Blizzard Love

By Ann Toones

An inhuman shriek was heard, disrupting the peaceful slumber of a couple of birds nearby, sending them cawing off in the opposite direction.

Actually, it wasn't quite that loud. It was loud, though.

At least for me it was. Right after shrieking like a maniac, I hollered, "hallucination!" really thinking it was one.

For before me stood the most beautiful person in the whole world, straight from my mind, and straight from Shingha, the country I moved out of a couple of months ago.

He was a boy of about fifteen, with short, brown hair, and piercing blue eyes, who was wearing a face of surprise, almost matching my own. Apparently, he was at a loss for words, just as I was.

"Tarya?" asked one of my friends nearby, who just noticed I had been dumbfounded. I don't think I heard her at the moment. My mouth was opening and closing without emitting sound, just like a fish, which is ironic, because the boy in front of me was called Fish by all his friends and comrades.

Finally, I found my voice to utter two words: "Max Tran?"

That seemed to wake me up. "Max Tran!" I exclaimed. Then, once again, "Max Tran!" I tired getting used to the idea. But then something hit me. What if he really wasa hallucination?

I took a couple of steps toward him and poked him lightly on the shoulder. That woke him up, because now he was repeating my name over and over, same as what I had done before. But our amazing reunion didn't end there, for suddenly another man's – teenager's – voice joined Max Tran's chorus.

"Tarya Hamilton!?"

From behind Max Tran I suddenly saw another familiar face; one that I was much better acquainted with.

"George Dropper!?" I exclaimed. "Is it you? Or am I hallucinating?" Since I was better acquainted with George, and he hadn't been my crush for tow years like Max, it was much easier to talk to him.

"Tarie, what're you doing here?" George exclaimed, all 6 feet of him towering above me.

"That's what I'd like to know myself!" I exclaimed, "I was the one who moved here first!"

"I know, but I didn't know you went to this school!" he replied, as shocked as I was.

"I didn't know either of you even moved here! I thought you," Max Tran pointed at me, "had just disappeared or something, and you," he pointed at George, "I thought you were over in Shingha!"

"What's the problem here?" Asked one of the delegués of the class, who was a Zœnebean, dark-haired girl. At seeing the new students, she exclaimed in her accent-filled Shinghan, "New Students!"

At that, the rest of the class crowded around my old friend and my crush since seventh grade.

Finding myself pushed out of the circle, I decided to sit down on a nearby bench. As soon as I did, however, I found myself being pushed back into the circle, with people demanding I explain to them why these new students knew me already.

"We went to school in Shingha together," I said over the mass of people. Nobody heard me, of course. After trying to get people's attention once or twice, Max and George hollered, "We went to school together!" at the same time. Everybody uttered "ooh"s of comprehension and "hmm"s of thoughtfulness (there was even one "ahh")

Just then the teacher arrived. "Ooh! On a des nouveaux étudiants aujourd'hui!″¹ She announced, trilling her r's. Her fake happy mask was on again today, like every Monday. She abruptly turned away from us after announcing her new find, and unlocked the door. "Entrez, entrez!"²

"Merlandia," muttered Annie Clarkem-Ardido to me. I groaned, and since George was within earshot, he gave me a quizzical look. Ignoring it, I motioned him and Max to go in before me. Finding room in the back row, I sat between George and Max, sweating a little as Max bent over to open his backpack, coming closer to me. Annie sat next to Max.

A second everyone sat down, Mrs. Merlandia began:

"On a des nouveaux étudiants aujourd'hui!" she repeated her first sentence today. « S'il vouz plaît, appresentez-vous à nous!"³ she said to George and Max.

Of course, neither of them understanding a word of Genish sat in their chairs, gazing blankly at Merlandia.

Before I could help them out, Merlandia tried a different method.

"D'où venez-vous?"(4)

Once again, she got the same answer. Moving quickly, I wrote on a piece of paper –where do you come from?- and gave it to George. He looked at me with the same blank stare he'd give Merlandia and looked at the paper.

He cleared his throat and said, "Shingha." Looking up, I saw Merlandia looking relieved. Inwardly, I punched myself.

"Tarya, vous pouvez les aider!" (5) I punched myself even harder at that (inwardly, of course). Outside, all I did was put on the biggest, fakest smile and nod energetically.

"Bien, bien!"(6) Merlandia seemed happy, having finished her hard work for the day. She immediately turned around and started writing gibberish on the blackboard.

"She's the teacher you dislike, right?" George asked me.

"One of them," I agreed, "she's a real pain in the ass – I mean butt."

Max leaned over. I felt short of breath.

"She seems like a hag to me. I have to agree with you there, Blitz" he said, referring to me, "Can I call you Blitz? I dunno why, it just seems to fit you."

I nodded, not really taking in anything except that he was talking to me.

George, noticing this, patted me on the shoulder. I looked up to see he was amused.

There was an awkward silence, for me at least, when we tried to take notes on what Merlandia was writing on the board.

Then, I started hearing whispers to my left. I turned my head to see Annie and Max conversing. I felt a twinge of jealousy, but brushed it away, berating myself for being jealous for no reason.

George had looked up to see who was talking a little after I did, and saw me blush.

"It's OK, you never had a chance with him anyways," he whispered so only I could hear.

I grunted. "Thanks for the support, pal," I said sarcastically, "I really needed it."

George smirked, and I felt like punching him. But then he turned back around, trying to figure out what Merlandia was saying, and I couldn't help but not be mad at him.

Thus I spent the rest of the class translating to him, Max already having a personal translator.

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(1) we have new students today

(2) come in, come in

(3) (if you) please, present yourselves to us

(4) Where do you come from?

(5) Tarya, you can help them!

(6) Good, good