Nova never seemed to fit into her family. Her eyes were different, her hair was different, her mind was different. She always felt as if she had a different calling. When she met a new boy in her math class, she felt as if she belonged with him. When her parents dropped a huge surprise on her life, Nova is forced to say goodbye to everything she knows.


1. Birthday of surprises

"Querida please come down stairs," My mother calls for me. I trot down the stairs in no hurry. Mom yells again for me. "I'm up, I'm here!" I cry. "Happy birthday!" My dad greets me in the door way, his broad shoulders reach to grab me in a hug. My mother's brown hair is messed up and her brown eyes look worried. I can tell she has been busy, or thinking a lot lately. "Querida we have been thinking," Dad says, using my nickname they've called me forever. I don't like it. My dad continues, "And we've talked about your hair." I know Dad's going to say no any minute now. I asked him last month if I could dye my hair red for my seventeenth birthday. My parents don't understand why I want my hair dyed. Honestly, my only reason is I like red hair. I never liked my parents hair, and I wondered about mine. I had blonde hair, white as a beach's sand. My parents both had dark brown hair to compliment Mom's dark eyes and Dad's hazel eyes. Me? I was stuck with blue eyes and I figured red hair would be better. "And, we've decided, why not, you can dye your hair if you'd like," Mom finishes. I am shocked, they said yes! "Thank you so much!" I cry as they approve. I can't wait to go call my cousin Fatima and tell her. "Tell her," I hear Mom say to Dad. Dad shakes his head, probably another surprise. Just then, a cake comes out. I enjoy my cake and open the rest of my presents. "Can I please go call Fatima now?" I ask Mom and Dad. They say yes and I dash to the stairs. 
"No way, seriously?" Fatima responds when I tell her Mom and Dad said yes. I adore Fatima, which is strange because she is actually a year younger than me. She has beautiful green eyes and dark brown hair, along with a nice golden tan. I always burn in the sun while she glistens down the beach.  "You can come with me, if you want, when I dye my hair," I suggest. "Sure, I'd want to see this!" She exclaims. I hear a boom on the other line. "Hold on," She says, then I hear her yell, "Eloy, go away!" Eloy is her brother, he is ten years old. I asked Mom and Dad why I never had a brother or sister. They always have the same answer, "Because bombom," Another nickname I hate, "You were perfect enough." Fatima tells me I should be glad I don't have siblings, but I wonder. I hang up the phone and look in the mirror. I try to imagine myself with red hair, but I can't. I watch as the run my fingers through the slick and straight hair. I always play with Mom's curls, I love the way they naturally fall like ringlets. I stare into my blue eyes and watch as my blonde eyebrows move up and down again. I look at the three single freckles on my nose, wondering where in the world those came from. I once asked Mom and she said she didn't even know. "Nova!" Finally Mom is calling me by my name and not something stupid. My name, which I also don't particularly like. Nova, two syllables of boring. Nova means "new" in Portuguese, which I find lame. Why would Mom name me "new?" I wish I could have been named something cool, instead of Nova. Mom always tells me to be glad we live in a country where names of of utmost importance. I say I am grateful, but then again, I am not a real fan of our country anyways. As I return back down the stairs, Mom says, "Never mind." I get annoyed and soon return to my computer. Online, I type in, "Tumblr France." I stare at the enchanting pictures of the Eiffel Tower in France. I have always dreamed of going to France, and I told Mom one day I wished I could travel to the Eiffel Tower. Dad had been quick to say, "It's very large in France, very touristy." I told him I still wished to go but he ignored me. I always dreamed of watching the bright lights turn on under the Parisian sky. I could almost taste the fresh air, I could almost feel my hands in a big, comfortable snow jacket. I could almost feel the wind whistling in my ears and the snug earmuffs around my ears. I always connected France with winter, and I could always sense the cold. I always imagined a perfect family get together in France, with a happy girl and happy parents. I was snapped out of my day dream when the phone rang. It was Fatima, she was ready to talk again.

As we walked down the bustling streets, Fatima wouldn't stop talking. She kept going on and on about how cool it was to be able to dye my hair. "Ask your Mom," I told her. "Uh, are you kidding? Mom, letting me dye my hair? That's like asking her for a million dollars!" Fatima replied, laughing. We walked into the salon and were greeted by three women. They quickly seated us, but Fatima was quick to alert them that I was the only one getting my hair done. I heard one woman ask, "Is only your friend getting her hair done?" Fatima had smiled and replied, "Yeah, but actually she's my cousin." She turned and rolled her eyes at me. Everyone always asked Fatima that. Everyone always thought we were just friends, not related. "Every time," She teased, pushing my shoulder. "I know," I replied, looking at her. I watched as her almond eyes shifted around the salon. I looked at my own oval eyes. We were total opposites in appearance, but not in heart. As the woman applied the red dye to my hair, I caught one quick glance at myself in the mirror. Why was I dying my hair red again? Just like I had always loved the Eiffel Tower, I had always loved red hair. I always somehow knew I'd look and feel nice with red hair. I kept my eyes closed tight the entire time the dye was applied. Finally, when I opened my eyes, I was shocked. I loved every ounce of my new hair. It fit me right, and I felt more comfortable again. "I love it!" I heard my cousin exclaim. "I do too!" I cried, thanking the woman who did my hair. She smiled and told me I was beautiful. I shyly thanked her again as we left the salon. "I just love it!" Fatima kept repeating every few minutes. We couldn't stop touching and looking at my new hair. When we reached the small apartment that I lived in, Fatima with me. "I'll come say hi," She announced as we walked up the stairs. I fumbled with my key before opening the door at last. Mom and Dad hadn't heard me come in. I couldn't find them so I walked around the house. Finally, I found them sitting at the dining room table. Mom was rubbing her eyes and Dad was shifting through papers. They both jumped when we greeted them. Mom quickly rubbed her eyes again and smiled. "Hi, Fatima," She smiled, giving two kisses. I could tell her greeting wasn't sincere. Mom always played with Fatima's hair, and today she didn't. Dad halfheartedly greeted us too. "Like my hair?" I asked as I grabbed a ball of it. "Oh, yes!" Mom cried. Dad's eyes now widened, as if he forgot I was going to dye it. "Ah, Nova, it looks wonderful," He smiled. They went back and sat under the papers again. Fatima and I trudged up the stairs awkwardly. As we reached my room, I couldn't help but wonder why Mom was crying. I could tell she had been, her eyes weren't naturally puffy. Fatima must have been reading my mind because she asked the same question. I shrugged my shoulders and we began obsessing about my new hair again.

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