“Edith’s Story” by T. White

Edith remembered it as a hot day. This was peculiar considering it was in fact a glacial 20 degrees. But in her mind the temperature neared three digits, balancing between the livable and the livable only for desert snakes and rodents and insects, and rocks. She thought about those rocks and how some managed to stay solid through time, while others eroded away into sand. Edith was young but understood the metaphors’ context in her life. The minds of ten-year-olds are so bright and exuberant in thought that perhaps they see more than the so called “older” and “wiser.”

This girl was especially bright. Her thoughts leaped around in great swirls of color. She could keep any rhythm she heard just once with a tapping shoe. And even though her dimples made her look cute, you could tell she wasn’t really from her eyebrows. They stood strong and attentive on the bone. Edith wasn’t cute because she was much too strong. At least that’s what all the parents of the other girls at her school said over ants-on-a-log. But the ants only waved to Edith; they thought she was cute.

She remembered it being hot that day because she was moving out of the city and it’s easier for things to move in warm weather. She knew her muscles were more relaxed away from snow so that’s where she put herself. She wasn’t very sad that her family’s prospects here hadn’t panned out. The apartment was too snug and only had the view of a four-story parking complex. Still, it was strange that they hadn’t stayed more than a year. Usually, Edith’s father took time establishing his himself in executive buildings and well-regarded businesses. That’s where the real money was. But here they were after only four months, packing up again.

Edith’s mother knew nothing of her husband’s ventures. She wasn’t dumb, but she also just didn’t care. With every move came more people; that was what Edith’s mother wanted. She wanted to meet as many people as she could in her lifetime. She kept diaries to keep track, and always assured Edith that she never cheated on her official record number. She was a kind woman and supremely sociable. Though no one understood her, except perhaps Edith, she was loved.

This sort of blindness was not for Edith, who in fact did care about how her dad spent his time. She hadn’t told anybody about his jobs because she wasn’t so sure people were trustworthy, at least none of the ones she had met so far.

Edith decided to really use her last day here to its fullest potential. She made sure not to go to school first. Then, she wandered into a museum, pretending to be a part of some class on a field trip. She stared at the lifeless, full of life. She thought how strange it was that something made of paint, with no breath, could have more soul than some of the people walking around, who if you were to cup a hand in front of their mouth, would breathe hot thick air into it. These plumes of thick air hung in front of their faces on the sidewalks because of the cold. Edith watched this and thought that maybe it was this cloud that blocked their sight. But it was not always cold and sometimes breath was expelled and couldn’t be seen. It could still be poisonous, she thought.

She was very much in her head now, so the five miles that took her to the bakery really took no time at all. Edith had decided that there were no better cookies in the world than here, and she had lived in many places. So she got one peanut butter cookie and one chocolate. She broke the chocolate one into halves. She did this now, when the cookie was still warm, because it was the only proper time to break a cookie. Her mother insisted so. Edith always thought that chocolate, especially dark, was like her mom. Velvety but confusing in layers of flavor, chocolate is complicated and a little unnerving to tastebuds. It’s loved anyways.

This was all Edith had wanted to do before she left town, so she skipped over the cracks in the sidewalk to a van parked outside her apartment. She handed her mom the two cookie halves, and buckled herself into the backseat for now.