Saturday, December 24, 2011

"The Arrival"

"The Arrival"

Dedicated to: Grandma and Mitch, my inspiration in much more than writing
Love: Kayla

          Every year is a new adventure, a familiar escape seen through  new eyes—ones merely a year older.  Practically every year is the same ritual performed through longer and longer strides by a girl painted with older and older features. Though she has changed, she realizes with comfort that the fantasy land she has come to love hasn't. This sanctuary would always be her escape from the world of passing and failing into a land of impossibilities and fantasy.
          Once she passes through those magical pines, dusted finely with the most sumptuous of powdered sugars, she realizes her impossible journey is complete. With boots, slippers, or sometimes holed shoes, she shoots down a smooth, concrete hill with nothing but momentum and the gentle guidance of air keeping her feet planted firmly to the icy ground. When she looks back, headlights are following behind her, illuminating the white puffs of her breath. But she can only trumpet with mirth, continuing without complaint, ignoring every snowflake catching in her hair. The best is yet to come, she realizes, dashing up stairs and onto a porch. With eyes wide with amazement, she peers up at wide double doors and finally spots her target: a circular milky-white button. Once the beams of the lights cease and her fellow travelers catch up, her fingers make contact with the button and the building inhales as if preparing to perform some mammoth task. Without a second more of hesitation, the home's breath rushes out in the form of tolling bells, ancient but nostalgic.
          The teenage girl bounces on her heels, shivering under her light, frost-crisped jacket, waiting for the inhabitants of her fantasy land to open their portal and continue her adventure. After all, that year's chapter began the moment she woke up that morning, groggy from a lack of sleep and filled to the brim with anticipation. Shaking the last thought of sleep from her mind, she summons up her brightest smile as the door opens to reveal a meek woman and a towering man, both exhausted from preparations. Twirling on the tips of her toes, she lunges inside to meet the comforting warmth and engulfs the two in embraces, glossy-eyed the entire time. The smells: soup and winter and ancient woods and magic. The sights: floral tiles and dimly lit rooms and plush carpet and friendly faces. The sounds: greetings and shuffling feet and crinkling jackets and the beating of hearts.
          The love: filial and wistful and celebratory and… warm.
          This girl, she knows she's home. And even though she knows this displacement is not permanent (it never is), she realizes that this magic is everywhere: especially in her heart.

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