Cozy Corner pt 1

Published by emmashanahan in the blog emmashanahan's blog. Views: 30

“Dad and I are going to get the paper. Do you want any magazines or candy?” Without looking up at my mom, I shake my head. Normally I would jump up and grab every magazine on the rack, and my favorite milk chocolate M and Ms, but now, ever since two Sundays ago, my cell phone is permanently glued to my hand. The moment my mom walks away, the new part of my hand buzzes.
I miss you already
I feel my checks turn red and look around to see if anyone notices this. Nothing.
Six months is too long
I write back imagining the morning sun against his face as he goes about his morning duty of dropping his little sister off at school. That’s what he was doing when I met him. My aunt Lea was taking my cousin Joey to school and he wanted me to bring him in. We walked in and I saw Conor. Apparently Joey and his sister are friends so she came running over to us and he followed. He offered to take my to get some coffee since it was after all eight in the morning. We sipped and talked and pretty soon we were inseparable. What hurt the most was telling him that I live in Paris, a nine-hour difference.
“Charlotte,” I hear my dad say. “I got you these anyway. Thought you might want them for the flight.” He drops a bag of M and Ms on my lap.
“Thanks,” I say, finally looking at my parents.
“Who are you texting? Nassima? Aurelie? Clara?” my mom says, naming a few of my friends back in Paris.
“No, Mom, just a friend from here,” I say, putting my phone in my pocket.
“I know you’re not thrilled to go back, but it wont be so long until the summer and then you can come back here if you want.”
“Not soon enough,” I say under my breath.

Attention passengers for flight 196 to Newark airport. The flight is now delayed due to weather conditions in New York. We will continue to update you on the status.

The car screeches to a stop right by the side of jet blue curbside check in.
“See, told you we would make it,” my mom says. “Jenna, you mind to go check in for us while I got park the car?” I let myself out, grab the two immensely heavy bags and attempt to pulls them towards the check-in. Here we go again, always rushing at the last possible moment. My mom always says it’s the New Yorkers in us, but I just think we are both really bad with time management. I still don’t know why we couldn’t allow Julia to drive us here. “She opened her house to us, I don’t want her to have to do any more for us,” my mom said last night. But now that we let her sleep in, she still has to come to the airport later today and return the care. Whatever.
“Are these the only bags you’re checking?” I hear behind me.
“Yeah, and checking in for a flight to Newark.”
“Jenna and Kristen Parker.”
“I can’t check Kristen in without her and her ID.”
“Please, our flight is in forty minutes. She just went to park the car.”
“I’m sorry. Rules are rules.” I roll my eyes and begin to check myself in.
Twenty minutes later, my mom comes running from the parking lot, holding her passport out.
“Sorry, sorry. I had to park the car and there weren’t any spaces.”
“Mom,” I say, slightly irritated. “We have to go.”
“I know,” she says and hands her passport over.
Of course, with out timing, security takes forever. For several minutes, the line doesn’t move an inch. Finally, a security guard comes up to us asking if we had a flight leaving in the next hour. The moment she sees our boarding time, she rushes us to the front of the line. The moment we pass security, we run to the gate. There are two available seats right near the gate. We sit down and await the announcement to start boarding.

Attention passengers for flight 196 to Newark airport. The flight is now delayed due to weather conditions in New York. We will continue to update you on the status.

I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself again. I love New York, but last semester’s homesickness really made my view of it as negative. The increasingly cold weather did not help either. This break made my fear of homesickness even worse. I was greeted at home with the usual warm love. My bedroom was all clean with fresh sheets and my acceptance letter to Columbia University hangs on my wall. The night I got home, my mom had made my favorite meal of lamb chops and we had watched the movie that we always used to watch before I went away to my month long sleep away camp: The Parent Trap. The entire break I was my moms little helper. We decorated our Christmas tree, went shopping for the families Christmas presents, and every night, after my little sister Maya went to sleep, we would cozy up by the tree and drink hot coco.
“Sweetie, don’t forget your new bag,” my mom says, handing me the Coach bag she had gotten me for Christmas. “You want to be fashionable in New York now don’t you.” I smile and force my tears back. I know I am strong enough to do this, but right now, as we are standing in the airport, a degree from Columbia University doesn’t seem as important as my family.
“Mom,” I begin. “I don’t think… I don’t want…”
“Savannah, everything is going to be fine. Maya and I will visit you soon and don’t forget about our Wednesday night skype sessions, right?” I nod and realize my face is already stained with my lava hot tears.
“Savannah, don’t cry,” Maya says. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” I give them a quick hug and make my legs race away before I am able to convince myself to stay.
When I arrive at my gate, I look around to see who I’m going to be on a plane with for the next five hours. There are mostly adults. I spot two girls around my age with their family, but no one to really become friendly with. I am alone.
Attention passengers for flight 196 to Newark airport. The flight is now delayed due to weather conditions in New York. We will continue to update you on the status.

Flight is delayed
Within seconds he writes back.
I hope it gets cancelled : )
I feel my cheeks begin to redden once again. How is it that he makes me feel so alive? I glance around the terminal to see if there are any shops that I could spend any time in. Hudson news, McDonalds, California Pizza Kitchen, the same old thing. Then, out of the corner of my eyes, I notice a couple of men pulling away gates, revealing what looks like another lounge.
“Ill be right back,” I say and walk away before my parents can say anything. “What’s this?” I ask one of the men.
“The new lounge.” I look at this little space placed in a corner of the airport. There are colorful couches, a big screen TV and a huge window that allows me to look out and see all the activity on the runway. I take a seat on the dark blue couch and close my eyes.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I hear, quickly open my eyes and get on my feet. “I thought this place was empty.”
“Oh, no, but it can be.”
“Nonsense, at least you’re not my mom.” I smile unsure of what to say. “I’m Jenna by the way.”

“You know what we forgot to do?” My mom asks. “We forgot to get presents for my friends at work.”
“Yeah Mom, I think that’s something you forgot to do. I don’t know your work friends.”
“Don’t be silly Jenna, you know Lucy and Carmen.”
“Oh right, I forgot about that dinner that we had five years ago where I was barely aware of anything since I was so drugged up on flu medicine,” I say sarcastically.
“Well, they love you.” I smile and nod. There’s no point in trying to get my mom to understand. “Come and see if we can find something for them here.”
“Okay, I have nothing better to do.” We make our way through the terminal when I see this cozy corner come out of nowhere. It looks empty and rather peaceful. “I’m going to go over there. Come get me when you’re done.”
“You don’t want to shop with me?”
“I’m tired Mom. I’m going to go close my eyes for a bit.” I make my way over to find this small isolated space. Just as I am about to sit down and finally let myself relax, I see someone on the dark blue couch, eyes closed.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I say. She jumps up as if she had been caught doing something wrong. “I thought this place was empty.”
“Oh, no, but it can be.”
“Nonsense, at least you’re not my mom. I’m Jenna,” I say, sitting down on the maroon couch.
“Charlotte.” I look out at the crowded terminal and take a breath. I am so not ready to go back to everything in New York.
“I think we have someone else joining us,” I say, eyeing a girl walking towards us. She comes into the cozy corner, smiles and takes a seat near the window. All she does is position her coat as a pillow under her head and stare out the window.
“Are you okay?” I ask. She turns to look at me with her red, watery eyes.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Well, I’m Jenna and this is Charlotte. What’s your name?”

“It’s delayed,” I say to my mom over the phone. “Yes, I’m sure. No, I’m sure it’s going to be going soon, they just said stuff about the weather. Yeah, don’t worry, I’ll call you if there is a cancelation. I love you too.” I close my phone and secretly pray to myself that the flight gets cancelled so that I have one more night with my mom and Maya. I walk back over to my seat to find some old woman sitting in it.
“Oh sweetie, is this your seat? I couldn’t find another one and assumed this bag was this other young woman’s. Would you like me to move?” I sigh, smile at her and say, “No, you stay right where you are.” She smiles back at me. I grab my bag and walk away looking for another seat. I see a girl around my age walk over to this cozy corner that seems to be empty. Maybe I can get some quiet time there.
There are two girls sitting on the couches, talking. I smile at them and make my way over to a couch near the window and settle down staring at the home I will soon be leaving once again. I can feel my eyes well up. I pray I can control them enough to not fall down my cheeks.
“Are you okay?” I hear one of the girls ask. I turn around.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Well, I’m Jenna and this is Charlotte. What’s your name?”
“It’s nice to meet you. What brings you to this cozy corner today?” Jenna seems to be one of those girls at my high school who is completely extroverted, but really nice. I was always the introverted one unless surrounded by close friends.
“Oh well, I’m going back to school.”
“Yeah same. Where do you go?”
“Columbia University.”
“Wow, that’s impressive,” she says, turning to look at Charlotte who nods.
“What about you?”
“Well then you’re not doing too bad yourself,” I say, letting out a smile. “Where do you go Charlotte?”
“I’m actually not studying in New York. I live in Paris.” Jenna and I both turn to look at her in amazement.
“Did you grow up there?” She nods. Jenna turns to look at me.
“Before we discuss more, I’m assuming you grew up in New York like me,” I shake my head.
“Here in California.”

Whenever I tell people in the States that I live in Paris, they always have an ‘excitement attack’ as my mom calls it. She told me the same thing would happen to her when her mom would take her to the States. When I told Conor, he asked me to say a couple things in French and told me he had always wanted to go there. I didn’t mind. I wanted to impress him anyway.
“Yep, born and raised in Paris,” I say.
“That’s incredible,” Jenna says. “I mean New York is one thing, but Paris. I loved it when I went there. So peaceful.”
“It might be peaceful to go there for a couple weeks, but living there is just like everywhere else. Problems are created.”
“Well, New York and Paris are both very different from here. I’m sure you both took subways to school right? My mom drove me until I was able to get my drivers license. That for me was freedom.”
“Well my school was in my neighborhood, but I would take the subway other places,” Charlotte says. “Some families would drive if they lived a little outside Paris, but in it, like in New York, parking is a nightmare.”
“Ugh, I know, my mom never wanted to get a car. She says it’s too crazy and you only end up paying more for parking than actually using the car. Whenever we wanted to go somewhere outside the city my mom would rent a car,” Jenna says.
“Yeah, and most of my time is spent in school anyway so, there’s really no point.”
“What is it like being in school there? I hear the French are very strict with their academics,” Savannah says. I laugh.
“Well, it’s just school. Pretty similar I think except for the timing. Depending on our schedule we can start the day at 8:15 or 10 and finish at 3 or 5:30. Lunch is from 12 to 1:15.”
“Wow,” Savannah says. “That’s a long lunch period. We only have forty-five minutes.”
“Well, it allows students to go home and eat with their families.”
“Oh cool, our school wont allow us off campus until you are a junior,” Savannah says.
“We can go out as long as we have a signed permission slip from our parents. We usually just wander around the neighborhood and get food from the local delis,” Jenna says. “But, wow, if I lived in Paris I would be so fat from eating all those chocolate croissants. What do you call them?”
“Pain au chocolat. Bread with chocolate,” I say. They both say it out loud and laugh when they can’t get their accent to be like mine.
“You must love it there,” Jenna says.
“I do,” I say. “It’s my home, but I really love it here too.” I watch as Savannah slowly turns back to the window. “Is this your first time away from home?” I ask. She turns towards me, head up. Then, within seconds, she breaks down and lets her tears fall from her proud eyes.
“No, but I really do miss everything here when I’m in New York.”
“Your home will always be here. You shouldn’t forget that. Whenever I’m missing Paris when I’m here or anywhere else, I always remember that my home is there, waiting for me when I need it.” Savannah smiles and wipes away the oncoming tears. My phone vibrates.
Any news? Do you get to stay here for another night?
I hold up my phone. “Case and point. I recently met this guy, Conor, and now I get to fly all the way back to the amazing Paris without him. Oh, and I wont be able to see him for another six months.”
“I’m sorry,” Savannah says.
“No, it’s okay. It was probably just a holiday fling anyway.” I quickly write ‘No new,’ back and put my phone in my pocket. “No use trying to hold onto something that probably wouldn’t last anyway, right?”
“You never know what is or isn’t going to last,” Jenna says. Savannah nods. “Don’t let that boy go without a fight, okay?” I laugh.
“Even if we are in different countries?” I ask.
“Even if you were on different planets.”

“What brings you to California all the way from Paris?” I ask Charlotte, after she texted Conor back telling him her plan for them to skype every week.
“My dad’s family lives out here, so we came to see them for Christmas,” she says, bringing her hair back into a ponytail. “What about you? Vacation?”
“I guess you can say that. My mom is thinking about moving out here, so we came to check out our options. It’s just so difficult with my mom because she is constantly going back and forth between ideas. But, at the end of the day, as long as she’s happy I’m happy. Or so I like to think.”
“That’s exactly what I feel,” Savannah says. She is sitting up now, her jacket-pillow on the floor. Dry eyes. “I am so happy whenever I’m with my mom and get so sad when I’m not, but I just keep telling myself that if she’s happy and content then I can be too.” I look at Savannah as she speaks. She is definitely what you would call a mommy’s girl. Her face is stripped of any make-up and her blonde hair is nicely pulled back in hairpins. Her small pink lips scream shy, and yet, through all of this natural shyness, you can see someone very strong. I on the other hand have to be strong since my mom is the one in our family who is all over the place in terms of decisions.
“But then again,” I start. “One has to be able to rely on themselves for happiness too.” Savannah sinks back into the couch. Was that too much? One of my best friends from high school had trouble moving on but finally got going. I guess it just takes different amounts of time for different people. “At least we know that our parents will be there to listen to us when there are problems, right?” I say. Savannah smiles.
“Yeah, it’s always nice to know they are there.” There’s a pause while Savannah gathers herself. “What about you Jenna? What was it like growing up in New York City? I’ve only been there for one semester but it still terrifies me. Everything is so complicated.” She laughs.
“New York is the ugliest, but sweetest, person,” I say. I giggle when I get confused looks from both Charlotte and Savannah. “I mean, it seems so scary from an outsiders perspective. I guess it’s because of all the horror stories, but in reality, New York is pretty chill. There’s so much to do.”
“I’m always afraid I’m going to catch someone stealing something from my bag on the subway,” Savannah says. “Especially when I’m traveling alone. I can’t image being a child surrounded by all of that chaos.”
“You get used to it,” Charlotte says. “I mean, I didn’t grow up in New York, but Paris craziness is similar. The only real difference is that you hear cursing in French rather than English.” We all laugh at this. Although the cozy corner is rather small, the couches are separated from each other. I get up and walk over to sit next to Savannah, then pat the side of the couch next to me.
“Come join us Charlotte.” She takes a seat next to me. I turn to Savannah. “What was it like growing up in San Diego where it’s sunny all the time?” Savannah giggles, settling into the couch and begins.

“Well, like New York there are some parts of the story that have holes in it. It’s not always sunny, but when it is, it’s amazing. My family has this huge backyard with a swimming pool, so my sister and I spend a lot of time out there. My mom would come home from work and barbeque something right near the pool and we would have dinner in our bathing suits.”
“And your dad?” Jenna asks. I knew this was going to come up. I usually don’t like to talk about it with people I just met, but Jenna is so open and doesn’t seem like someone who would over react.
“He left when my sister was born. Guess he didn’t feel like handling two kids.”
“I’m so sorry,” Charlotte and Jenna both say. I laugh.
“No, it’s fine. My mom is super mom. I wouldn’t want it any other way.” I pause for a moment after saying this. I seem to always say that when someone shows sympathy for what happened to us. Would I want it another way? I mean, it would have been nice if my dad didn’t think we were a handful and decided to stay, but then again, my mom and I might not have gotten as close. It became an all girls house and we loved it.
“So you know how to drive?” Charlotte asks. I nod. “Wow, that’s cool. I want to learn but my parents are too busy to teach me. Plus, like I said before, we don’t have a car for them to teach me on.”
“Well, getting my license was my freedom finally reigning in. Before, I would have to wait for my mom to have some free time to drive me places. But most of the time it was fine if she wasn’t free because we had a horse ranch right by our house. I would ride my bike over and take lessons a lot.”
“That sounds so peaceful,” Jenna says. “The only way I can see a horse is if I go on a carriage ride near Central Park. But there it’s expensive, and I don’t even get to touch the horses.”
“Yeah. I had a favorite one that I used to ride all the time. Her name was Stella and every time I would go over to visit her, I would bring several apples and would clean her. She loved when I brushed her and then she and I would go out together and just take in the sunshine.” She sighs. “But this is all after I finished my homework and did my jobs around the house.”
“So,” Jenna says. “Why did you decide to go to New York for school?” This question has been circling around in my head ever since I sent in the confirmation check to Columbia University. I had visited the school with my mom and it felt like a place where I would succeed, but the moment I sent in that check, everything seemed to change. I began to look at my home as something that was not permanent since I would be leaving soon. Then, when I got to school, all I wanted was be back at home in San Diego with my family.
“To be honest, I’m not sure. But I think it’s done me some good. You know the whole independence thing. But it’s really hard for me,” I say getting teary-eyed again.
“Don’t worry,” Jenna says. “I can keep an eye on you in New York.” I smile at her.
“And so can I,” Charlotte says. “I am there for a week before going to Paris.” We all pull out our phones and pass them around.

Attention passengers for flight 196 to Newark. Due to severe weather conditions in New York, this flight is cancelled.

Sighs fill the terminal as everyone collects their belongings and tries to figure out what to do until they can get a new flight.
“Well, I guess I better call my mom and have her come pick me up,” I say. They smile.
“Now you get your extra few nights with your family,” Jenna says. “But, please text me when you get to New York and I can show you around.” I nod.
“Text me too. We can all meet up before I leave,” Charlotte says.
“Charlotte, viens,” her mom calls. She waves at us and walks away.
“Jenna, sweetie, can you believe that is happening?” I hear behind us. We turn around to see Jenna’s mom walking over to us holding two shopping bags. “Now we have to get the car and go back to Julia’s house. Ugh, what a mess.” Jenna sighs.
“Mom, this is Savannah,” she says. Her mom smiles at me and reaches out her hand.
“Good to meet you.”
“Well, I have to go, text me,” Jenna says, and walks away with her mom still talking.
I take my phone out and scroll down to find my mom’s name. One more night.
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