Part I - December 19, 2007
Outside, the scenery rushed by as the car flew along the dusty, mostly empty highway. Nadia brushed her hair back and watched a flock of birds in the sky overhead.
What would it be like, she wondered, to be a bird?
Fly where the wind guided, listen to every whim that came to her. Lighter than air, floating through life with a song on her lips.
In the back seat, her mother was snoring softly, heavily sedated for the move. For the first time in a while, Nadia could see a faint glimmer of beauty in her peacefully sleeping face. It had been a while since her mother had slept so soundly.
Next to her, Aidan glanced up into the rearview mirror, following her gaze.
"She's out cold," he noted.
"Yeah," Nadia agreed, "took some pills before we left. Good thing, too. She was scared out of her mind doing this."
"Well, it's a long way from home."
"It's only to Kansas."
"Yeah," he snorted, "from Arizona."
"It's for the best," Nadia frowned.
Aidan grew solemn, a wordless consonance between them. The car continued on its lonely trek. Quietly, Nadia looked over her brother: he was the younger twin, although he didn't look like it anymore. He'd shot up over the summer; now he stood an entire head above her. His face had lost it's roundness, too. It had grown more angular compared to her own rounded features.
"It was nice of her boss to offer her this promotion."
"Yeah," Nadia agreed automatically.
If she were being honest with herself, she hated the idea of leaving her hometown. She had finally grown confident enough in her sophomore year to make friends at school, and now she was leaving them behind.
"Hey," Aidan glanced over at her with a wry smile, "cheer up, would you? It's a long enough drive without you sulking."
"Shut up." She aimed a punch at his shoulder.
moment of silence.
"You're not the only one hurting." He said quietly. "We're all leaving something behind."
Without thinking, Nadia glanced back at their mother, still snoozing away. Some things are better left behind, she thought. Her stomach turned sickeningly. She was being a brat. After everything their mother endured for their sake, she could do this. Kansas wouldn't be that bad.
should get some sleep, too," he said, "I know you were up
packing last night."
"It wasn't that late," she protested, biting her lip to fight back a yawn.
"Yeah, yeah," he smirked, "of course it wasn't. Just humor me."
Nadia hmph'ed and turned onto her side, curling her legs under her. Her head rested neatly on the shoulder of her seat, and for a moment, she allowed herself to relax. This move would be good for them. It would be a chance to start over. As she felt herself surrendering to sleep, she wondered vaguely when her little brother had grown up.