Winter’s Day

Bits of snow dropped from the branches, the cold of the wind helping to drive the powdered substance to glide off the houses that they passed in their walk. The wind picked up and more and more bits of snow fell from the trees, the houses, the lampposts. From certain angles it looked like it was snowing though the sky was clear and nothing fell from any point higher than the tallest trees.

It was a cold day and if the looks of the wind it was bound to get colder. Even now she could see people huddle further into their coats and scarves, hands that were already in gloves or mittens stuffed further into pockets to try and preserve what little warmth the smaller limbs generated on their own.

Mary was bundled up in her own winter gear; no matter how little she needed it not wearing it would make her stick out like a sore thumb and she didn’t want any undue attention. Her clothing looks slightly worn, but only superficially. Alex wasn’t about to let her go out in anything that wouldn’t do the job it was meant for, but he also hadn’t wanted to dress her up in name brands or anything too flashy. Not only was that far outside of her own comfort zone, he hadn’t wanted anyone looking too closely at her financial situation either. As long as people didn’t know about their connection then she couldn’t be put into the position of being used against him. He was likely one of the most overbearing and yet understanding people that she had ever met and Mary often wondered just how he had come by those particular personality traits when they were normally so at odds with one another.

This was a lovely world her sister had sent her to even if it had its own problems and issues to deal with.

The smog mixing with the clouds overhead made her sneeze slightly. It was probably going to snow that strange mud-snow that it had been doing for the past several days. Maybe she should have taken Alex’s advice and gone to school in a college town rather than a city?

See the World, Don’t See An Ocean

To go the distance is a wonderful thing!
Remember all the moments that had you smiling…
Away we shall drive, across the continent
Vows to make it the the next graduent.
Even though it’s the middle of the week
Live while you can and don’t be too sleek.
Sometimes it’s cheaper just to drive rather than fly.
To California now! The other way,
How long are we going to stay?
Even though we’ll be together  all the way.
Everyone will help when only one moves away.
Wow! You’ve scattered all over the place!
One to the West and one to the East states.
Recall that you’ve sent another to the South.
Let me know what it’s like going that route.
Don’t forget that wherever you go, you’re always home.
Home is where the heart is.

Written for Suzie’s Weekly Word Challenge this week: http://suzie81speaks.com/2014/05/26/weekly-word-challenge-travel/

When I was 12 years old, my family decided to drive across the Continental U.S. to see my second eldest sister graduate from boot camp. It was the middle of exams and we only had a little money. We went anyway and made up all the exams the week after.

Five or six years ago, another of my sisters was moving to California. So the majority of my family got time off, packed her up and we headed out. Nevada is a beautiful place, but once you get through the mountains and into California near Sacramento… There are practically no mountains. I spent the entire time completely lost. I grew up surrounded by mountains, without them I have absolutely no idea where I am. Having a compass didn’t help at all. (I have slight panic attacks when I have no mountains for an extended period of time.)

I’ve been to both the East Coast and the West Coast and yet have never seen an ocean.

I’ve had a panic attack and had to spend all day under a blanket while driving through Arkansas.

Many of my family have been all over. At one point I had a sister in Germany (stationed there), a sister in Hawaii (college student), another down in the bottom corner of Utah in the middle of the National Parks there (college, again) and my elder brother over in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (mission). They were all gone at the same time and the household was the smallest I’ve ever seen in my family (there were only five of us at home: one mom and four pre-teens/teens.)

My parents did all their traveling before they had us passel of kids (Dad was in the Air Force when they first met and he was stationed in various places) so I know about places, but other than reading, I haven’t actually been to very many of them.

Well, my imagination has always been up to snuff enough for me  and I do so love to look things up and then picture them in my mind. Maybe someday I’ll actually see an ocean in something other than through a lens, but until then, I’ll listen to the stories my family can tell and enjoy every moment of my travels through my mind.

Box of Memories

Anna smiled as she rooted through the small box in front of her. It had been years since she’d thought about any of this and even longer since she’d actually seen it, but as her hands picked up every item, fingers caressing certain points, her memories drifted to the front of her mind easily enough.

A small candle, half melted down, the wick blackened by both use and age.

She’d been barely a teen, her friends deciding she needed an abundance of candles, regardless of the fact that no one in their right minds let her use matches. (Trying to use an arts and crafts project where you carefully edged a picture with burnt paper hadn’t ended well, but thankfully, the fire had been contained before it really damaged anything.)

A small red and white box with the names “Meier & Frank” stamped on it, opened up to show a small necklace, earrings and bracelet set.

They’d been lovingly crafted by her grandmother with plastic pearls, silver beads and both large and small chain links. She’d worn them several times, but had actually lost the large pendant from the necklace the first time she’d ever put them on and had never found it. The set still was beautiful after all these years.

A folder filled with notes and small pamphlets on various houses, colors and different floor designs.

After several years in college, she’d finally found her major: Interior Design. Something that no one in her family, no matter how far out you searched, had ever gone into. It was completely new to her and yet also came slightly more easily than she had hoped. Her years of helping her mother rearrange the house once or twice a month, something that had annoyed her as a teen and amused her as a child, had finally gained an appreciation within her.

An old packet of photos in a card-stock packet that had been taken as a roll of film to the store to be developed and returned with little imperfections like fingers around the edges and heads cut off from inexperienced hands handling the old film-stocked camera.

The camera had been a gift from her elder sister, a hand-me-down that had been  carefully fixed before given with a small packet of four rolls of film for the excited would-be photographer: aged 13. She’d loved that camera and mourned its loss after flooding in the house had broken it beyond repair.

A small gold ring with a strange pale pink gem set into it.

It had been a small gift from her favorite aunt and had fit her little ring finger perfectly at age 7. It had no real gems or costly metal in it, but it was her first piece of jewelry and she’d worn it until it wouldn’t fit on her ring finger anymore. It barely fit on her pinkie finger now.

A scuffed and breaking red binder with childish scrawl across it stating “Anna’s Folder.”

She’d watched her eldest sister as she’d drawn with her fine pencils and pastel crayons a beautiful sunset. Anna had a hard time drawing stick figures, but with patient hands (and some frustration…a lot of frustration) her sister, Mary, helped her to draw on several pieces of paper and then grabbed an unused red binder from her desk. Carefully using a hole-punch along one side of the paper, Mary eventually had a little book for Anna to collect her drawings in it. On the second page was the sunset that Mary had drawn right next the clumsy attempt a five year old Anna had tried to draw as well.

There were more things within the broken little box of memories and Anna smiled, tears glinting in her eyes at times, as she carefully lifted everything and placed it to her side in a newer, plastic box.

“Almost done, honey?” a male voice called from the front of the garage.

Anna turned to her husband, Ivan, and nodded, “Just about, give me another five minutes and I’ll be through.”

“Don’t forget to wash up, we’re going out to eat after we’re finished cleaning the garage.” he reminded her before grunting as he lifted his second to last tote up onto the shelves they’d set up over an hour ago.

Anna looked around her at the small pile of boxes they’d gone through, together and separately throughout the last month. It had been slow progress going through the single garage, but at the beginning of spring they’d decided they wanted to actually use the garage to store the car instead of leaving it full of boxes from their move. Now, half a month later, they were almost finished.

Their first house still had a lot of work (they had barely touched the backyard and Ivan was certain that there was something wrong with the heating), but it was their’s.


Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompt: http://theseekersdungeon.com/2014/03/06/dungeon-prompts-season-2-week-10-dreaming-big/

This was supposed to end differently, but I think I kind of like it. This Anna is a little older than she was the last time I wrote about her (and originally was going to be a different person altogether, but she demanded screen time.)

(Also, I’ve been rooting through our garage for the last month, but have mostly been working alone due to work schedules. I am nowhere near as done as Ivan and Anna are, but my sister has helped me install the shelves and promises me new boxes as soon as she gets back from work.)