Chapter 1: Arstan
“Good Morning, Christy!” her mother greeted, opening the curtains to reveal the morning’s welcoming sunshine. The warmth of the sun fell onto Christy’s cheek, making the sudden awakening as pleasant as her mother thought was possible.
“It’s Saturday,” Christy grunted as she buried her face back into the soft, dark blue pillow. As far as she was concerned, people should never have to wake up at all on the weekend. If they did have to wake up, it would be to eat, and then they should go back to sleep.
“Your father and I have some exciting news for you” her mother continued, ignoring the statement made. “We’re moving to Arstan. Ohio!”
Christy stared at her mother, who was smiling. Christy could see behind the smile. Neither of them wanted to move, and they both knew it.
“When?” was the only word Christy said, not caring if her parents could tell she didn’t want to move. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, since she did only get along with a few people in Chicago. But then again, going from such a large city to one she never knew existed before might be harder than she thought.
“We’re packing today, which is why you need to get up now. We’re going to be leaving at 7:00 tonight, so you can sleep on the way there and we can spend all of Sunday unpacking. Also, because we won’t have to stop for dinner along the way. We’ll eat before we leave.”
Christy looked up and realized that her father had been standing in the doorway the entire time and hadn’t said one word. Then, after a short silence, her mother started to get up and the both turned around and started to leave.
“Wait!” Christy shouted, causing both of her parents to stop and turn around. “Why are we leaving?”
Her mother sighed. ”Both of us found better, higher-paying jobs. Also, we decided it would be better for you if you didn’t grow up in Chicago. You need to be working on your book smarts, not your street smarts. There are so many drug users and there is so much violence, and now that your 16, we don’t want you getting mixed up in that kind of stuff.” As soon as she finished, she turned back around and continued on their way.
Christy looked over at her clock. 10:30. She rolled out of bed and got dressed. She checked her hair in the mirror. Her hair was a beautiful dark brown with a few red highlights. It was completely straight and a medium length. Sometimes Christy was grateful that her hair was straight, especially since it never seemed to get messed up. It always looked the same whether she had spent an hour brushing it, or she hadn’t brushed it for a month. She did her makeup and started to pack, starting with her favorite things and the “important” things.
As she was packing, she began to think about what living in the county would be like. Will my summer’s reek with the smell of animal manure? Will everyone look at me weird because I’m a city girl? Will the girls not even care about their appearance, and all the guys are the same way? What if I never see my friends again? Stacy! I forgot all about her! How will she take this? Will I ever be able to talk to her again? Will “Best Friends Forever” become “Ex-best friends”? What if we both find completely new friends and forget about each other? She realized she never had really seen a small city. She had spent her whole life in Chicago. The rest of her family (with the exception of her parents) lived in small towns outside Chicago, but she had never really met them, besides when she was very little. The last time she had seen any of her family was when she was 3, and it was at her house for her birthday.
It was 4:00 when she finished packing, which meant she only had about 2 1/2 hours before they would eat and then be on their way to Arstan. She stepped outside into the hot and humid air of August 17th. She sat on the swing set she used to play on as a child and remembered just how much she used to enjoy it. She remembered all the friends she would have come over, though she was always older than them, since her birthday was July 12th. Just then she remembered that she needed to call her friend, Stacy. They had been friends since they were 9. She pulled out her cell phone and called Stacy, even though Stacy was on vacation and wasn’t allowed to take her cell phone, because her parent believe a vacation is family time, and cell phones just distract her. Christy could remember almost all of the time she had spent with Stacy. She remembered the time they went to the creek, caught the toads, a brought them home. Both of their parents’ started freaking out and told them to take them back to where they found them. She remembered the time they wanted to finger-paint; which lead to a paint fight, leaving her parents thankful that it was washable. Christy knew she had to tell someone, and Stacy was the only one she wanted to tell, since that was her closest friend. Christy left a voicemail on Stacy’s phone, hoping she wouldn’t get it until at least Monday.
“Hey Stacy, this is Christy, just wanted you to know that I’m moving to some random small town called Arstan. It’s in Ohio. I need you to tell other people, because I really don’t feel like calling anyone other than you. I’ll miss you, and be sure to call me sometimes. Bye.”
After dinner, Christy got into the car and they started their journey to Arstan. Christy watched out the window as the familiar scenery of the large city she called home slowly became the unfamiliar countryside. She watched as they went through Indiana and into Ohio, seeing all sorts of crop and animals. There were a few big cities they went through, but she knew none of them were anything like Chicago. That was the one and only city she could ever call home. No countryside in Ohio was about to change that.
“Where is Arstan, anyways?” Christy asked her parents, as they got about halfway through their journey.
“Midwestern Ohio. I heard it’s lovely during the fall because of all the trees,” answered her mother, slightly changing the subject.
Christy woke to the sight of a medium-sized brick house near all sorts of fields. There were several large trees in the front and she could tell that there had to be several in the back, too. There were flower patches all around the house and bushes of all sorts. There were large windows on the front of the house, and a basketball hoop for when she got bored, even though she wasn’t the sports type. She noticed that her parents had already gotten out of the car and began to unpack their things. She quickly got up, grabbed some of her stuff, and went into the house to see her new room.
“Look who’s finally up! Your room is through that hallway and is the 2nd door on the left. Don’t unpack until we get all of the furniture in, but you can still put your stuff in there, though,” her father greeted.
Christy walked in and the first thing she noticed was the color of the walls. Pink. That’s just absolutely perfect, She thought. I definitely look like a bright pink kind of person, don’t I? Oh well, I’ll get them to let me paint it a better color, like a black with splatter colors. She exited her room and began to take a look at the rest of the house, until she ran into her mother.
“So, do you like your room?” Her mother politely asked, already knowing the answer.
“Yea, but can I paint it? I was thinking of painting it black and splattering a bunch of colors on it.”
“Sure. You might want to take a walk or something to get to know the neighborhood.”
Christy left the house, first looking at their own backyard. There was a small orange shed that looked as if no one had been near it in years. There was a small garden behind it that was completely overrun with weeds. She knew that her mother was going to try to grow something in it, since it was always her dream to have her own garden so she could grow food instead of paying for it.
She continued her walk around the community realizing that all the dogs here were friendly, unlike in Chicago. Those dogs were trained to be vicious and were kept near the doors of peoples’ homes to insure that no one would be breaking in, as if their burglar alarms. Those dogs were mainly gifts from worried relatives who wanted to make sure their daughter would never have to even think about having to call the police once.
She also realized how green everything was. There was grass and trees and flowers everywhere. There were little critters running everywhere, too. Almost everything was made of cement and tar in Chicago. There was actually open space here to run around, instead of being overcrowded by buildings. All the “animals” in Chicago were mostly disease-carrying rodents that scampered around as people would warn their children never to go near them.
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