snow day

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
a mother of twins is finding it hard to let them have their freedom

Submitted: January 01, 2017

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Submitted: January 01, 2017

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Snow Day

 

“You've got to let them do things by themselves sooner or later,” Frank said gently, trying not to upset his wife any further.

 

Wendy sat rigidly at the kitchen table. “I will,” she said biting her lower lip. “But not now. Not today. They're only 12. Anyway, they do go to school by themselves now.”

 

Frank sighed. “All right love. It's up to you. I'm off now.” He shut the front door quietly behind him.

 

Wendy looked at the clock. One hour before the girls get up, she thought. She gazed out at the silent white street. He was right of course. She couldn't keep them wrapped up in cotton wool for much longer. Already this past year she was amazed at how grown-up they had become, wearing make-up, straightening their hair, talking and texting for hours on their phones, constantly pushing the boundaries she had so carefully erected around them. Last week it was the school disco; well that turned out okay because Frank had picked them up at the end of it. A few weeks before that they had begged and begged her to let them go shopping with their friends. In the end she had compromised, driving them to the shopping centre and insisting that they meet her at McDonalds after three hours and phone her if they were at all worried about anything. Of course, they didn't phone her and thankfully they had turned up bang on time, trying to look cool but clearly excited by their rare spell of freedom. She almost felt guilty; they were good girls and she knew she could trust them. But you just never knew who was out there.

 

She knew already what they would want to do today. The snow had been falling all night and fat flakes were starting to swirl in the orange glow of the street light again now. There would be no school today. She already knew because she had checked the website at 5 o'clock this morning when Frank had go up for work. A familiar feeling of dread had gripped her when she saw those words flash up on the bright screen: SCHOOL CLOSED TODAY DUE TO SNOW. For most people a snow day was a treat, but not for Wendy.

 

Being a twin had its pluses and minuses, like any close relationship. Wendy was experiencing one of the minuses that day 20 years ago. She had been sulking all evening since Jim had announced that he certainly would not be going to the park with his mum and dad and Wendy the next day. He was 13 now and he was going to the woods where all his mates were meeting for sledging and snowball fights. Their mum and dad were fine about it, but Wendy was furious. How boring. A day at the park with her mum and dad and no Jim. And no mates. She had always found if difficult to make friends, proper friends who you chatted to after school and met up with at the weekend. Her mum was always nagging her to get out of the house and stop moping about. Not so easy when you had nowhere to go and no one to meet.

 

So they had all wrapped up warm and Jim had gone his way and they had gone theirs. It wasn't too bad actually. Her mum and dad got chatting to other mums and dads and she had been allowed to wander off with some girls she vaguely knew who were surprisingly including her in their gang for a change. She was just beginning to relax and believe that maybe life was good after all, when a snowball smashed into the side of her face. The pain was way out of proportion for any ordinary snowball. In fact, she fell to the ground with her hands clamped over her left eye and temple. She felt the warm flow of blood trickling through her fingers and found that she couldn't move.

 

Through the pain she could not help feeling another kind of pain – embarrassment. Especially when her mother came rushing over and started making a fuss. But the pain was really bad. How could a snowball hurt so much? Her mum and dad managed to get her to her feet and she tried her hardest not to whimper as they led her back to the car. Then she heard her mum say, “It's Jim. It's not Wendy, she's fine. It's Jim. We have to find him. You drive, I'll stay in the back with her.”

 

Wendy was vaguely aware of the ensuing car journey, her dad going to fast around corners and flying over speed bumps, causing her to lean against her mum, the pain now a dull throbbing ache across her eye and somehow behind it too. Her dad knew where Jim and his friends would be, he parked the car on the main road, turned to her mother and told her to go to the nearest house and call an ambulance. Then he stomped awkwardly across the snow, shoulders hunched, to the spot where the more daring sledgers gathered.

 

Later at the hospital Wendy's pain had miraculously disappeared and she finally understood what had happened. Her brother had sustained a serious head injury to his left temple. Some moron had thought it would be a good idea to throw a snowball made from a rock encased in snow and she had felt Jim's pain at the exact same moment as the missile hit him. Jim had lost a lot of blood and the doctors had murmured something about possible brain damage. He was unconscious for an agonising three hours.

 

Her mum said she knew as soon as she saw Wendy's undamaged face. There was no blood trickling through her fingers, there was not a mark on her. She equally knew that Wendy's pain was very real because she had witnessed this many times before when Jim and Wendy were little. Sometimes Wendy had been in another room and couldn't possibly have known that her brother had hurt himself, yet she would cry out at the exact same moment that he did. These incidents grew less and less frequent and their mum had almost forgotten about them until that moment in the park. Wendy had forgotten about them completely, the years inbetween too crowded with other milestones, and she now had only a vague recollection of feeling her brother's pain a few times before.

 

When Jim finally came round his first words were, “Where's the sledge?” So they knew he was going to be okay. His vision was blurred in his left eye for a few days but no permanent damage was done. Soon the incident was forgotten, or at least not mentioned. Maybe Jim thought about it sometimes, Wendy didn't know because she never talked to him about it again after their initial awkward exchange a few days later when he said grudgingly, “I suppose you might have saved my life so thanks.”

 

She said, “Surely one of your friends would have helped you get to hospital?”

 

“Perhaps,” he said doubtfully. “Anyway I know I won't be having any more snowball fights for a while.”

 

But of course, he had. The experience didn't seem to weigh on his mind the way it did on Wendy's. Maybe because he hadn't seen the look on their parents' faces when they were waiting for him to wake up. Now a parent of pre-teens herself, she never wanted to feel the pain they had felt that day.

 

THE END


© Copyright 2017 Karen M.C.. All rights reserved.

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