Paper Snowflakes: Chapter 1: A Snowflake's Message
"Show me it's okay/ show me it's alright/ that I'm far from crazy/ living by faith and not by sight." –"Tell Me" by He Is We
The first time I saw him I was at a restaurant. He was waiting on the next table over. I muffled myself into my food, not letting him catch me staring. Picking at the rice left in the dish, I looked down at what I was wearing: a gold sweatshirt and jeans. The jeans were not even skinny but a simple medium wash with a straight leg. My hair was arranged up in a ponytail at the top of my head and on my feet were brown, worn moccasins and brightly colored socks.
I was ruffled from a school day, deep into a stressful week with so many projects and papers to be completed and about ready to collapse into a nice, long hibernation. I knew it was wrong. I knew he would never notice the girl with no makeup and dreary eyes.
My screaming younger sister sat in a highchair next to me with my older sister across the table reading. Mom and Dad were deep in conversation at another table. It was their "date night" that they always dragged the three of us to. I was in no position or condition to admire the male species. And yet, he and I locked eyes as he retreated back to the kitchen after bringing out entrées.
My eyes shifted down instantly as a red glow appeared on my cheeks. You have a boyfriend, Danni! But there's no hurt in looking, right? What was I doing, letting my eyes wander? But wait, it was not a sin to admire other boys. I could look but not touch. Thoughts scattered through my brain as to what I was up to while my face returned to its normal shade.
I picked over some chicken and placed a piece on the wailing baby's plate next to mine. She was just hungry, I hoped. Jamming it into her mouth, she started to make a mess of her brand new onesie. Barbeque sauce dripped from her chin. I sighed as I patted it with my napkin. Her wails slowed as she ate, and yet she still possessed the uncanny ability to have everyone's attention at the neighboring tables. "Shh, Lydia," I murmured to her, stroking the child's cheek. "Eat up."
She eyed me with a hunger in her pupils and continued to make a mess of herself with the applesauce I had given the child. Then she started screaming again after it was all eaten up. "Vanette, some help over here?" I looked to my older sister, engrossed in her latest book. Notes from the Underground it read; it was probably a classic novel.
She gazed at me from behind her glasses, unsure of what to do. "Just take her to mom," she told me dismissively, returning to the depths of another world. That wasn't very helpful, I thought. She never takes care of Lydia! Groaning, I got up and delivered the baby and highchair to my parents' table, my mother not looking too happy with me for handing over an upset Lydia to them on their date night.
When I returned, Vanette had left to use the restroom. The waiter was over checking on his table, passing a young boy another drink. He locked eyes with me again as he passed, a slight hint of a grin on his face. I glanced back down and pretended to check my phone, savoring the way his dark brown fringe slightly covered his eyes, which were a dark silver color. While cracking a peanut open from the bucket sitting on the table, I allowed myself one glance at the back of him and smiled at the way his hair curled out naturally at the bottom, as if he had worn a hat too long.
My phone vibrated and I suddenly realized I was staring. A text from my boyfriend appeared on screen. Oops, I thought. Well, it was a one time thing. I made myself promise that. And yet when he made his way back around, I caught him looking at me this time. I did not have the heart to look away.
Vanette nearly caught me. She was coming back to our table and crossed his path. He simply touched her shoulder, moving aside so my sister could get through. She didn't look twice at him and trudged along back to her chair. My sister had a one-track brain, normally focused on school or the arts. She was very different from me and often times annoyed by me.
Her hair was the same light brown as mine, but it was long and straight and all the same length, rarely tied back. Dark brown eyes hid under her leaf green librarian glasses which rested on her freckled nose. Her lips naturally formed a slight pout. She wore a dark green ribbed sweeter as she was constantly cold. Paired with that were plain white skinny jeans and gray, short booties. She never painted her face with makeup and simply rolled her eyes or tutted at it. In a short definition, she was a straight-edge.
Me? I was not a straight-edge. My hair was also light brown but not almost all the way down my back. It came to rest at my shoulders, with a few layers added in and a slight fringe. I often braided it or pulled it up. I had soft, forest green eyes and a few less freckles than my sister. I opted for contacts. Of course, today I was worn out and didn't give a shit about my appearance, but normally I cared a tad bit more than my sister. She was cute, I suppose. She would grow up to be a nice wife with a stable job and plenty of opportunities before her. Me? I was the lesser of the two sisters in the opinions of most adults, including our parents. I was a good student, getting A's and B's, but school bored me. The best part of it was art class. I was also on swim team, but that was just one more activity to be driven to in my parents' eyes. Vanette always refused to drive me and they did not trust me with my own car.
When my parents finally decided that they were ready to go, I put my winter coat on and went over to pick up Lydia, knowing that my mother would not want to carry the still complaining child out to the car. My parents left us to go heat up the car after paying for our dinners. Promptly, my little sister decided to spit up all over my gold hoodie. I groaned, handing her to Vanette and wiping the fluids off my clothing with a nearby napkin. Vanette grunted about having to hold Lydia as she wanted to continue reading her not so boring to her book that was very boring to me. I gave her a slight glare and realized that some was in my hair, too. "Shit," I swore under my breath as I gently pulled the spit up out of my hair, secretly hoping that my sister did not hear the curse that slipped out of my mouth in frustration. She would tattle on me as if we were still ten years old.
When I was all cleaned up I took the little girl back in my arms, who was only a little over a year old. I reached in my pocket for my phone to text Mom and tell her that we were coming out to the car, but it wasn't there. Frustration and anxiety swept over my face as I roughly placed Lydia back in my older sister's hands. My feet carried me back over to our table in a hurry, and my face paled when all I found was a paper snowflake on the seat. Confused, I picked it up. Something was written on the underside.
Don't worry, it's in safe hands.
I cocked my head at the message and looked all around, not knowing what to make of it. My phone was in safe hands? But whose safe hands, exactly?
Flustered and ready to crash, I turned on my heel and started to fight my way back to my two siblings. Then I felt a warm hand brush mine, and a hard, rectangular object dropped into it. My phone. I turned to see the owner of the hands, and I was met face to face with a slight smile. Dark silver eyes hidden slightly beneath bangs studied me, and a drawing voice murmured to me. "Keep the snowflake." Just as soon as he came he was gone, whisked away to another table and another order to fill. And yet I saw him wink at me as I exited the restaurant, our eyes locked on each other for a last time that night.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading! This story is probably going to be light and fluffy. I'm not entirely sure where it's going yet as this first chapter was written on a whim sort of based off a real situation.
Review Question: Where do you think the story will go from here?
Disclaimer: I do not own Notes from the Underground.