Another Orbit Around The Sun
Kira Andrews had never been one for surprises. She didn’t like to give them, didn’t like to receive them. They were inconvenient, both for the giver who was trying to keep the secret and the receiver who was bound to have their plans complicated by the surprise. As Kira stood at the door to her parents’ house, the icy wind wrapping around her as she jiggled up and down to try to stay warm, she braced herself. Today would be a double-whammy, she was sure of it.
The door swung open and a burst of warm air rushed from inside to greet her. Her mother, with a long flowing orange tie-dyed dress and a welcoming smile, beckoned her inside before wrapping her in her arms. “You are so cold,” Miranda said, her cheek pressed firmly against her daughter’s. “Why didn’t you dress for this weather?”
Kira shrugged. “Why dress heavily for a forty second wait at the front door? Everywhere else I’ve been is, and will be, warm.”
Miranda took her daughter’s arm and lead her into the house. A wood fire burned in the corner of the kitchen, topped with a large bubbling pot, sending delicate smells of creamy pumpkin soup and fresh bread throughout the room. Kira immediately felt at ease. She chose her favourite chair in the corner to slump down into and waited for her father to join her.
“It’s been a while,” Miranda said. “How have you been, darling?”
Kira sighed. “I’ve been fine Mum. Where’s Dad?”
Her mother looked towards the bedroom door. Three doors lead off the small kitchen. The main bedroom, which Miranda was looking at, was the only room with the door slightly ajar.
“Dad,” Kira called out. There was no response.
Miranda put her hand on Kira’s arm. “Your father is sleeping. Don’t wake him.”
Kira eyed her mother over. Her dad loved her visits and he’d never slept through one before. Was her mother protecting her from something?
“You’ve come here today to tell us something, haven’t you?” Miranda asked.
“Yes,” Kira said, determined to stay strong. She wouldn’t cry. There had already been so many tears, so much heartache. “I’ve decided to sell the house.”
Miranda nodded. “You’ve made the right decision, dear.”
A tear spilt over onto Kira’s cheek and her mother wiped it away. “I just can’t afford to keep the two houses running. I need to stop coming here. I need to get on with my life.”
“Yes, you do,” Miranda said. “We’ve been saying that for a long time now.”
Kira placed her face in her hands and doubled over. “I just… I don’t… Where will you go?”
“Anywhere and everywhere,” Miranda smiled. “We cannot wait to be released from this place. There is so much we want to do, so many places we want to go. It isn’t fair to keep us locked in here. Your father is really struggling.”
“Will I ever see you again?” Kira asked.
“We will always live in your memories.”
Kira took a deep breath and looked around the room. The family photo on the wall, taken when she was almost sixteen, four years before her parents were killed, was gathering dust. The woven rag rug that she had made with her mother had worn in some places; she’d not noticed that before and wondered if it had been like that before the accident.
“Can we share some soup together before I go? Perhaps we could wake Dad?”
Miranda stood up. “Darling, the soup is not real. Neither is the wood fire. It is very cold and you are going to get sick if you stay here much longer. You didn’t dress warmly enough for this weather.”
Kira looked down at her shaking hands and frowned. “That’s not fair. Don’t start bringing reality into this.”
Miranda held out her hand and pulled Kira to her feet. “It is time to stop living in the past. You must move on.”
“But I wanted to die too,” Kira cried. “I didn’t want to survive. It doesn’t seem fair, when I was the one driving. How much longer am I going to have to live with this pain?”
“It will begin to ease, eventually. Deciding to sell the house is a good start. But only you can say how long the healing will take. It could begin after you have laid your head down twice more, or perhaps even another orbit around the sun. Only you can reveal that answer.”
Kira closed her eyes and let out a long, heavy groan. When she opened her eyes again, she was alone. The house was empty and cold and so was she. She walked to the photo that hung on the wall and ran her fingers over her mother’s and then her father’s face. Regret sat like a festering layer of meat in the pit of her stomach. She took down the photo and walked back out to her car.
She would call the real estate agent in the morning.
The Writing Prompt used as inspiration for this piece of writing was offered by Visible Ink:
The Prompt was: Use the following prompt from the Lost and Found anthology as inspiration for your existing work or to start a new piece:
“Perhaps even another orbit of the sun” Orbits of the Sun, Trish Bolton
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About the author: Catriona McKeown
Catriona is a freelance writer, aspiring author, teacher, wife and the mother of three exceptional children. She lives on the Fraser Coast in Queensland, but has a passion for Western Australia, especially the Kimberley, where she and her family had the privilege of living for twelve months in the remote town of Halls Creek.
Thank you so much for this piece Catriona, we look forward to reading more of your writing in the future.
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