A Harsh Winter – Chapter 1
Carly | Auburn High School
Secondary English | Term 1 2021
The sound of the rain falling from the clouds to the lively streets below sounded as if everything was okay. This of course was not correct. The vibrant blue paintings of the stars above remained as they have always been, on my roof. I kept hold of feelings like freedom and hope, knowing I won’t have them for very long.
As I gripped the body of the telescope beneath my fingers and watched my favourite star glimmer in the night sky, I heard the eager footsteps of my 5-year-old sister gallantly bound through the door to my bedroom.
“Oliver!” she squealed with too much excitement for only dinner time.
“Lily!” I screeched, mocking the animation in her voice.
“He’s here, come on!” she spoke, obviously frustrated with my teasing. Grabbing my arm, Lily tugged me down the stairs to an open front door and a figure standing with his arms around my mum. I tore my hand from the grip of my sister and ran to lean against the door frame. Seconds later I heard my name cheered and felt two warm arms embrace me.
“How long has it been since I’ve been home on a Saturday?” he chuckled.
“8 months and 12 days…” I answered. An awkward silence followed the enormity of the number I had just shared.
“You’re one smart cookie!” he stated, embarrassed of course.
“Thanks, Dad…” I responded.
After my dad had gotten changed out of his lab coat, we all sat around the dinner table for the first time in months. With my dad working night shifts for some big project at N.A.S.A and my mum focused on Lily, we haven’t all been in the same place at the same time for what feels like forever. I poked at the river of peas weaving through my chicken and leant my cheek on my arm. My eyes almost hurt from the glare of the hanging lamp positioned above the round table. All I wanted to do was run back up the stairs and gaze up into the sky before it became coated in clouds.
“How’s kindergarten going, Lily?” my dad asked in an attempt to spark up conversation.
Mum dropped her knife and fork onto her plate causing Lily and I to jump in our seats.
“Lily started school this year, James,” she erupted “you would know that if you were ever around.” Mum pardoned herself from the table and stormed into her room. We all sat their silently, listening to Mum’s footsteps echo throughout our empty house. As we heard the bedroom door slam, Dad proceeded to get up.
“I should go talk to your mum, kiddos,” he smiled and tapped on the table as he lept up the stairs. Lily and I sat in silence for another few minutes whilst we finished our dinner alone.
“All done?” I asked Lily, finally breaking the silence.
“Yep,” she muttered.
I noticed that Mum and Dad’s fighting had obviously upset her and suggested she watch some TV before bed. With Lily occupied and Mum and Dad out of my way I could finally go back to my room and observe my favourite star from my attic window. I climbed out my window that led to the roof and sat cross legged with the moon’s light shining across my face. I closed my eyes for a second and dreamt I was among the stars that fill the night sky with such light. As I sat I began to feel my face grow warmer to the point where I eventually opened my eyes. In the midst of the peaceful night sky, I see my favourite star glow with an intensity I have never witnessed before.Carly | Auburn High School
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