Barbara snuggled beneath the bearskin blanket as snow fell in giant flakes outside the picture window. She breathed on the glass, drew a doodle in the mist, and watched it disappear. The evening grew darker and the flakes came with a fury she had not seen in many years. She glanced at the calendar: if her calculations were correct, a new year was dawning on Earth. She touched a spot on the window and a screen appeared. When the red light stopped blinking, she began:
It’s been 450 years there. Hard to believe that in space-time, I’ve only been gone 16 years. I think I look the same but you’re …
She stopped as the tears fell freely. She’d been the only one selected from her family and friends to go. It was a combination of heath, stamina, and fitness for the journey the officials said. Before she could think on it too deeply, the screen beeped.
She wiped her tears and looked up to see a smiling face. ‘Hello, darling,’ she answered. ‘Hold on one moment!’ She dashed to the kitchen and returned with a tall glass of chocolate milk with a straw.
The little girl on the screen held up a similar glass. ‘I thought you might have forgotten.’
‘How could I forget our New Year’s tradition?’ Barbara and the child smiled and blew milk bubbles together to celebrate the dawn of another year. Together.
I’ve been on a break from work. Sort of.
My primary gig took a pause as of the 22nd of December and won’t get going again until the 5th of January. This gave me a chance to let my arm rest as I’d had a repetitive motion injury. I spend all day on the computer and add that to the repeated motion of going to the gym and well, yeah. Ouch. I spent a good bit of time on my loveseat under a fleece throw as I caught up on a number of television series episodes and movies. I still did my other usual stuff like house chores though — one day, I posted a ‘guess what I was drinking whilst washing dishes and I’ll write you into a story’ comment on social media. My friend and colleague, Dr. Barbara Randolph, guessed hot chocolate with a candy cane in it, which was closest to a glass of chocolate milk with a straw in it.
And there you have it!