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Wings Chapter Four
Blaire walked out of the park and onto the street. The snow was falling thick and heavy, and she had to duck her head to keep from getting snow in her eyes. She could no longer see Jakob through the curtain of white, and she almost convinced herself she had just imagined the whole thing. Then she saw those little shadows sticking out from her shoulder blades, and she realized that what had transpired was as real as it could get. As much as Blaire tried, she couldn’t wrap her mind around what Jakob had told her was going to happen. It was hard to believe that she was going to grow wings, her body would change for her to fly, and that she would find two other people that would help her and Jakob save the planet. She also wondered if this kid somehow wasn’t the boy from her dream at all, if he had just somehow found a way to freak her out. And who was she saving the world from anyway? In real life, big baddies like the Joker and mad scientists didn’t exist.
But at the same time, the evidence that Jakob had said was undeniable. She knew him. She felt like she had met him before, and in a way, she had, during that dream. She also had the wing-shadows, which were unmistakable proof of what was going on. And if she was going to grow wings, why couldn’t there be crazy scientists and Joker-like super villains? Thinking like this made Blaire’s head spin, so she abandoned her whirlwind thoughts and focused on dashing to her apartment and getting out of the cold.
When Blaire entered her apartment, she shrugged off her coat and ripped off her soaked hat and scarf, hanging them on the coat rack. She heard the radio on in the next room, and figured it was Isis. A local contest was running on commercial.
“Enter and you could win a month’s supply of canned soup!”Blaire heard the voice say from the other room. She thought Isis would be excited about it, and she was right.
Isis loved contests. She entered the ones on cereal boxes, food packages, in supermarkets, and on the radio. She loved the ones on the radio the most. Every day when she came home from school or dance she would turn on the radio and listen for contests, which she would enter. So far she hadn’t hit anything big yet, but she did win a carton of fresh tomatoes from a local market and a t-shirt with a cereal logo on the front. She kept hoping that one day she might win one of those all-expenses-paid trips to some tropical island or beach of some sort. Isis’s mother was skeptical with this, and frequently told her to keep dreaming, and that it wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon. But Isis kept entering, and she kept her hopes high that she was going to go somewhere.
“Hey!” Blaire called out to her, heading into the kitchen. “You entering that contest?”
Isis bounded into the kitchen, phone in hand. “You bet. I could win-“
“A month’s supply of canned soup.” Blaire finished for her. “I know.” She went to the fridge and got out some peanut butter, grabbed the bread, and made herself a sandwich. “How do you win this one?” Blaire asked in mid-chew.
“You have to be the thirteenth caller, and then you go and pick it up from the store.” Isis said, all business. She always concentrated so hard on when to call so she had a better chance of winning. She snatched the phone from its receiver and waited until the man on the radio said to start calling. In a few seconds, she had rapidly dialed the number and was anxiously waiting for the other end to pick up, tapping her purple fingernails on the table in a rapid beat.
Suddenly, she stopped. Somebody had picked up. She listened for a few moments, then slammed the phone onto the table. “I was number fourteen. I was so close Blaire!” she groaned.
Blaire looked up from her sandwich. “Don’t worry about it.” Blaire told her. “It was only some canned soup. And it was probably disgusting old crap left in the back of the shelves where the rats live.”
She looked up at Blaire then, her face puckered is disgust. “That’s so nasty!” she squealed, and chucked a crust of bread at Blaire from across the table. It missed by a mile. Blaire laughed and threw her plate in the sink, about to go to her room, when Isis spoke up again.
“So where were you today Blaire? You’re almost always home right away.”
“Oh, I was walking in the park with a friend, that’s all.” Blaire replied breezily. This wasn’t something she needed Isis knowing about. Now that she thought about it though, it was surprising Isis hadn’t seen the wing-shadows yet.
“What kind of friend?” Isis said in that annoying seven-year old voice. “A boyyyyyyyfriend?”
Blaire sighed. “No Isis. Not a boyfriend. A friend-friend.” She ignored Isis making horrid kissing faces and was about to go to her room when she had an idea. She was going to do a test. “Hey Isis” Blaire said, “is there anything on my back?”
Isis shot her sister a weird look. “No…”she said. “Should there be?”
Blaire smiled. “Nope. Just checking.” So these wing-things were invisible now? Blaire walked to her room, her almost empty backpack on one shoulder. She could deal with that. It would certainly make things much easier. Blaire flopped on her bed and stared up at her ceiling, hoping the stars and moon she had painted on it would help her figure some of this out.
Blaire’s room was almost entirely painted with custom art, which she done herself. On one wall was a painting of a beautiful girl in Spain wearing a yellow and white gown, full of ruffles and lace. Behind the girl was a backdrop of the night sky and city buildings, painted with darks blues and soft purples and squares of bright yellow lights shining out of the windows. The night sky continued up the wall until it met with her ceiling, which she swirled with blue and purple and black until the colors blended perfectly. Over that she painted bright stars and the lights of airplanes and helicopters, as well as a satellite and a half-finished comet. There was a moon, which she had started on a few says ago, and it was pale white, like an eggshell, and dotted with little craters of brown and gray.There was also a small space in the corner of her night sky where she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with yet.
One other wall was painted to resemble the jungle, with dense green foliage and animals poking out of secret places, between the leaves of the tree or hanging off of branches. In the middle of the great jungle sat a white tiger, peering straight out at you as if it knew you were there. The other two walls were blank, painted white, until Blaire got the inspiration necessary to paint something magnificent. Blaire’s bedroom was tiny, of course., because her mom had a relatively tiny apartment for the three of them. She had comfortable room for a bed, a nightstand, and a dresser, all of which had innumerable paint stains in a rainbow of colors, and her dresser top was crowded with paint and brushes of all shapes and colors. Next to the picture of the Spanish woman there was a bag of rhinestones and glue, which were to go on her dress, and there was a small stepladder in the corner below the moon. Blaire had long since had sheets taped down to her wooden floors, and there were occasionally pieces of tape still stuck to the floor. Her stuffed tiger, Robo, sat on her yellow bedspread, next to her, with a pencil in his lap.He had a purple paint stain on his ear.
Blaire loved the controlled chaos that was her room, and would have it no other way. She stared alternately at the ceiling and her window, hoping against all odds that an awnswer would suddenly pop out of the ceiling, or in the snowflakes. She hugged Robo, the pencil falling off his lap and clattering to the floor.
Blaire sat up, hearing the door to her apartment slam. She hadn’t realized she had been asleep, and when she peered out her window, she could see it was still snowing hard. She looked at her paint-spattered alarm clock and saw it was almost six o’ clock. She must have heard her mother coming home from work at a publishing company.
Blaire padded out of her room in her bare feet. “Mom?” she called, “You home?”
Blaires mother into the kitchen. “Hi honey” she said, smiling. Her cheeks were rosy from the cold, and white flakes of snow were melting in her hair. She had some groceries in her hands. “You look tired. You feeling okay?”
Blaire rubbed one eye. “I just woke up Mom. I’m fine.” Blaire knew her mom always worried about her and her sister getting sick at school. She said New York had to be the dirtiest city on the planet.
“Oh okay. Well, you want to put these away?” She set the groceries on the kitchen table and took off her heavy black coat. “Where’s Isis?”
Blaire opened one of the plastic bags up and saw packs of cold cuts and vegetables. “I’m not sure” she said, unloading the groceries, “I pretty much came home and fell asleep. I didn’t even work on my ceiling.”
“Oh. Well.” Blaire’s mother looked worried. “I really hope you aren’t catching something.”
“I’m not, Mom.” Blaire insisted. “I’m fine.”
Isis walked in, carrying her toothpaste laden clothes from this morning. “Mom. I need to do laundry today.”
Blaire’s mother ogled the clothes. “What in the name of Jesus happened?”
“Isis decided to pound the toothpaste when it wouldn’t come out of the bottle, and apparently the toothpaste didn’t like it.” Blaire explained.
“Alright. Blaire, bring in your dirty stuff too. We’ll do everyone’s.” Her mother said. They were one of the luckier people who had a washer and dryer in their apartment, right inside their storage closet.
“Whoa!!!” Isis made a beeline for the window, staring at the snow, which still was falling pretty heavily. “Blaire! Look at it!” She was literally jumping up and down in excitement. The only thing that came close to Isis’s love of contests was her love of snow. Blaire walked over to the window and looked out, and she realized that this time, Isis wasn’t overreacting. In the three hours Blaire had slept, they must have gotten more than 6 inches of the white powder. And it didn’t look like it was going to slow down anytime soon. “Maybe we won’t have school tomorrow Blaire!” she said, her eyes shining, “Then we can go sledding in Central Park!”
“Maybe.” Blaire said happily. It was December. They deserved snow, with all the cold nature had made them deal with the past month. Record breaking cold did not go well when one had to walk to school every day.
Blaire stepped away from the window and looked toward the closet that held the washer and dryer. “Mom”, she called. “What sounds good for dinner?” Blaire usually did the cooking after her mother nearly set the apartment on fire last year trying to heat up hamburger. Blaire didn’t mind that much. She liked to cook different foods.
Isis perked up. “How ‘bout spaghetti tacos?” she asked. That was her favorite food.
“That sounds fine.” Blaire’s mother called out.”You got it?”
“Yeah.” Blaire filled a pot with water, then added salt and olive oil, which was her secret to keep it from sticking into one big clump-o-pasta. She got some Ragu out of the pantry and heated it up, adding a dash of whatever seemed good enough to put in tonight. She got some tortillas out of the fridge, threw some shredded cheese next to it, and before she knew it, the food was done. “Soups on!” she called. Isis dashed into the kitchen, ready to eat. Blaire set the pasta and sauce on the table, and Isis was into it almost before it was out of her hands. “Slow down speedy,’ Blaire told her. “That taco isn’t going anywhere.”
Blaire’s mom wandered in, looking tired. She sat down and grabbed some pasta and a taco. Blaire loved that her mom was completely willing to try wacky food without complaining. “You’re the one looking tired , Mom. You should go lay down after dinner. Isis can handle the laundry.”
“Nah…I’m alright. It was just a long day.” Blaire’s mother worked at the publishing company reading the stories everyday people would send in. The majority of these got turned down, and Blaire’s mom usually stayed after work to clear out the last few.
“Still, being tired won’t save anything. Go lay down. We got it.” Blaire glanced at her sister, who nodded.
Blaires mom took another bite of her taco, shoving her dark hair out of her eyes. Blaire had inherited her father’s red hair, while Isis got their mothers beautiful, pin-straight black locks. Blaire didn’t much like that, considering her father had abandoned their mother when she was pregnant with Isis. She hated to look even one bit like her father, even though his image was hazy and unclear, since she was only about 7 when she last saw him.
Isis polished off her second taco, and piped up “Mom, Blaire was walking around Central Park today with her boyyyyyyfriend!”
Blaire’s mother raised her eyebrows. “Oh really?”
Blaire shot Isis a Death Glare and sighed. “No Mom. I already went through this with her. He is a friend of mine and we wanted to talk about some stuff. He said he might possibly need a tutor for Spanish and he thought maybe I was smart enough to help a lost cause like him.” Blaire felt only slightly guilty about spinning this story. It wasn’t like she was going to bust out and tell her mom and sister that a Russian kid she met in a dream kissed her and because of that she would fly around saving the world like some kind of Superwoman. She was sure her mom would take that really well. Or recommend her for rehab.
“Oh. That’s nice of you. Where would you do it?” Her mom asked, sounding relieved.
Blaire did some lightning quick thinking. “Um, probably at that little pizza parlor by the school. You know, the one with the amazing Stromboli? All the kids sit in the back booths and do homework or whatever over pizza and Coke.” That part, at least , was true. They most likely would meet in the pizza place at least once, and Spanish seemed like a good cover-up excuse.
Blaire’s mom sat the crusty remnant of her taco into the trash can and yawned. “Alright. Then if you want to you can tutor this boy. Just remember to keep up your own grades while raising his too.”
Blaire almost rolled her eyes. “Yeah. Sure, Mom.”
“I think I’m going to take you up on that lie-down offer. Night girls. Keep up the laundry?” Blaire mother asked.
“Got it Mom.” Isis said, now on her third taco. “Go to sleep.”
Blaire’s mother padded out of the room in her socks and turned into her bedroom. The light clicked off and the door shut. Blaire cleaned up the table and washed the dishes. It was Isis’s job to dry and put them away. It was also laundry duty for her too, since she toothpasted-up her clothes.
“I’m going to go work on my ceiling, Isis.” Blaire called down the hall to her. She could see Isis had dragged a stool over to the window and was sitting with her face smashed against the glass, watching the enormous snowflakes fall to the ground in dizzying spirals. She mumbled something in reply. Blaire shrugged and turned, climbing up onto her stepladder and grabbing the white,yellow, gray,black, and orange paints. She picked up a brush and started painting the face of the moon.