry for your loss. I know it must’ve been hard on you. Thank you for sharing this with me, a stranger. My wife…I lost her not long ago and since then, my daughter has basically severed our ties. She isn’t our only child, but she is our only little girl, and we spoiled her rotten. When her mom got sick, she dropped everything to help care for her, but now that she’s gone, Sofia has run away as far as possible. I think she shares your mentality that she needs to spend more time worrying about herself. I miss her.” The elderly man choked back tears, and Kendra could feel the ice that had encased her heart since the funeral melt along with the snow encrusting the pavement outside. She had never considered Kayleigh’s feelings in her efforts to get away, never considered how her sister needed her now more than ever. She had rebelled, but her rebellion didn’t warrant running away; it warranted staying closer and stronger than ever before.
“I miss her too,” Kendra murmured, and the old man grinned softly. He handed her her phone, and she greeted Kayleigh’s beautiful face with a wet smile, accepting the call with ease. When she looked up, the man had vanished and the snow had come to a halt. On the table sat her white chocolate mocha and a couple strands of red licorice, intertwined.
“Boarding flight 561 to Amsterdam,” she could hear over the intercom as she exited the airport through the sliding doors. The European excursion could wait. Kayleigh could not.
Sana Hameed is a writer inspired by how relationships change over time. She is also the newest addition to the LTC & jaBlog! Team.