I stare at the picture my father gave me. It wasn't too long ago that he and my mother dropped me off at the airport, handing me a ticket, a bag, and a picture. Mom squeezed me so tightly that it almost cut off my air supply. Dad kissed my forehead and whispered, "It's the only way, Gabriella," before bidding me farewell.
The picture was of the family ten years ago. I had worn a smile then, not afraid of the curse that haunts me now. I am mad, yes, but I think that is reasonable under these conditions. I mean, it's not every day that you have pain without being touched and then your parents ship you off to some aunt you've never even heard of.
I close my eyes and pretend I'm at home, staring out over the graveyard, enjoying the peace, the quiet that radiates of the place. It is hard at first, with the chatter of other people around me, and of course the noise coming from the plane but after a minute or so I am home again.
Finally, landing at the Cody, WY airport, am looking for 'Aunt Shannon.' I grab my bag and take a seat. Besides, I have no clue where she lives.
For a while, I watch people pass and go, not stopping to notice the girl who has been sitting in the same chair for at least an hour. Eventually, the day must get the best of me because my eyes are closing, and I cannot make them open again.
I don't wish to open my eyes. It's just one of those times when your dreams are so good and then you remember yesterday and your eyes are flying open before you know what's really going on.
The room is neutral colors, reminding me of a hotel room. I slip on some clean cloths and wander down a hall, then a staircase, and find my nose taking me to the kitchen. I can't remember the last time I had something that looked as good as the muffins that sat, tauntingly, on the counter.
Grabbing one, still warm, I thought about eating it nicely but with no one around I decided to shove the muffin in my mouth. Chomping down on a bite, a guy, about my age, walks in with ripped jeans and a T-shirt on.
"Well, hello Sleeping Beauty," there is heavy sarcasm in his voice. He had dirty blonde hair and pretty blue eyes.
"Lucas," a woman's voice chides, "She just woke up. No need to spook her,"
"Yet," Lucas added under his breath.
The woman, Aunt Shannon was taller than I had imagined. She stood about six inches taller than my 5'1". She also wore ripped jeans and a T-shirt with a brown and gray braid running down her back. After washing her hands the kitchen sink, she sits down across from me and grabs a muffin for herself.
"How are you this morning?" She asks in a cheery voice.
"How am I supposed to feel?" I ask, nonchalantly, "Let's see, I turn sixteen, there's an accident, suddenly I'm rushed off to here, and I have no clue what's going on! As a plus, I don't even know how I got here,"
"Lucas brought you here from the airport," she said, sidestepping all of my rage.
After ignoring any questions I ask she tells me that all will be explained later because there are daily chores to be done. My "chore" being to "get settled in" and unpack my things.
When I reached my room Lucas was there. He was looking at the photograph of my family. Standing in the doorway, I realize he must not have heard me. His shoulders are tight, every muscle I can see is held tense. For some odd reason, I want to reach out and sooth the out the lines of tiredness I see hanging on him like a shadow.
Sliding my weight onto my other foot the old wooden floor decided to creek. Lucas looked up unworriedly as if he knew I had been standing there. Laying the frame back down on the bed he stood and brushed past me as if I were only a picture on the wall.
I stood there for a second watching him go before jumping up on the mass of pillows and blankets they called a bed here. I held the simple frame in my hands tracing the outline of 'my little happy family.' Thinking of it now, this was the only picture we had of me. I never had school pictures because mom had always come up with some obnoxious reason for me to miss school that day.
Missing my family terribly, I decide that I will get answers to what's happening. Feeling determined I throw open the curtains that block the sunny view of the outside world. Maybe I didn't know what to expect but it wasn't this. Horses.
A long barn runs parallel to my window. In the barn yard, six horses romp around. Aunt Shannon is petting one of the six, a pretty brown horse with a star on her face and a colt at her heels. Holding out her hand, she feeds the mother horse something, probably a sugar cube.
It remains a sweet memory for my first day here.