Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: 1
Striding down the street, I hit a patch of ice and skidded, nearly slipping and falling. Stopping to catch my breath and my balance, I looked behind me at the streak through the dusting of snow on top of the ice. It made everything worse. Not enough to give traction and too much to see what lay beneath. A death trap.
Why had I come here? The cherry blossoms would be in their prime at home right now. Home, where snow never accumulated much and when it did, it melted away leaving puddles, not refreezing over and over.
A rumbling shakes me from my memories and I run, hoping not to hit another hidden patch of ice. I’m in luck and get to the bus stop just as the driver closes the door on the last passenger waiting at my stop. He opens them again for me and I step inside, hanging my head as I brace on one of the poles. All the seats are taken, as usual. It’s not a long ride, though.
Home invades my thoughts again. The train was rarely this packed and infinitely faster, taking me across town and city in minutes. It takes nearly an hour on this beast. Pulling off my hat, I try to smooth my straight black hair. It is easy to pick up static in this dry environment and my hair is quick to stand on end. I’m only partially successful and shove the toque in my bag. It’s too warm on the bus and as soon as we arrive at the university, I’ll be in and out of buildings, not needing it.
Classes are everything I hope they will be. Quiet but interesting. It’s a perfect mix of excitement at learning something new, and relaxing because for this hour, nothing is expected of me. The professor asks questions, but there are more than enough others willing to answer them. I never speak up, a shadow in the room. I know it makes some of my classmates uneasy, but it’s what comes naturally to me.
On the way home I get off the bus a stop earlier. The weather is nicer than this morning and the sun is shining. The ice I had tripped on is now wet patches on the concrete. When will spring come to this desolate land? When will my namesake appear here? It’s April already.
I stop in front of an unfamiliar house. This isn’t one of the side streets I usually take, but there are many that lead to my apartment. They have a cherry tree. I had noticed buds on all the trees, a sign of spring ahead, but this one is open. I feel tears in my eyes at the beauty of it, pink petals sparkling with sunlight.
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Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege, and it's sequel Duty and Sacrifice. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com