Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 111,611,307 Issue: 221 | 22nd day of Celebrating, Y7
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Snow Day


by oldnavyfan10

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The snow fell gently, blanketing the world in sparkling white beauty. Freedom, a Desert Aisha, watched it fall from the window in her room. Her breath fogged up the glass and she rubbed it clear with one paw. Thoughts were spinning through her head.

     Each winter, she and her best friends wished for snow almost every day. Dancer, a green Lupe, and Stella, a Starry Zafara, lived in the houses on either side of Freedom's house, and there was no friendship greater than theirs. Whenever it snowed, the three girls would wait in anticipation for the neomail that would announce that neoschool was cancelled. Then they would bundle themselves up in mismatched coats and scarves and race outside for a day filled with sledding, snowball fights, making snowmen, baking cookies, drinking hot cocoa, and having as much fun as possible. It was as if time stopped on snow days. Nobody else in the world mattered to Freedom except her best friends.

     Freedom cast her eyes away from the snow. Normally, snow days made Freedom the happiest Aisha in the world, but today, Freedom only felt a deep, sorrowful ache in her chest. She, Dancer, and Stella were still as close as ever, but they had all changed. They worried about bad fur days and what the cool pets were saying about them. They went shopping and gossiped. They always wanted to be mature and scorned their past childish behavior. Going sledding was definitely considered childish.

     Freedom sighed and rose from the floor. It did no good to simply stare at the snow all day and wish she was out there. Stella had suggested going shopping for Christmas decorations so they could make their rooms more festive. Freedom grabbed a couple thousand neopoints and went downstairs. She was supposed to meet Stella and Dancer in a half hour, and she still needed to ask her mom if she could go. When she walked into the kitchen, her mother and three siblings were already seated at the table.

     "Mommy, I want to go out in the snow now!" said Earthwing, a green Ixi. She was younger than Freedom but loved snow just as much as her older sister.

     "Wait until Spirit has finished his breakfast. He can't go sledding with you if he's hungry, now can he?" Navy, Freedom's mother, said in a slightly exasperated tone.

     Earthwing nodded, but the minute she saw Freedom, excitement overrode her calm. "I want Freedom to go sledding with me, too!" The little Ixi looked at her older sister with hope in her eyes. "Please, Free?"

     Freedom rolled her eyes, making sure Earthwing saw. "As if I would actually want to go sledding. Only little kids play in the snow. I'm going shopping with Stella and Dancer." Freedom suddenly remembered that she had not asked Navy if it was okay yet. "I mean, Mom, can I go shopping with Stella and Dancer today?"

     Navy ran her fingers through her long blonde hair as she always did when she was thinking. "Why aren't you guys going sledding? You always go out in the snow. It's been your favorite time of year since you were little."

     Freedom fought to stay calm. "Did it ever occur to you that I could have changed?" Her mother had spoken the truth, but it was something that Freedom did not want to hear.

     Navy shrugged. "If you want to go, then you can go. Just be back by noon. That'll give you three hours. It should be enough." Freedom sighed inwardly. She had wanted to spend the entire day shopping, but that would never happen if it was up to Navy.

     With a slightly forced smile she said, "Okay, I'll be home by then. 'Bye!" With that, she raced out the door, leaving her family behind.

     Fire, a Fire Shoyru, sighed. "Why'd she have to go and grow up on us? She always played in the snow. She didn't even mind if we tagged along. I don't know what happened."

     Spirit, a White Eyrie, gave his little sister a sympathetic look. "Nothing really happened. Free's just trying to do her own thing. There's nothing wrong with that."

     Earthwing's small face narrowed with hurt. "There's definitely something wrong with it when you're mean about it."

     Navy rested a hand on Earthwing's back. "Just go outside and enjoy yourself. Everything looks better after a snow day." The Ixi still had sad shadows in her eyes, but she obediently shrugged on her coat and went to grab some sleds from the storage shed in their backyard. Fire followed her while Spirit hung back.

     He looked down. "Mom, why didn't Freedom want to go sledding with us? I mean, I should to know. I'm the next oldest after Free so Fire and Earthwing kind of expect me to know. But… I don't know."

     Navy shrugged. "I've got no clue. If your sisters ask, just say Freedom wants some variety. Something could be going on with Stella and Dancer, but I don't really know. Whatever it is, she'll be fine. She's not abandoning you."

     Spirit smiled. "I wish I could have your faith in her. I guess there isn't anything we can do about it now. Fire and Earthwing are probably wondering where I am." The Eyrie strode out the back door, and Navy pretended not to notice how his shoulders drooped dejectedly.

     ***

      "Ohmigosh! These are so cute! I should put them over my door," Stella said while holding up a string of blinking lights.

      "Totally cool, Stell. Now check out this Twisted Roses Santa hat!" Dancer said and twirled to show off the hat.

      "Cute! What've you picked out, Free?" Stella asked inquisitively.

      The Aisha shook her head and said, "Nothing. I can't really find anything I like."

      At the same time Dancer and Stella cried, "Uh!" The Lupe continued, "Of course you can! Me and Dancer found stuff. What is up with you today? Normally, you find all the cute stuff before we can even get to it."

      Freedom gave an unhappy smile and said, "I guess I'm just a little distracted."

      "By what?" asked Dancer.

      "I don't know, Dancer. I guess…"

      "What?" Stella demanded.

      "Well, it's just… I feel bad about not going sledding with my siblings. They really wanted me to," Freedom said in a very small voice.

      "We agreed that sledding was for little kids. But if you want to, go ahead. We'll stay here." Stella turned slightly as if she didn't want to see Freedom's reaction.

      "But it's only fun if you guys come." Freedom's face was pleading.

      "Look, we're not stopping you from sledding with your siblings. Go. If you don't want to be here, then we don't want you here," Stella said. Despite her gentle voice, her eyes were narrowed and her words stung.

      "Fine. I'll go. But you know, life was a lot more fun when we didn't have to worry about acting like little kids. For once, I wish I was a little kid. Then we'd be out there sledding, having a good time. Like we used to." Freedom turned and stalked away. Dancer looked from Stella to Freedom and back to Stella. The Zafara gave her friend a hard glare, and Dancer didn't look back at Freedom again.

     ***

     Freedom ran home. Once she arrived outside her big wooden house, she raced inside, panting from the run. She gazed out her window at the hill next to her house. There was her family, sledding together. Spirit and Earthwing were racing each other, Fire was going down backwards, and Navy was hurtling down, screaming with joy, her hands thrown in the air.

     Freedom thought back to that morning, and all her heartless words came rushing back to her. She didn't want to go out there, not after she had turned her back on them. She padded down to the kitchen and decided to make hot cocoa. After all, it was very cold. She heated water, and when she started pouring it into a mug, she realized that, without thinking, she had automatically heated enough water for three mugs. One for Freedom, one for Stella, and one for Dancer.

     Tears came unbidden to Freedom's eyes. She was crying because she had been mean to her family, because Stella and Dancer had ditched, because she was inside and all alone on a snow day, and most importantly, because she was still a kid and she wanted to go sledding with her best friends.

     Something made Freedom look out the window. She saw Stella and Dancer walking into their respective houses. Suddenly, something that she couldn't understand gripped Freedom. She ran into her room, grabbed her winter clothes, and began layering. She pulled her gloves on as she raced down the stairs. She quickly ran outside and grabbed her favorite sled from the storage shed. Then she ran around the hill next to her house, sled in hand.

     Stella was running from her house and Dancer from hers, each with a sled. The three girls all raced towards the hill and collided with each other, falling over into the snow. They didn't say a word. They didn't need to. Instead, they jumped on their sleds and flew down the hill faster than they had ever gone before. They fell off and rolled, gathering bruises on every part of their bodies. At the bottom of the hill, the three girls lay on the ground and laughed until their stomachs hurt.

     ***

      That day marked an important change in Freedom, Stella, and Dancer's friendship. They didn't stop caring about bad fur days and shopping. They still wanted to be mature. But they decided that being a little kid every once in a while wasn't that bad.

      Snow days would always be a special time for Freedom and her best friends. Snow itself was not magical or incredibly special, but depending on how you viewed it, snow could make a friendship magical and incredibly special.

      For Freedom, Stella, and Dancer, snow was friends. Snow was fun. Snow was laughter. Snow was happiness. Snow was love.

The End

 
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