Snowflakes to Sunsets | Teen Ink

Snowflakes to Sunsets

November 18, 2019
By eliseskeeters05 BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
eliseskeeters05 BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Windy city winters are wicked. The harsh winds pierce the skin of the Riverside Drive school goers as we await for the bus to arrive. The precipitation mixed of snow and ice creates a magical ride. The salt truck spits out crystals that attempt to melt the hazard. My bus driver careful to avoid the ice thinks of spring as the salt morphs holes into the asphalt. The sky is a gloomy grey as the clouds block out the sunlight and children count down the days to Christmas. I count the inches of snow accumulating and in my mind and begin to see visions of sun angels and palm trees.
            Upon arriving home I overhear my parents complaining about their 2 hour commute home in the brutal cold. Their hands rub together as they blow the steam of their day into their palms. It wasn’t until the third puff that my family sparked a new idea. “Why are we living in this frozen tundra?” remarked my mother. The question sat in the minds of my mom, dad and I as the visions of shovels and snow turned into sunsets and palm trees. My family and I are officially moving to Arizona.
            On the cusp of adolescence, I began to prepare my friends. Long goodbyes led to extra sleepovers and selfies to capture the moments in time. Tears filled the eyes of my best friend, Elizabeth, that froze the moment in time on that cold winter day. Would our friendship outlast the distance. Lizzie and I began to prepare our friendship for a drastic and difficult change. 
The transition ahead had my mom struggling the most. She was an only child who had grown up in the area, leaving her entire family, induced thoughts of her being stranded in the desert. Early retirement loomed for my grandmother, so she too could trade in her boots for flip flops. Our house began to fill up with boxes and bubble wrap. The constant sound of tape being torn off and the smell of sharpie and cardboard made the thought of moving sink in more and more every-day.
            My dad carried the excitement for the family with constant words of reassurance. He was all too familiar with leaving his hometown having never looked back after high school graduation. His enthusiasm echoed throughout the walls and overcame his thoughts of relocation anxiety. His positivity filled their hearts as the house filled with boxes. 
 As spring approached the Midwest, we departed for Phoenix. Two semi-trucks stacked to the top replaced the daily UPS Amazon delivery and our journey began. My family flew thru security and the smell of fresh sliced bread and meat brought a sense of nostalgia that only Chicago could comfort. Our hands were full with our fur babies in toe, 2 cats and a dog would comfort us along the way. See you later replaced goodbye as the skyline faded into the clouds.  Visions of concrete skylines quickly descended into Palm Trees. A resting Camel emerged and welcomed them to the mountainous paradise.
            New opportunities bloomed at every moment. I began 6thgrade and met new friends and adventures. New hobbies quickly distracted me and a sense of home overcame past routines. After school hot chocolate became poolside lemonade as the layers of my personality shed light to my true self. I didn’t know how much I needed the fresh air and sunshine until I walked out of the house with the calm breeze hitting my face. The quiet flutter of the palms created a playlist that carried me to the bus stop where I was greeted with new and friendly faces.
            My mom continued to struggle as she searched for the excitement my dad ensued before we left. Reminiscing about the beautiful summer days on Lake Michigan were overwhelmed by the heat radiating off the asphalt as she walked into work. She had no idea that pavement could “cook” and radiate the dry heat. New friends and colleagues brought feelings of Midwestern hospitality and she too began to reveal comfort in her new surroundings. Introductions became conversations in common as everyone she met seemed to have a connection to our hometown. Phoenix was now Chicago-West and I began to see my mom enjoy her new surroundings.
            My dad relished the new environment as Cubs spring training loomed. Thoughts of poppyseed buns and Sloan Park replaced the ivy-covered outfield of the friendly confines. The time of year he dreaded the most, winter, in the desert was now his favorite time of year. I remember the day he received our Spring training season tickets in the mail; he was like a kid in a candy store. Our winters were about to include 16 home games of our beloved Chicago Cubs right in our own backyard.
             I often sat back and wondered what life would be like had we stayed in Illinois. Sorrow turned into satisfaction and sleepovers turned into Southwest flyer miles as Lizzie was a frequent visitor. Our friendship was outlasting the distance. This move defined us all as uniquely as the falling snowflakes that we were so desperate to escape. I can’t seem to forget that blustery day I came home to learn my new fate and how grateful I am today. As the sun set in my mother’s eyes, she tripped over gram’s flip flops, only to be caught in the arms of my dad; I am home. The windy city winters were frozen in my roots forever, carving the perfect sunset for my future.

The author's comments:

This piece is inspired by The Grapes of Wrath, mimicing the type of journey that the Joad family had to embark on. This story is based off of a similar journey my family and I went through when moving to a different state. I used vivid imagery and descriptions in order to help the readers truly visualize what its like moving away from everything you know and have been used to, to starting a completely new life in a new area.

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