Perception

Anna's always seen life one way - we all have. What you see through your eyes is your own perspective on the world, on the people around you. No one can tell you otherwise. But what happens when Anna wakes up the morning after her death in a different body, the body of someone she used to know? For once, she's seeing life through someone else's eyes, but can your perception ever really be changed?

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2. Chapter One

I've always found snowflakes fascinating - the way they fall down from the Earth's atmosphere, delicately structured in the symmetrical shape that they are. And I know there's probably some scientific explanation for it - there always is - but to me it's just a snowflake, a miracle created from thin air. Sometimes the details don't matter. 

Sometimes, looking closely is all that matters.

Getting up on a snow day is the easiest. One squeal from your younger brother, who's circling the house in joy, is enough to make you think that today's an exception from the usual routine. On that cue, I'm up and looking out the window, the neighbourhood layered in thick blankets of snow. 

"Anna! Look at my shiny new boots!" Harrison jumps up behind me, hands pulling down on my arm. "Look, Anna, look!"

I shake him off as usual, staring down at his oversized boots wrapped around his skinny, little ankles. "They're great."

The thing about children is, they're always smarter than you make them out to be. Harrison doesn't seem convinced by my flat tone, but he shakes it off when Mum calls him down for breakfast; the quicker he eats it up, the quicker he can go outside.

I, however, would rather just watch the snow scene from in here. Somehow it's calming to just watch the kids play about building snowmen and throwing snowballs at their friends. It's like looking inside one of those globes - you're not a part of the scene, yet you are; you're the one fuelling it by shaking it up and down for the snow to fall. I'd rather be that person - not visible, but still enjoying the scene.

When I reach over for my phone by the bedside table, I see that I have a text from Paige, my best friend.

//School's off. Let's do something//

I notice I have a message from my friend Ruby too.

//Us usual lot are going out sledging, want to come?//

Falling back onto my bed, I let my head hit the pillow again. I dial Paige's number and wait till she picks up. It takes a few minutes as usual and then she murmurs a hello on the other end.

"Paige, hey! How are you?"

"I'm good, you?"

"Yeah yeah, good, so what do you think about going sledging?"

She's quiet for a moment. I chew on my sleeve. "I thought you hated sledging."

"Yeah well the others are all going and I thought maybe we could go too."

I'm awaiting her response when suddenly Harrison is at the door again, styling his new boots. I wave my arm frantically in the air to try and get him to go away, but I end up just feeling as hopeless as my mother.

"Anna! Come out and play with me!" He's beaming that adorable smile of his, but I don't have time for his silly, little games.

"Let go, Harrison," I mumble when he starts tugging at my arm - it seems to always be his way of getting attention.

Paige hesitates on the other end and I push Harrison away. "Later okay, I promise!" 

His rounded spearmint-blue eyes stare at me for a second, before he reluctantly shuffles out of the room, my ears tuning back into the call. "Sorry about that, so you up for sledging?"

"Yeah - 

"Great! Meet me at the lamppost at 10?"

Once she's confirmed, I hang up, rummaging around in my drawers for something to wear. Sledging's never really been my thing but I figured it would be better than sitting around here all day, or being forced by Mum to play games with Harrison.

"Anna, Dad's on the phone!" Mum shouts from downstairs, typically as I'm in the middle of getting dressed. Snow days may be great, but they certainly aren't relaxing. I find myself making my way downstairs in half of my snow gear, sporting what isn't exactly the most suitable of clothing for snow. I guess it never is when half of it is a pyjama top with bunnies dotted all over it. Even Harrison giggles, trying to cover his grin with his hands.

"Hey Dad," I say, taking the phone, "you're in Germany, right?"

"America, but you're close." He laughs. "So I heard it's a snow day there?"

"Yeah, it is."

"Got much planned?"

I shrug, only remembering afterwards he can't even see me. "Just going sledging with friends."

"Nice, I hope you have a good time."

"Thanks, I will." 

A short silence follows. "Well I'll talk to you soon Anna, I'm back tomorrow."

"Yeah, okay. Bye Dad." I hold out the phone for Mum, before heading back upstairs.

Dad's never really been one to talk on the phone. It's so much easier when he's here because our conversations mostly evolve around TV shows and random facial expressions across the dinner table. Talking on the phone to him is like talking to a toy that's got a battery in it's stomach, spurting out the same words all the time. Sometimes I think it's because he's multi-tasking at work, stressing himself out, but really I just think he doesn't want to talk. Maybe he doesn't really care what we get up to, but just asks because he has to. I guess that's a compulsory role for parents, right?

Once I'm properly changed and heading downstairs, it's just gone past ten - I'm late. Shoving on my shoes and a jacket, I grab the keys.

"Hey, hold on a minute, where do you think you're going?" Mum asks, sipping a hot cup of coffee at the table, a newspaper spread out in front of her. 

"Sledging," I say, "you heard me on the phone?"

"But where?"

I raise my eyebrows. "I don't know. Someplace. But I'm going with Paige so everything will be okay."

She seems to think Paige is responsible (which she is, really) so she doesn't mind me going out if it's with her, which most of the time it is anyway. I've never really understood why parents need to know exactly where you're going anyway. Well, I do understand, but most of the time it's based upon exaggerated 'what-ifs'. I wish I could just go wherever I want, disappear off the land for a day and not have my mum worrying about where I've gone. Wouldn't it be cool to just go off somewhere and take a break from everything? For me, that would be like starting world war three.

As I'm trudging through the snow, which is at least halfway up my shin, I'm trying to take in the view, but it's difficult to picture it how it was this morning, before the footsteps and angels and snowmen had created patterns in the blank canvas. Faint capsules of snow like mint coloured tic tacs still fall from the sky, piling upon the used snow. It doesn't make the old snow any cleaner though.

I see the lamppost in the distance after a few minutes. It's a point which marks roughly halfway between my house and Paige's. Since we were very young, we used to meet up here before we went on our adventures to the playground, or walked her Labrador, Kelsie. It was our very own place that no one else would know about. It still is - it still is ours. 

And as I'm walking along, Paige's smile in the distance, teeth blending in with the background, I see the first snowflake I've seen fall this Winter. I hold my hand out, palm up and it melts into my skin.

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