Once upon a time in a small town in North Dakota, a young girl visited her cousin. The young girl was me, about ten years old, one year older than my cousin. We’ll call her Sandy, although that’s not her real name.
One of our distant relatives had passed on, and the adults attended the funeral; we two cousins stayed home inside on a bitter cold winter day.
We’d arrived the night before; I had never stayed with this cousin before. The wind blew through the cracks in the window sill of the older home, and the furnace creaked, both keeping me awake the whole night. I was tired, but Sandy wanted to play in the snow as soon as the adults had left.
We built a snowman, rolling and pressing the crisp snow into huge balls. We placed rocks for eyes, nose, and mouth, and stood back to look at our creation, pushing the scarves up over our noses– to protect ourselves from the wind blowing in our faces, biting our noses. It was thirty below zero with the windchill factor, a common temperature for winter time in the prairies of North Dakota.
Sandy didn’t like the mouth and pulled off the rocks I’d used, replacing them with her own.
She pushed me, yelling, “Tag — you’re it!”
I caught her right away — I was a fast kid.
Sandy pouted, “Not fair!” She bolted inside the house, slamming and locking the door.
I ran to the back door, but she had locked all the doors.
I pulled my hood up and retied my scarf around it. I pulled my brown and white mittens inside the cuffs of my green felt coat.
I pounded on the door, but Sandy didn’t even look. I heard the radio playing country music.
I ran back to the front door, but it was still locked.
A tear welled up in my eye, but I brushed it away. I rocked back and forth from foot to foot to keep the cold from holding onto them. I walked in circles around the house for what seemed like hours.
Eventually, I felt my fingers tingle and feel numb. I shivered and walked faster.
Soon, a car drove up; it was my aunt. I could see her through the bushes on the side of the house.
I waited until she opened the door. I heard the door close, and walked around to it.
Once in the house, I walked into the bathroom and closed the door, locking it. I warmed my hands in warm water, crying, hoping my mom would rescue soon from this horrible place.
I don’t remember what else happened. I don’t remember if my aunt tried to talk to me. I just remember never wanting to come back there ever again, and I don’t believe I ever did.
Sometimes, families aren’t what they should be.
Image Source: North Dakota
Blog Post cross-posted for Class Slice