It was cold in Chismet like it always was. The same permeating, dull, chill that was always a twinge uncomfortable, yet never noteworthy. Cold yet somehow mediocre. Perfectly Chismet.
Kiwi sighed as they rested on the bench in the square like they always did at 10 am on weekdays. They watched the people go to the same places they always did at 10 am on weekdays. They glanced at the clocks as it turned 10:01 am on a weekday. Ever since they finished school, their morning routine was a lot simpler, and a lot duller. At least that had involved constant stimulus. And learning. And social interaction.
But it was becoming winter again, the first winter since their graduation from high school, and they still had nothing to do. Except sit and watch as the clock ticked onto 10:03 am on a weekday.
The cold was dull as always.
They thrust their hand into the thin blanket of snow covering the designated snow area all around the bench. The aching chill that followed was almost exhilarating compared to the air all around. It hurt rather fast, but at least it was different.
They removed their hand. It hurt too much
They got up and went home. It wasn’t time yet. They didn’t care. They wanted to go home.
When they entered their house, they found their mother sitting in a chair at the table, reading, like she always does at this time, of course. Once she noticed them, she looked up, a little startled.
“Oh! Whatever is wrong, my boy? You’re a bit off schedule this morning!” She chirped, lightly closing the book and scurrying over to their position by the door, chuckling a little to herself as if she’d said something funny.
Kiwi looked away as she patted their face before attempting a quiet “Mom, please… I told you I’m not really a… a boy, okay?” before sighing.
She had already begun moving back to her seat as she waved her hand dismissively and saying “Oh yes of course, terribly sorry. Slips my mind all the time, it does.”
Kiwi settled in the other chair across from hers and twiddled their thumbs together silently in response. They knew she meant well, really, but it had been over a year since they’d told her. It was getting disheartening, a little.
“So what’s got you down? Where’s that winning smile of yours!” She cooed, glancing at him over her thick glasses. “Come on, my lovely, you know it breaks my heart to see you without.”
They swallowed their frustrations and smiled lightly at their mother. She loved them and they loved her, after all, and that was wonderful. They shouldn’t feel bad for no real reason! “Of course, mom.”
Their mother went back to reading her book and silence settled into the room. They knew they weren’t being ignored, but it really felt like it right now. Funny how that happens. Haha. They cleared their throat a small bit and questioned: “What’s your book about?”
“Doo hoo hoo! And I thought you weren’t interested in my dusty old literature, my boy!” They cringed inwardly as she continued, “It’s just a simple collection of wive’s tales really. Nothing worth your while.” After a moment of waiting, she said nothing else. Just like that, the room resumed its stasis, save for the flipping of a page.
Kiwi slipped out of their seat and began to climb up the stairs to sit on their bed when suddenly out of their mouth, with no prompting, came “What would you think if I wanted to move out?”
Their mother seemed to freeze for a good couple of seconds before turning to look at them and reply, “Wherever did that question come from?”
They floundered in shock for a moment at their own admission before spluttering out “I mean, I don’t really, I don’t know but I just thought…” They waved their arms around a tad as they attempted to rationalize something they hadn’t even realized they wanted.
“Oh dear, it’s all right really. I know the feeling. Some house in the square catch your eye, hm? Or maybe somewhere in the northern half of Chismet?” She inquired.
“No. I mean moving like… away. Somewhere else. There are villages near the city that I read about, before, maybe?” The more they thought about it, the more they liked it. How lively those little places must be! The idea was exciting and it brought a much more genuine smile to their face.
“Well… I suppose if that’s what you want, lovely, we could make it work.” Their mother responded, a slightly worried look on her face. And maybe even a little hurt. But once she finished speaking, she seemed to pull her face together into a motherly cheer yet again.
“Uh, yes! Yeah, I really would.” They took a few steps downstairs as they added, in a hopeful tone, “Do you want to help me look into some?”
“Of course, dear. I’m sure we could find someplace you’d love.” She set the book down, getting up from her chair and approached Kiwi once more. “If you do go… I will miss that lovely voice of yours.”
She gently hugged them, and they reciprocated. “Thank you. I’ll miss you too.”