other bits of blog

Friday, April 2, 2010

76 and sunny

Q & A ~ Maia: Um, is anyone out there? Is anyone even reading this right now? Come on, I need new followers, and I need you to comment, so I can get your feedback. People, hello!
Readers: We are here! We will comment! [Please, please do so!]

Now, back to the blog.

I'm not really sure what to say here, just that I've been writing a lot. I'm not sure where all this a capella is coming from, but I have a feeling it's from the flowers.
Beautiful. Beautiful. Bee-oo-ti-ful! It was 76°F today. 76°F! I'm just happy. Very, very happy.
And I suspect that you are unhappy because I am blabbering about how happy I am and maybe you don't have weather like this yet, so you are feeling all grouchy about winter and cold. And I suspect that some music (not quite music yet...) will cheer you up. But first, read this. Then this:


Of Notes and Rhythm [the temporary title]
Family


Loud chirps awoke Paige from a peaceful night’s sleep. Peaceful, for once! And those stupid birds had to wake her up at 6:30 in the morning like there was school that day.
Paige lived in a large house with a large family. She had four siblings, two boys and two girls, and two majorly old grandparents. Adding her parents to the mix, the total was nine people in her house. Every morning her grandparents got up at 7:00, exactly, and hollered until someone ran upstairs and told them who they were and where they lived. Her 97-year-old grandmother even forgot her own son---Paige’s dad---and Paige’s mom.
But Paige’s siblings were worse. She had one older brother, Wil, but he was 18, just out of high school, and was searching for a college. He wasn’t that much of a bother, just boring, really boring. The other boy was named Anthony, and he was in fourth grade, the second youngest in the family. Tony was obsessed with every sport he could get his hands on, being with his friends, and teasing the girls that he thought he was old enough to hang out with, even though he was only ten.
Paige’s two sisters were Cassandra and Zoë. Cassandra was in fourth grade, she was Tony’s twin. She was just annoying, convinced that the universe revolved around her, and that she could get anything she wanted. Paige tried to stay away from the annoying Cassandra Adlebird---she wouldn’t be called anything other than that---and her affairs. Zoë was Paige’s favorite sibling.

Paige’s mom and dad had adopted Zoë when she was eight months old. She was born in Indonesia, and looked it. Zoë’s skin was colored a nutmeg brown, with shoulder-length, raven-black hair. Her eyes were black and huge with long eyelashes. Paige’s sister was fourteen and had just started high school this year. She had a bunch of friends, and didn’t need Paige to show her around anymore, but she was still kind and sweet to her older sister.
Paige frowned. Any minute Grandma would be hollering her head off, with Grandpa cowering in their bed, wondering what the heck his wife was doing. She’d best try to be out of the house in time for that.
The girl swung herself out of bed and stepped into the bathroom that she and Zoë shared. She knew it so well that she didn’t need her glasses to see her way into the room. The girl rinsed her face and jumped in the shower, letting the cold water run over her sweaty body. After a second or two, she changed the water to hot, and scrubbed her hair and the rest of her.

In five minutes she was done and hopped out, grabbing her towel. A tall, dark girl was in the room, it was Zoë, at the mirror, brushing her hair.
“Hey, Zo,” Paige said, covering herself with the towel, attempting for it to dry her in seconds.
“Hey,” Zoë answered, clearly not focusing on her sister, but on the huge tangles she was failing at combing out.

Paige just smiled and completed her task. She used her towel to wrap a towering turban over hear head, then scooted in next to Zoë, and brushed her teeth. Without a word, she walked into Zoë’s and her own room. She stepped in front of the closet and opened it, choosing quickly a pair of slightly skinny blue jeans and a skin-tight green striped t-shirt with a v-neck. Paige slipped them on and jabbed her glasses over her nose. She yelled a short goodbye to the exasperated Zoë, threw on her sweatshirt and her sneakers, and ran out the door, grabbing an apple as she tossed off her turban.
When Niko woke up the house was quiet. She was used to getting up at a regular time for school, but she had a week with none. Niko sighed and gently moved her two kittens, Daya [dai-a] and Cedar, out of the way so they wouldn’t be disturbed as she left the bed. They protested by meowing, but Niko ignored them and got out of her bed.
Daya followed Niko to the bathroom as she brushed her teeth. The kitten’s now powerful legs jumped up to the sink and Daya’s soft green eyes followed Niko’s every move. Daya was what most people called gray, but Niko liked to call her shiny coat silver. The female looked very different from her brother, Cedar, as Cedar was a dark ebony cat with bright yellow eyes and one white star on his belly. But, if you looked close enough, you could tell that the two sleek kittens were indeed siblings.
Niko smiled at her companion. Ever since Daya had learned to jump she had been following Niko up to the sink every morning. Cedar, Niko knew, would rather sleep the whole day. He was the mellower of the two, but Daya was as loyal as loyal gets.
Once she was done brushing her teeth, Niko combed out her long, dark hair with practiced ease, then slipped off her clothes and groggily stepped in the shower. She wouldn’t wash, but she needed something to wake her up.
Left out, Daya wondered back to Niko’s bedroom. It was big, with a queen-sized bed about eight inches off the ground, a walk-in closet, a desk, a couch in a window seat, connecting bathroom (the one Niko was in now), and even her own mini adjoining room, which Niko used as a library and study place. Her desk was in that room. Including the remaining space, in which Niko did yoga, played with her kittens and more; there was about 80 square feet in her room.

Daya roamed the room for a while, then leaped up onto the couch. Cedar, annoyed by having no warmth next to him, got up, stretched, and ambled over to his sister. He snuggled next to her, and was about to start grooming her, but decided against it and just went to sleep by Daya’s side.

Meanwhile, Niko splashed out of the shower, laughingly awake. She smiled as she rubbed her towel all over her body, drying herself quickly. Without drying her hair she ran into her room and over to her closet. She stepped in and looked around. Warm. Warm and sunny, she thought, smiling.
The girl turned to the side of the closet where she hung her bottoms---skirts, pants, shorts, and dresses---and grabbed a pair of black denim shorts that were cut off at her thighs. Going over to the other side, tops, this time, Niko chose a three-quarter sleeved black shirt with a hood and gold stitching on the edges. Putting everything on, Niko walked to the end of her closet, the part where she kept jewelry and hairpieces, as well as a full-length mirror. She picked out two hanging earrings, black pearls with gold drops falling from them, and added a matching charm to the gold necklace that she always wore around her neck. The necklace brought back memories.
August, her father, had given it to Niko a year before he died. Grimacing, Niko thought, that was ten years ago! I don’t need to remember him now, I’ll just start crying and then Mom will come and ask what’s wrong. I can’t just talk to her about August, I know we both miss him, but I barely knew him. I have to stop thinking.
But remembering flooded her anyway. Niko’s father---whom she called August because she had only known him for six years---had died in a car crash when she was six, ten years ago. She had been in the car with her mother, but they had survived. A drunk driver hit them. Niko was pretty sure that he had spent three years in jail, and then gotten into another accident within two months of his freedom. That time he had killed himself.
As Niko went back to the bathroom to blow dry her hair, she couldn’t do anything but think. Think of August.

August Cherry had been born in 1969, and he was 30 years old when he died in 1999. That was years ago. He would have turned 40 this year, Niko thought. He looked nothing like her, from what Niko had seen in old photo albums and what she remembered of him, except for that fact that she had inherited her height from him. Otherwise Niko looked like her mother, Sofia, with her black hair and blue eyes.
One tiny tear trickled down Niko’s cheek. Wishing she had known her father more, she put away the blow dryer and tried to push the thought out of her mind. Braiding her hair into one long rope and tying it with a gold elastic, she slunk out of the bathroom and sat down next to Daya and Cedar. Cedar eagerly started purring when she pet him, and Daya got up and plunked down on her lap. Her brother followed suit, and soon both their motors were running at top speed. Niko smiled contentedly and grabbed her book from the shelf near her window seat.
Settling down to read, Niko forgot all about her close encounter with memories, and was engrossed in her book until she actually fell asleep on the couch; a sleep without dreams.



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