The dove grey sky is mirrored in the thick ice coating the sidewalk. I slid my boots over the pavement, the world a watery canvas of white and blue. Cold air slipped through my coat, piercing my skin like needles. I still continued walking. I needed to get to the church.
The letter was a thick piece of parchment paper, sealed with red wax. It was hard to believe it came to my family’s doorstep. But my name was lettered in the ink: Celeste Solace. So I opened it:
You have the chance to do things over, to riddle out a rhyme,
And when the New Years Clock strikes twelve you shall find,
Your self back in the present on the changing year’s chime,
But only if you right your wrong on time.
And so here I was, standing in front of the church. I needed to make things right. Glancing at my watch, I realized the clock would strike twelve in ten seconds. Frantically, I slapped the tower, the cold iron smooth beneath my fingertips.
“Two years ago! Birch-Wood Hall!” I shouted.
The world erupts in a vortex of colors and I found myself standing in the past.
“It worked! I’m back!” A smile erupts on my face. I could fix it. I opened the door of Temple-Hall and walked through.
I was struck by how much the past was similar to the present. The only thing different was the envelope on the sidewalk. That envelope is why I came back. I regretted it so badly. I remember picking up the envelope, 500 dollars spilling out. I remember running back home with a smile on my face, but beginning to cry as I realized I stole it. And I remember losing it and finding out that it belonged to my best friend, who’s even poorer than us. She told me that she had won a math contest. And that was the prize.
But I picked up the envelope, white and wet with snow and instead of walking home, I left it in her mailbox and walked home with a grin on my face, even bigger than the first.
Entering my apartment, I was greeted by a chorus of voices, my parent’s, my sister’s, and by grandfather’s. Our apartment was small, with only three rooms, our belongings old and falling apart, but tonight, the sight was beautiful. The water I washed my hand with was cold but I didn’t mind. The chair I sat in for dinner was beat-up, but I didn’t mind. I had my family.
I’m so lucky, I thought as I sat down for dinner.
My grandfather stood up as the rest of our family pulled out their chairs. “There is a four letter word,” he began as the table grew quite, “It has taken centuries to understand what it is. Though our house is small, we have it at our table. It is love.”
We finished eating and then I went to sleep. When I woke up, I was back in the present.