Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"Shock and Aww"

Red and yellow maple leaves danced around Melody’s feet as she walked to school Monday morning.

The weekend had been unusually warm for so late in the season, and she had gone to the park with her mother on Saturday, just to soak in the warmth and the light. "This summer weather can't last much longer, but what a beautiful day this is,” said her mom, smiling up at the sun. “I love living in Canada.”

“Me too,” said Melody, thinking about the many moves they’d made from one side of their massive country to the other. Winters came hard and fast in the prairies of Saskatchewan where they had lived last year; but here in Ontario, it seemed like the grass might never be covered in snow.

Melody and her mom were still unpacking boxes from the move that landed them in the city. They’d arrived one month before school started, moving into a tall apartment building full of families. Every floor had a different mix of cooking smells and languages. Though she was beginning to recognize some of her neighbours, the elevators that ran up and down the middle of their building seemed constantly full of new faces.

When school started, Melody discovered that some of her neighbours were also her classmates! It was wonderful to have a few familiar faces in a room full of so many strangers. One girl named Brooklyn made a special point of inviting Melody to play with her group of friends at recess. Brooklyn and her family lived on the top floor of the apartment building, and you could see the school from their balcony. Melody’s home faced north, towards the water; from her balcony, you could stare across the lake and watch as huge shipping vessels came sailing into port. Melody and Brooklyn spent a lot of time on those balconies, sometimes doing homework, and sometimes just watching the world from high above, and getting to know each other.

Walking to school on Monday morning, Melody heard a giggle behind her. Before she had time to turn around, a giant pile of those red and yellow maple leaves was dumped right on her head! Brooklyn’s giggle burst into a laugh as soon as her arms were empty. Melody started laughing too, and bent down to gather up an armload of leaves to bury the girl in return, but Brooklyn was already racing down the sidewalk by the time Melody stood up. She dropped the leaves and ran after her friend. They were both out of breath and grinning ear-to-ear by the time she caught up.

“Thank you very much,” said Melody, sarcastically. “I really appreciate it, friend.” She picked a leaf out of her hair and threw it at Brooklyn, but it fluttered to the ground without even touching her.

Brooklyn laughed again. “You’re very welcome,” she said.

When the bell rang, they went inside and took their seats. Mr Nelson, their grade two teacher, was drawing on the whiteboard in a thick, purple marker. “Good morning, class. I hope you all enjoyed the weather this weekend, because it looks like it’s going to get pretty cold this week! And just in time for our unit on the water cycle,” he said, drawing a purple snowflake on the board for everyone to see.

Melody silently rolled her eyes. There was no way it would snow this week.

The walk to school on Tuesday morning was warm and bright, just as it had been on Monday. Wednesday was much the same. When Melody woke up on Thursday morning, she didn’t even check the thermometer that hung outside their balcony door. She bounded out of the apartment, into the elevator and out to the sidewalk. As soon as the front doors opened up, she froze -- partly out of shock, and partly because it was SO COLD. The weather has snapped, and it was SNOWING.

Melody groaned. She didn’t have time to go all the way back to her apartment, find the winter clothing box and still get to school on time, so long sleeves would have to do. Just then she heard a giggle behind her. Before she had time to turn around, a giant pile of soft, warm, wool was wrapped right around her head! Brooklyn had taken off her scarf and bundled it around Melody’s body. It was the longest, fuzziest scarf that Melody had ever seen.

Thank you very much,” said Melody, sincerely. “I really appreciate it, friend.”

Brooklyn zipped up her jacket and smiled. “You’re very welcome,” she said.

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