The Masons’ house was finally settled after the 6 days of chaos of moving two grown adults, three children and a dog over 2,000 miles from their home in southern Indiana to the vast city of Seattle.
Cassie had only ever been to this city once when she was five years old. Her only memory of this place was looking down from the top of the Space Needle and getting sick.
Now, at the age of 16, Cassie is supposed to call this place home.
This will never be home, she thinks to herself as she looks out of her bedroom window, sitting on her brand-new bed with crisp sheets that still smells like the store they came from. It was mid-afternoon, but you wouldn’t know it by the darkness of the sky as torrential rain came pouring from above.
Everything was so different, from the way the air moved around her to the way the streets were paved. Even the sky was different here.
Cassie takes out her 50mm camera she’d gotten for her birthday a few months ago and takes a shot of the rain splattering against the glass. She was running out of film.
“Cassidy?” There was a knock at her door. It was her mother standing in the doorway. She leans against the door-frame. “The boys and I are going for lunch. Do you want to come?”
“What about Dad?” Cassie asks.
“Now that we’re settled it’s right to work with him.” Cassie’s mom gives a light chortle then clears her throat. “There’s a lovely diner down the road we kept passing on our trips to the grocery, I figured it’d be nice for us to go and finally meet the locals.” Cassie’s mother, Tanya, has a rich voice, a voice that’s good at persuasion. It’s why she’s a realtor and she wasn’t above using her god-given talents on her own children. “Maybe we can even find an antiques shop while we’re out, I’ve heard big cities like this are hot spots for vintage finds.” Tanya bounces her eyebrows.
Cassie rolls her eyes, because it definitely peaks her interest.
“Okay, fine, I’ll come,” she says in a reluctant tone. Tanya beams at her.
“Alright I’ll meet you outside in the car, don’t forget your umbrella.”
Cassie was alone once more in her room. She grabs a red jacket from her closet and hooks the strap of her camera around her neck. She looks at herself in the mirror, her green eyes staring back at her. She fixes the stray curls that fell out of the ponytail she fashioned earlier this morning and pinches her freckled cheeks to bring some life into her face. She hates to look sad.
Soon she’s pulling on her Chucks and heading out the door.
The rain pelts her umbrella and she beelines for the shelter of her mom’s car, her ankles splashed with each step. Jason, her older brother, has already taken the front seat so she has to sit in the back with her younger brother, Adam.
Adam silently traces his finger on the window, he hasn’t spoken much since they moved. Cassie wasn’t sure who was more vocal about the move, but it seems both of her brothers have been giving their parents the silent treatment. Jason sits in the front seat, head against the glass, eyes closed, with his headphones shoved in his ears.
“Everyone ready to go?” Their mom asks.
No one responds.
“Alright…,” she drawls. “I’ll take that as a yes.” She pulls the car out of the driveway and they’re off. The radio plays low on some local station, playing top 40 hits. Cassie tunes it out and just watches out of the window. A few times she brings her camera up to take a picture, but she never presses the shutter.
The diner their mom brought them to is as quaint as she described. It was mostly older people and a couple other families sprinkled about. It was warm inside and the low-light gave it an extra air of coziness. A hostess, a teenage girl about Cassie’s age directs them to a booth.
“Are you guys from out of town,” she asks as she sets the menus in front of them.
Tanya smiles at her. “Yup, we just moved here from Indiana.”
“Oh wow, that’s pretty far,” says the waitress. “Well I hope you guys like it here in the rainy city. Can I start you off with drinks?”
“I’ll just take water,” says Cassie. Cassie turns her head and stares out the window of the diner watching the patrons with their colorful umbrellas walk along the wet pavement. The young, bubbly waitress reminded her that coming next week she’ll be starting at a brand new school with brand new people and thrust into a new environment she has no idea how to navigate. When her parents took her and her older brother to the building to get registered her stomach dropped, the same way it did when she looked down from the Space Needle. It was so much bigger than her school back home and there seemed to be about a million students.
She continues to stare out the window, a feeling of dread bubbling in her chest when a little girl in a purple raincoat and matching rain boots comes splashing in a big puddle near the sidewalk. Cassie could almost hear her joyous laughter through the thick glass.
“Alright, here’s your drinks,” says the waitress as she sets down each cup, pulling Cassie’s attention away from outside. “Are you all set to order or do you need more time?”
“We’re ready,” Tanya says with that same bright smile. It’s the smile she uses for waitstaff and shop clerks, the smile a mom gives to let others know she’s one of the good customers. She’s even made a few clients that way.
Cassie’s mother and brothers take turns telling the young waitress their orders while Cassie’s attention floats back to the little girl splashing in the puddle. Her smile was so bright as heavy sheets of rain came pouring down. Cassie felt the corners of her mouth twitch in an almost smile. She wishes she could be that happy.
“And for you?” the waitress asks, but Cassie didn’t really hear her.
" Cass!” Adam elbows his sister in the side to get her attention.
“Ow! Brat,” Cassie retorts, holding her side. She goes to retaliate but is stopped by her mother.
“Now, Cassidy, tell the nice girl what you’d like to eat.” Tanya was giving her that face.
Cassie looks at the menu for the first time, it’s all typical diner food. Her eyes caught the words “blueberry pancakes” and told the waitress that’s what she wants.
“No problem, we’ll have your food out in no time.” The blonde collects their menus and walks off with a smile, her ponytail bouncing behind her.
“She seems sweet, I wonder if she goes to your new school,” Tanya says. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”
“Yeah, sure,” Cassie says. She notices Jason putting his headphones back in and Adam tracing the condensation on his glass.
“C’mon, guys cheer up, be excited,” Cassie’s mom tries. “A fresh new start, all these opportunities to make new friends, I’m telling you, in a few months you guys are gonna love it here.”
Cassie just nods and goes back to staring out the window. The Little girl is gone.
After lunch, as promised, Tanya takes them to the antique store. It appears dull, but Cassie can already tell it’s full of hidden gems. From the outside it looks like a bland building with an old-timey scrawl on the front display window. The rain had lightened up a bit but it was still too dark to see the shop in its full glory.
Cassie loved antique shops ever since she was a little girl, visiting her first one with her dad. They’d been on a hunt for an anniversary gift for Cassie’s mother in the city of Indianapolis, it was the biggest city Cassie had been to at the time. It had been a bright, summer afternoon and the twinkling of chimes alerted Cassie of the shop’s presence. It was like something out of a picture book with funky text on the sign above the little shop door. The building was painted a bright orange, contrasting against the mundane brick-and-mortars in the area.
“Daddy, let’s go in there!” Young Cassie couldn’t contain her excitement, tugging on her father’s arm in the direction of that crazy orange building.
As she walks through the one in rainy Seattle nothing particularly catches her eye, but it’s the first time she’s felt peace since the big move. She walks aimlessly through the building, taking in that unique smell of old wood and dusty shelves. She picks up a leather-bound book and flips the worn pages before setting back in its place. Cassie strolls past the pottery sets and an old couch, drowning in the faint strum of a guitar playing on a radio somewhere in the building. Her fingers twitch to take a snapshot of the dolls in a far off corner, but she wants to save her film.
The sound of the guitar becomes louder as she walks towards the back of the shop, where the things that are too valuable are kept in glass cases. She turns the corner and what she thought was coming from the radio is actually coming from a man– no, a boy sitting on a stool, with a guitar in his lap.
He strums one final chord and when he looks up their eyes lock.
In an instant the world around them came to a startling stop. Blue meets green; a vast clear ocean meeting a bright, sunny landscape. Time didn’t exist on this plane. A deep intense feeling settles in the pit of Cassie’s gut. It’s a welcomed feeling.
“Hi,” he says. “I’m Tyler.”