I woke up to cold air stagnant in my room.
Great. I thought, the furnace must have frozen over during the night. I contemplated the warmest way to get out of my bed, regretting my decision of wearing a tank that night. I strategically wrapped my warm blankets around me and yelped as the ice floor burned my feet.
Geez! My bedroom was still dark although there were rays of lights sneaking from behind my curtains, and I could tell from the frozen look of my lonely house that this was going to be a slow day.
I padded into the kitchen where I spotted my pink fuzzy slippers by the stove, I slipped them on and groaned when the light switch wouldn't turn on. No power. Man did not create electricity so that it could break every time it was needed most! I internally growled and stepped on my rickety old front porch.
The street was silent and covered in snow and ice. It was a scene meant for a post card rather than your average Wednesday morning.
"Hello there Lynzi!" I looked over to see my neighbor, Mr. Jon Best. He was old and frail just like the entire antique neighbor hood. His personality was one of Mr. Rodgers, the way he always called out and said hello and pinched my cheeks.
"No power over there either?" I questioned, no time to waste, it was colder outdoors.
"None at all" he said grimly.
Some people ask how I ended up in such a decrepit and retired neighborhood. Sometimes I wonder myself.
I had grown up in this house since I was a little girl, and after my parents moved to Hawaii, sick of this stationary town, I was left alone with the small estate. I was 21 then, the house was acceptable. Now, at the age of 27, being unmarried and childless the house had become more of a symbol of my unsuccessfulness in the world.
I now sat on my ugly green couch holding my empty coffee cup, imagining something was there. Something warm and familiar. Even with the blinds open the house was damp and dark and I knew without looking at the clock that I had to be to work in less then an hour.
The doorbell rang and I was startled from my lazy thoughts. It rang several times and that was when I became curious enough to get it. No children lived on this street of a dying generation, and no adult on the street would have the energy to push the button so hyperactively.
"Aunt Lynzi!" My niece cried when I opened the door, shocked I stared but smiled.
"Hi, Samantha…." I tried to say. My sister appeared behind her with the look of a tired mom on her face.
" I didn't know you were coming…" I started to say. She smiled, "Can we get inside first?" I opened the door wider and Samantha ran into my house with her mother behind her, holding James.
Jancey makes me look like a failure at life. I love her to pieces, but if you were to stack up her accomplishments next to mine, well there would be no competition to who would win.
She was born naturally beautiful, with her long brunette hair and dazzling hazel eyes. And not only is that, she is extremely talented. She plays the violin, piano and she sings like the tabernacle choir. She had met her husband when she was in high school and married him when she was 19, a year later I got my first niece, Samantha, and a two years after that James came along.
Since she had gotten married I had only seen her twice. Both times being the birth of her children. I secretly believed that she is embarrassed of me. I was 23 when she got married and I have not improved much at all since.
When I was young I had big plans. I was going to be a professional photographer in New York, then after high School I chickened out and got a secretary job at the local news paper office instead.
My days consisted of repeated "Hello, how may I help you's" and "Thank You, have a nice day's" While Jancey had an exciting life in her journalism, and her husband attended dentistry school.
"What's wrong?" I said, she had set James and Samantha up at my little table and had given them each a pop tart.
"Lets go into the other room and talk…" I followed her into the front room and she looked around for the first time.
"Why is it so dark in here?"
"Power's out" I said shortly.
She frowned but said nothing.
"I think I'm leaving Tom" she blurted. I was speechless, Tom and her were made for each other.
"Wha-wha What? Why?" I stuttered out.
"I don't know, he's just been acting weird lately. Like he doesn't want to be around me and he's been shrugging off James and Sam for the longest time, and I just don't think I make him happy anymore…." She started to tear. Oh no.
"Oh, Come on Jancey, that's no reason. You're just overreacting. Give the guy a break!"
She shook her head, "You don't understand! Every night he comes home late, and he leaves early. He's gone for a few days at a time sometimes, and i-I think he has someone else." She whispered her last words, as if realizing it for the first time.
"Well….have you talked to him about it?"
"Uh-no." She said sheepishly.
"And where is he now?"
"He- I left last night to start driving here before he got home."
"So he doesn't know where you are?"
"I don't think so." She said. I then understood why she would return back to this old house that she hated so much. She had wanted to leave this house the second she could.
Here, Tom would never look for her.
"You can't do that to the poor guy, he'll be worried sick!" I exclaimed.
She just sobbed harder and said, "Lynzi you don't understand! You've never been in love!"
I was taken aback. Never been in love? I tossed the words around in my head, my body humming, as if I had been caught in the act of a crime. I didn't move.
She looked up with her mascara stained face and took notice of my ridged stance.
"I-I'm sorry Lynz- - I just - it just slipped out." She wiped her eyes and sniffled.
"I have." My answer was sadly pathetic but it was all I could say.
"Mommy?" Sam's shy voice sounded from behind me.
"Yes Sweetheart?" I watched, almost jealously, as she tended to her small child.
"Where is daddy?" Jancey looked unsure and sheepish.
"We will see daddy soon…Did you finish your pop tart?"
"That summer before Mom and Dad gave me this house." I answered her own unspoken question. Although, it did not alleviate the quizzical look on her face.
"Tell me, I never knew about- I never knew what happened when you went to stay in that beach house in California for the summer. Wasn't it for a photography internship?"
"Yeah," I smiled, remembering.
Chapter One: Preview
California seemed to be glowing with sunshine.
Kenzie was in the passenger seat and we were singing with the radio as it blasted through the speakers of my car.
We had both earned a chance through the school to go on an internship for Photography in California. Kenzie, my best friend, wasn't interested in photography but she was all for it when she found out I was going to be in California. "Hot boy's in swim suits" she explained.