Sophia

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FREEDOM

SOPHIA, FREEDOM

Bridge vomited twice on the flight – she doesn’t like flying at the best of times and we had the worst turbulence. It doesn’t help that the plane is nothing more than a flying soup can with a propeller on the front – literally. It is small, has a few seats anchored to the walls of the plane and the rest of the space is used for cargo – first class it isn’t. This is not the regular plane the lodge’s guests use but rather the supply plane that comes on a regular schedule as opposed to when there are bookings – this was as assured of a departure date as we can get in the north, you’re always still reliant on cooperative weather.

By the time we make it to Saskatoon, my poor sister is as white as a ghost and tells me she’s feeling awful. Our hired vehicle is waiting – one of the few indulgences our parents were able to afford and the driver helps us load everything we brought with us, which is a lot. It takes several minutes to unload the plane and reload the large van and then Bridge and I get into the cab with the driver. Neither of us has a driver’s license – there are no roads where we live but it’s something we plan to change while we’re here. For now it’ll be public transit whenever we need to get anywhere and thankfully, the house we’ll be renting at is close to the school. With our grades, everything school-related was covered so Mom and Dad just had to cover rent and food which means Bridge and I will be looking for part-time jobs as soon as possible – with three more mouths to feed, our folks don’t have much extra cash laying around. Our parents already provided us with the amazing education that got us this far – the least we can do is wait tables and help out.

The house we’re renting rooms in has five other people also renting and going to school, but we know nothing more beyond that. We haven’t even seen the place – only Dad has on one of his rare trips south, insisting on scoping it out before giving his Dad Approval. I know he isn’t thrilled with the house being co-ed but trusts us to do the right thing, and if not the right thing – the smart thing.

I can’t help but notice there’s a pharmacy just down the street.

The van drops us off at our new home – an old-looking Victorian with three floors of windows in need of a wash. We can see our new school about half a block away so that’s fantastic but looking at the pile of boxes now needing to be dragged into the house, I’m feeling not so fantastic. We give each other a look like ‘there’s no time like the present’ and each grab a box before making our way to the door. Bridget knocks tentatively and in seconds the door is opened by a good-looking guy with dark hair and brown eyes.

“Hi! You must be our new roommates! Come on in!” He says, stepping aside to let us in. “Holy shit – I must be drunker than I thought because I’m seeing double,” he jokes before taking another swallow of his beer. I roll my eyes at the joke I’ve heard a hundred times before while Bridget giggles and shyly smiles. Ok – apparently Bridge likes this one so mental note – hands off.

“I’m Logan and this is Kimmy and Kenny,” he says thumb in the direction of two people intertwined together on a couch. “We also have Bea and Jason but they’re probably in class,” he adds with a shrug. Bridge struggles to balance the box she’s holding into one arm so she can hold her hand out to shake it.

“I’m Bridget and this is my sister, Sophia,” she introduces us, shaking Logan’s hand while looking at no one else but him. I nod and say a general hello to everyone who greet me back. I shuffle the box I’m holding, which is rapidly growing heavy.

“Let me show you to your rooms while the guys grab your shit,” Kimmy says as she disentangles herself from Kenny on the couch. Bridget starts to protest but Logan quickly reassures her with excessive bravado that it is nothing for him and Kenny and they’re happy to do it. Kenny looks less thrilled but heads outside with Logan all the same. Bridge and I follow Kimmy up the stairs to the second floor, where we pass several doors before reaching a second set of stairs. Kimmy turns to us.

“Four of us are on this floor, Jason is downstairs on the main and you get to share the two bedrooms and bath on the third,” she informs us as she points up the stairs. Hearing the guys trudging up the stairs already, Bridget and I start up to the third floor and quickly each pick a bedroom – they’re identical, one on either side of the stairs with the bathroom at the top in between the two. The rooms each feature funky angled ceilings with large, likely drafty windows but the rooms are also have beautiful oak baseboards and trim.

It’s perfect.

Having my sister across the hall only makes it better.

We’ll share the communal space with everyone responsible for their own groceries and a seventh of the bills. Everyone is a student at the same school but in different programs so will be coming and going at all hours so there are no parties unless everyone agrees otherwise the place is generally quiet, allowing for studying. Bridget is immediately onboard with everything Kimmy tells us but my first thought is ‘when does the fun begin?’.

My gut instinct is to grab the next bus and ride it to wherever it takes me and see what I discover but if Mom and Dad were to find out, I’d be on the next plane home. As much as I want to enjoy this taste of freedom, I need to do it wisely – the minute I lose control I’ll be out of here. Bridget loves me and is loyal to me but she won’t hesitate to rat me out if I’m fucking up in school, or otherwise not doing well.

I’d hate myself, but I’d be the same way.

Bridget is taking a Veterinarian course whereas I’ll be going for Accounting, so at least we’ll be in different classes and varying schedules. I love my sister – more than my own life but now that I’m here – now that I’m so close, I have to taste it.

I have to reach out for it.

I have to grab for it.

Freedom.

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