Themes of drug use, alcohol abuse, and emotional upset.
“Goodnight!” Josie called back, waving her arm above her head as her friends drove off into the night. She watched the tires of the old van kick up sand and rocks as it rocked back and forth through the desert. She turned back to quietly creep up the driveway, hoping that she was sober enough to sneak back in without being noticed.
Josie made it to the front door, fumbling with her keys and even dropping them, in her drug-induced haze. She softly cursed at herself and then giggled before finally getting it right. The key turned, producing a loud ‘chuklunk’ from the old wooden door. It creaked loudly as it swung open. Dim light from the porch filled the entryway the best it could, letting the darkness greet Josie with open arms.
The old adobe home stood firmly in the desert, the cool summer breeze of the night rolling over it. Josie stilled lived with her parents. Spending her days sleeping and her nights with her friends. She spent as much time as she could away from this house, hoping to be rid of it soon. She paused and waited in the doorway, listening to see if anyone noticed her abrupt arrival. When she heard nothing, she entered and slowly closed the door behind her.
Something felt off to Josie, but initially, she brushed it off. Thinking it was her high mind playing tricks on her. But she wasn’t high enough to ignore the way the house had changed. Walking from the entryway to the hallway, she couldn’t help but notice that something was wrong. Weren’t there usually photos on this counter here in the hallway? The piece of furniture was left barren where photos of close relatives usually sat. Josie stilled and stared at the counter for a moment.
“Weird.” She whispered to herself before turning to use the restroom, there she found more objects missing. Little knick-knacks her mother had decorated the guest bathroom with. Now Josie was starting to worry. Going to her room, she noticed pictures on the wall were gone too. Had they been robbed while she was gone? No. Her room was untouched, everything was in its place. Including valuables and electronics. It was just every photo of her family and herself were gone.
Josie went back out to the living room, wandering into the kitchen in search of an explanation. An empty liquor bottle sat proudly by the recycling. Josie swallowed, this wasn’t a shock to her, but it wasn’t a pleasant clue by any means. She crept past her parent’s room and into the garage where she found one lone car parked there. Right. She’d left again. Her mother’s car was gone again. Josie sighed, her shoulders dropping down in disappointed relief.
“She’ll be back,” she thought, “she always comes back,” Josie reassured herself. Her reassurances feeling less and less comforting the more she repeated it. She dragged her feet back into the house, making her way to the door of her parent’s room. She put her ear to the door and listened to the sound of her father’s loud snoring. She pulled her head away and stared at the white painted wood. The image becoming blurry as the seconds passed. Small fingertips came up to wipe the tears away from her red eyes as she sniffed.
Josie didn’t know what to do. Where were all those photos? Why were they all gone? They’ve always been there, why were they gone tonight? What should Josie do about it? Is there anything she could do? She shuffled into the living and stood there for a moment. Rocking back and forth before catching herself. That’s right, she’s still high. Maybe this was a hallucination. No that doesn’t make sense. She wishes this was a hallucination. Where’s mom? Where did she go? Is she okay? When will she be back? Doesn’t she work tomorrow? Should I call her? No, she probably doesn’t want to hear from me. Josie stared out the screen door into their backyard.
The house was still dark, nothing but the full moonlight illuminating Josie’s vision now. She felt frozen in confusion, in fear. Was there something she was supposed to do? Would things be different if she had been there? What exactly happened? Josie’s mind rattled with these thoughts. Unable to find the strength to do anything else. Suddenly she realized she was completely and entirely alone in these thoughts. She couldn’t call her friends, they were probably all home by now and uninterested in helping her any. Her boyfriend went to bed hours ago.
Josie’s head began to spin, her vision blurring as tears fell down her cheeks. More than anything she felt confused, was she sad? She didn’t feel sad. Should she feel sad? Mom leaves all the time, she always comes back. Dad drinks all the time, this isn’t a big deal. Right? None of this is a big deal. So she should just go to bed. Go to bed, Josie. Just go to bed.
She couldn’t. Josie felt frozen there in the living room, staring out into the desert the surrounded her. She watched as it started to rain. Was it cloudy outside? She couldn’t remember. The rain came and washed over the rocks and sand that made up their backyard. The moonlight sparkled against the water, producing an almost magical atmosphere. Josie found the strength to pick up her feet and stand by the screen door to watch the rain. Her hands coming to either side of her and rubbing her arms in a comforting motion. She sniffed, wiping away the last of her tears as she took in the image before her.
She hadn’t been standing there long when the rain started to let up, making her shoulders sink again in disappointment. That feeling soon being replaced with confusion again. A different kind of confusion, a bright kind. No, maybe confusion isn’t the right word. Curiosity filled her lungs as she watched a few snowflakes replace the rain. They danced down from the dark night sky and rested happily on the rocks below. They continued to fall, sticking to the sand and soon replacing it. Josie watched in wonder and surprise. She knew desert nights could get cold, even in the summer it could reach freezing temperatures but, it wouldn’t snow. Right?
A thin layer of snow had covered the yard by the time Josie found the means to open the door and step out into the backyard. It wasn’t even that cold. Not cold enough for snow, and certainly not humid enough. The air was dry and still, cool perhaps, but not cold. Josie inched closer to the snowcovered ground, letting her socks slide on the bare concrete porch beneath her. She crouched down, staring at the ground to study the snow. She tentatively reached out a hand to touch it, pulling back when the thought of toxic snow entered her mind. She stilled, but eventually, her hand came out again when her curiosity reached its peak. It was just snow. Plain old, cold snow. There was nothing else remarkable about it. It felt like snow, looked like snow, tasted like normal snow.
Josie smiled to herself, turning her attention to the sky to watch the snowflakes come down to greet her. To her continued shock, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Just, snow. Just happy little snowflakes coming down to say hello, to comfort Josie at this time. The cold feeling refreshing against hot, upset flesh. She stepped out into the middle of the yard, tilting her head up so the snow could land on her hot cheeks and cool her upset state of mind. Her lips coming up into a wide smile as tears continued to fall, the snow continuing to coat her in a cool embrace. Josie felt a snow angel was appropriate, maybe a few snowballs to the yard wall, and a poorly made snowman, why not. It’s not like she had much practice before this. Josie sat there beside the crudely put together snow troll. A twig for a nose, rocks for eyes, cactus fruit for hair. She smiled at her little friend and looked up one last time to watch the snowfall.
Magical. Someone magical must have thought she needed some cheering up. Someone sent a little thing like snow in summer to help her. It had to be some kind of magic. Maybe even her kind of Magic.