Today’s the day. It’s finally the first day of spring. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years. So much has happened since then. Mom died. Kaylie graduated high school. Mathew and I broke up. It’s bizarre. I force myself out of bed and go to the living room to see if Dad’s awake. He's sitting there on his phone when he notices me come in. “Want some breakfast sweetheart?” he asks. I shake my head,
“You stay sitting dad. I’ll make a smoothie.” I reply. It’s only me and him in the house now. I go to a college nearby so dad offered to let me stay at home. Kaylie goes to Stanford, and since it’s her sophomore year, she stays in a dorm. I miss her so much. I miss cuddling with her and remembering mom. I miss having another girl around. Don’t even get me started on missing mom.
After gathering some frozen strawberries, blueberries, and milk, I pull out the blender to make my smoothie. If only Mom could see me now, finally following her advice on eating healthy. I shake my head to rid myself of the thoughts. There's no use wishing and hoping.
I check my social media pages as I sip my smoothie. I know I’m just stalling but I don't need to start yet. I just have to do it today. A message from Mathew! It’s been almost 2 years now and he bothers to text me?!
Mathew:Hey Janelle. How you doing. Been a while, huh
Ugh what am I even supposed to say.
Me: You need something Mathew or what?
Me: Who sends a message after 2 years of silence!
I get offline before his sudden reappearance can make me any more mad. There’s still Instagram and snap-chat to check. Then I’ll start with my day, I promise myself. Five new followers. Nice.
Mathew is following me?! What is up with him! Kaylie. I thought she was already my follower. Oh well. And three random people. There’s time for some internet stalking before I go right? Okay…. Who are you Julia Crimson…….
Recent grad of high school...Going to be a dentist… Ugh...Ooh she's a Gemini like me….And likes to paint. Okay. She passed. I’ll follow her. Now for Steve Harmon. Oh private account, I'm not following him. Lastly, Emily Sherman. Wait a minute...Isn’t that Mathew’s other ex? Hold on…. THEY GOT BACK TOGETHER! I can't believe he moved on so fast. Whatever. Maybe that’s what he’s trying to tell me. Like I care. Time to block him. I don't know why I didn’t do it sooner.
Quickly, I check my snap-chat and force myself up. I rinse the cup that my smoothie was in and go back up to my room. I stare at my closet. The one day I didn’t prepare an outfit. Figures. After much trying on, I decide on a blue skirt with a white blouse. I put my hair in fishtail braids and put long white socks on. Now for shoes… I wear black flats. I take out the big black backpack that has been sitting in my closet for so long…. It’s time.
After a quick goodbye to Dad, I make my way outside and get in the car. I turn the key in the ignition. To my relief, it starts. I was afraid something would go wrong. Inhale. Exhale. Deep Breaths. My heart is pounding. I can’t believe it’s the day. It feels like just yesterday that I was given the backpack and the instructions. There’s no time to waste. I have to do it.
It’s a long drive so I packed a snack bag yesterday. Opening it, I take out the ginger candies that mom used to love. As I chew, I turn the volume on the radio up.
“Open your hand”
“Well, I don’t know what your going to do with it”
“I need you to trust me Janelle”
“It’s not that easy”
‘I trust you. I trust you so much. In fact i’m going to prove it to you, but you have to prove it to me too”
I turn the music louder as the memories invade my head.
“I thought you loved me!”
“After all we’ve been through… We're blood Janelle!”
“You can’t open it until spring sometime after 2018 and before 2021. Do you understand?”
“Good. I know I can trust you. Do you trust me?”
“...I...I think so.’
I park and quickly get out of the car. His voice is still in my head.
“It has to be remote. No one can see you. You hear me? No one!”
With shaking hands,I take the backpack off my shoulders. Slowly, I unzip the pocket. The first thing I notice is an envelope. All it says on the outside is To:Janelle. I open it up. Some of the ink is wearing away. I can’t make out some of the sentences, but I get the central idea.
You’ve finally opened it. I trust you enough to know you wouldn’t be late or early. If you followed my directions then it’ s been a while, and I miss you dearly. I know you wonder where I am but I promise you I am safe. I trust Kaylie has graduated? Times must be hard without a sister and taking care of your sick mother.
She was still alive at the time.
Open the package with care.
Then it started to get a little blurry.
No one should trust soon
Bye for now,
I wipe a tear from my eyes. It’s been so long since I’ve seen his handwriting. I wonder about the missing words, but they can’t be that important. I can’t keep stalling. I made a promise and I intend to keep it. With another shaky breath, I take out the small box that is the only other thing in the backpack. It’s packaged so carefully, wrapped in bubble wrap and in a plastic bag with packing peanuts. After carefully removing the protection from the box, I sit on the ground and prepare myself for the unknown.
The first piece of tape rips off effortlessly and the second is just as easy. There is just one piece left stopping me from opening the box. To my surprise, it takes a little pulling to rip off. I open the box. I gasp as there is suddenly a large amount of wind in the air. There is a light so blinding, I can't even see where it is coming from. I quickly turn the flaps of the box back over. The light and wind disappears. I’m gasping for breath. What was that!?
This time prepared, I open the box again. I hear voices. Soft whispers, barely audible over the winds that have once again come.
What are you waiting for?
Silly, she’s too big!
So give her the winds!
Oh for goodness sake, she’s already shrinking, calm down!
Shrinking! Nonsense. Suddenly, the grass was rising. Oh wait…..I was falling into it! I was actually shrinking, like the voices had said!
We are not voices sweetheart!
What if someone called you an animal, would you like that? I mean in all technicalities you are one.
Did I say that out loud? I’m certain I didn’t.
You didn’t hon’ it’s a perk of being a “voice” We can hear thoughts. Now, jump in. We’ve been waiting ages for you to come!
I had nothing better to do, did I? Being this tiny. I held my breath and climbed the box, slipping in.
Hold on tight!
What am I doing?! I just jumped into a box! Oh my god. Dad will be so worried if I don’t go home! It feels like I’m falling through a hole.
Calm down. You can get out any time.
It is not a hole!
Again with the insults!
Were you raised by wolves!
The feeling of falling suddenly stops. I land on a soft cushion the color of the sun. All around me is white. In the far off distance, I can see a silhouette.
“J-J-Jack?” I call out. The silhouette turns to face me. It’s him. After all this time. We start running towards each other. He hugs me. I hug back, tears in my eyes.
“I’ve missed you…” he says. I just continue to cry and smell his smell and feel his clothes. Is he really alive?
“Come on. Follow me”
We walk off into the blankness and suddenly things start to appear. I just grab onto his hand. I can't believe I’m here. He hasn't aged a day. I can’t wait to tell him everything. But first, I need him to tell me his story. I have a feeling he has a lot to say….