Welcome to Week 4 of my 26000 Words project. I decided to finish last week’s short story. I didn’t really know how I was going to end Cold Revelations when I started it, but that’s the thing I love about writing creative fiction. You never really need to map the whole thing out. You just have to have an idea and some great characters, and you’ll somehow know how to take care of the rest. Enjoy and don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments!
Photo credit: Jeremy Lim
The tips of my fingers were starting to grow numb, making it harder to distinguish the cold from my skin. She’s worth it, I chanted over and over again in my mind. Sarah was like an asteroid that had unexpectedly barreled into my world. She had collided with me and now she was lodged in my Earth, a part of me that I may never quite figure out how to let go.
I regretted running away from her that day. It could have been the last time I would ever see her and I never even knew her name. But fate wasn’t that cruel.
Two agonizing days later, I saw her again. We were both in line for poutine. I didn’t even know she was there. Sarah just kind of snuck up on me.
“Excuse me,” said this voice behind me.
I turned and I’m pretty sure my eyes went wide with surprise. It was her. She was even more gorgeous close up. Snow white skin, eyes that weren’t quite green and not quite hazel, and perfect pink lips. If Cupid existed, this would have been the moment he’d have shot me right through the heart.
“Do you know what’s good here?” she asked.
I willed myself to form a sentence. Even just a word. Something.
“No,” is what came tumbling out of my frozen mouth.
“Oh, okay,” she said, sounding slightly deflated. I was about to turn around, cursing myself for failing so hard, when she added, “Well, what are you getting?”
“Uh, poutine,” I replied before I could stop myself.
She giggled. “Well that explains why you’re in the line for a poutine place.”
I laughed and scratched my head. “Yeah. Yeah I guess it does.”
“So, you don’t know what you’re getting?” she asked, quirking one eyebrow upwards.
“No, not really. I was just going to figure it out when I got up there, I guess.”
“How about we do this instead?” she proposed. “Let’s get them all.”
“What? All? As in all?”
She nodded. “Yep. Try them all. I mean, there’s only like seven different kinds. No big deal.”
“That’s a lot of fries and gravy,” I pointed out. “Do you think you could handle that?”
“I can if you can,” she said, her smile growing wide.
I smiled as well, both excited and bewildered by this strange, beautiful girl. “I can if you can,” I replied, consenting to a meal that would later make us feel sick to our stomachs. But it didn’t matter. We laughed through the whole experience, which ended up making us inseparable for the next four days.
Sarah was on a ski trip with her family as well. They lived in Toronto, which was all the way on the other side of the country. She hated rain, but adored the snow. She had been skiing since she was a little girl and loved the taste of black coffee just as much as I did. She was a Biology nut and was hoping to become a veterinarian someday. I normally found Science to be one of the most boring subjects ever, but Sarah had a way of making it sound so interesting. Everything she said interested me. Everything she did made me smile. The first time I kissed her, it was snowing and her lips warmed me from the inside out.
Inevitably, the day came when one of us had to leave. We tried to put off talking about what would happen after that day, but now it was here.
I was waiting in the cold for her, scared out of my mind of what was about to happen. Sarah was amazing and being with her felt so right, but I was also a seventeen-year-old guy. There were only six months of high school left and then, college was on the horizon. I couldn’t have a future with someone when so much change was coming my way.
Then again, what if we did try this? Tried to do long distance. What if we tried and it was all for nothing? I didn’t want to open myself up to this girl only to have my heart ripped out in the end. My ex-girlfriend and I were together for a year before we finally figured out that we weren’t right for each other. And it sucked. The pain was something that I never wanted to feel again.
At last, I heard Sarah approaching. She padded over the snow like a leopard, her footsteps almost too light and too quiet to be heard, but I knew the sound of her body anywhere. I could picture the careful way she walked, her eyes concentrated on the ground, watching out for patches of black ice. I could see her hands stuck out on either side of her, balancing her body as if she were a tightrope walker raised three hundred feet above the ground.
In the short time that we were together, I grew to know Sarah as well as a favourite book, with its dog-eared corners and worn pages.
She emerged through the darkness, bundled up in the same bright blue jacket she wore the first time I ever saw her. She smiled when she saw me, but I could also see puffiness around her eyes. Sarah had been crying.
Crying about me, no doubt. About whatever we were going to talk about tonight. It felt like a rock had suddenly sunk down into my stomach.
“Hey,” I said, reaching for her hand.
“Hey Adam,” she said, grasping my hand.
I pulled her to me and hugged her tight. She smelled like mangoes, sweet and ripe.
She stepped back and looked up at me. “So, here we are.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“So, what do we do now?” Sarah, the girl with so much confidence, who was always so sure of what she wanted, sounded unsure for the first time since I met her.
I sighed, looking down at the snow. “I don’t know. I wish I knew what to do, but I…I really don’t.”
“I’m really happy I met you,” she said, making my heart squeeze uncomfortably.
“I feel the same way about you,” I admitted.
“So, we should keep in touch, at least?” she offered.
I nodded, drawing my head up to meet her gaze. “Of course. As much as possible, please.” My voice shook as I said the last word.
“Yes. I’d…I’d really like that.” She wiped tears from her face with shaky fingers and sniffed. “Adam.” Sarah paused, taking a deep breath that she let out slowly, momentarily obscuring her beautiful face with the cold smoke that slipped out of her mouth. I wanted to fan away the white clouds, wanted to see the sun in her smile, but I hesitated, unsure what was about to happen next. I didn’t want to stop her from saying what she needed to say, so I waited. My heart thudded like a bass drum against my ribs, nerves and my natural desire to flee were trying to get the best of me, but I didn’t move.
When the smoke cleared, Sarah’s green-hazel eyes were staring right at me, the edges curved ever so slightly, matching the small smile on her lips. “Adam,” she said. “I love you.”
My breath caught in my throat. I knew that Sarah didn’t expect me to say those words back to her. She knew that I wasn’t ready.
She had said them more as her way of saying goodbye, in case this really was it for us. Unlike me, Sarah didn’t let an opportunity to say what she needed to say go by.
I wasn’t sure if I loved Sarah and I didn’t know what I wanted to happen between us, but I knew for certain that I couldn’t just let this girl slip out of my life like cold smoke from my lips. She meant too much to me to let go. It was time for me to stop running away.
I removed my gloves. My fingers found the curve of her cheek and she sank her warm skin into my palm. She closed her eyes and tears fell, a few getting caught in her lashes, making them glitter in the moonlight.
“Sarah,” I said softly, willing her eyes to open and look at me.
She obliged and with a sniff, opened her eyes.
I smiled at this beautiful girl, who I had once seen as an asteroid and now realized was a comet. A wondrous thing that only appeared once in a lifetime. “Sarah. I can if you can,” I declared.
Her bottom lip trembled and tears slid from her eyes again. I was worried for a second that I was only making things worse, but then she smiled and laughed in that happy way of hers.
“I can if you can,” she whispered.
I bent my head down to kiss her, letting her warm me from the inside out.