Alex sits huddled within the bay window, thinking about what could have been. His arms are wrapped around his long legs, as his chin sits propped between his knees. The winter storms have been striking the area for a week now, sending blistering cold temperatures through out the small town, leaving him with cabin fever, and in a depressive state. The small flakes fall to the ground, adding to the pounds of white snow almost as high as the window. The shade of the night prevents Alex from seeing the actual flakes touch the already situated snow banks, hills, and untouched snow upon the lawn. The night sky has no life, as stars hide behind the gloomy clouds. The burgundy window cushion offers him some relief on his backside as well as the pillows surrounding the comfy window seat. The snow used to offer some meaning to him, but now he’s just reminded of the love he lost so long ago. Time has passed but the scar of his loss still bleeds heavily.
There is the scent of Chai Tea with a splash of vanilla that catches his attention, which means his closest friend and sister Tonya is preparing her special brew to make him feel better. She knows he always gets this way during the heavy snowfall or the heavy rains. It’s been a year since Alex has done any work and has been working on a new novel for approximately 2 years, which is far longer than it has taken him in the past. The fire pops in the background, causing him to turn almost immediately to make sure noting has touched the rug. He and his sister have seen so much death in their lives, that this last one has him at a loss for life. Their parents passed when the were kids, their adopted father passed, and a close friend to both died a little over 2 years ago. Alex and Tonya aren’t actually related, but they are brother and sister from a bond created by necessity years ago in the foster care system. Their relationship has been complicated to say the least as they have experienced love from one another in all capacities. Specifically, they have been brother and sister, friends, and romantic all in their lifetime together. As teen runaways, they saw the world for the first time together, and have been together ever since. Now that they are adults, the pain of the past hasn’t necessarily escaped them. On the contrary, their lives are conjoined and intertwined to continue on as they are until they both deal with their pasts. One refuses to look at her family and know who they are, and the other refuses to deal with the death of his wife, which was also her best friend. Tonya and Veronica were so close, that they considered themselves sisters. Seems that those who come from broken homes know the common mantra of “Family is what you make it.”
It’s a Saturday night, calm and mysterious as many winter nights are here. Intermittent traffic moves up the distant street and the train tracks nearby have no normal mechanical marvels traveling them on this night. Both now in their 30’s, Alex and Tonya moved from the city after his wife and her friend passed away suddenly. Seattle was a beautiful place for them; however, the old country house where their adopted father Mr. Theo raised them to be adults is now a reflective and medicinal place for them. It’s that escape they both needed from lives they thought would offer more solace, scared to love anyone but each other. Unfortunately, they don’t know how to love one another. Tonya exits the kitchen and enters the soft living room and part den, with it’s knotty pine interior, stone fireplace, and neutral colored furniture. Tonya places two rather huge mugs down, as steam rises from the brim. She sits in the chair her father Mr. Theo used to tell them his stories from and guide them. Without his guidance, they are unsure of where to go from here. Tonya gazes over at Alex, watching him look out the window, reminiscing on something he lost years ago. Taking a small sip from the cup, Tonya burns her top lip, and immediately puts the cup down. “I told you, you need to learn how to be patient and stop rushing things,” Alex states while still gazing out the window.
“Shut up Alex. You just keep staring out that window and feeling sorry for yourself.”
“What did you just say to me?” Alex asks.
“You heard me. When are you gonna start to live again?” Tonya states while crossing her arms and sitting back in the chair.
“That’s insensitive and you know it. You only saying that so I help you with your problems.”
“Fine! Maybe…but you could at least look at me when you say that. I miss Veronica too but you don’t have to shut me out. I’ve been here with you the whole time,” Tonya adds.
“So what do you want? You want me to be excited because you been here. You here for the same reasons I am.”
“You’re right…Maybe it’s time for me to go.”
“What?” Alex turns to look at her to see if she’s serious. Judging by the look on her face, she’s very serious.
“You heard me. We’re dying Alex and I don’t know how to bring us back to life without you.”
“Well, what do you want me to do Tonya? Huh? I’m tired of the pain, tired of the hurt. I’m scared okay. Scared that we go out there, and I’ll lose you too.” Alex rises from the seat and walks to the fireplace to sit on the edge. Tonya is feeling a bit removed because this is the most he has expressed in a long time. The room goes quiet as Alex focuses on the blue and red hues from the calming fire. Tonya lift from her seat and walks to the fireplace, picking up his cup of tea.
“Alex, let’s start here first like Mr. Theo would. Let’s drink our tea and just think about the tea,” she says with a smile on her face.
“Yeah, he did say when you drink tea, you should memorize the smell, taste, the steam and the color to make each sip worthwhile,” Alex recalls.
“Well, let’s start with the tea first and work from there okay?”
“Agreed.” The two friends and siblings take a moment and enjoy the time it will take for the tea to be gone. After the last sip, they know they need to remove themselves from this rut, but this will be a tough challenge for them because they will be doing it alone again.
To be continued….
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