Oddly Prismatic Shards
Chapter 1: Decisions
"Alright, I've gotta go. Dew's already started packing, so I'm gonna make sure supper doesn't burn while she's preoccupied." The stressed voice of my daughter crackled through the phone as she shifted, "I'll talk to you guys later to relay the details as soon as I know them. Love you."
"We love you too, honey. We'll always be here for you."
I could hear Star's smile as a little laugh spilled from her lips, barely caught by the phone before the call cut off as she hung up. Loud beeps signaled the fact that we were no longer connected to our daughter's voice and after a moment of stillness, my wife reached over slowly and placed the phone back on it's receiver.
"What in the world are they thinking, Jack?" Her voice trembled slightly as a small hand reached up to rub her temple in an effort to ease her worry, but as the crease on her brow grew, I could only imagine that it didn't help as much as she wished it did.
It seemed like a worrisome situation, after all.
Star had never been the one to make such an important decision without thinking it all the way through. While the details she had given us over the phone were few and far between, she seemed resolute in her choice – as she did with everything. While my oldest daughter did tend to get hung up on the smaller issues, her final decisions would usually be more sound than Dew's. The problem with Star's slow approach was that on the off-chance she made a poor judgement, it was harder for her to get herself back on track – she'd slowly analyze her new situation, passing up many opportunities to change it in favour of finding the right one.
Dew, my youngest daughter, made decisions at a rapid-fire pace compared to Star. Normally, this resulted in a lot of errors and misguided intentions when she realized that her decision didn't lead her to where she thought it would. Not to say her quick decision-making was solely a bad trait – Dew was also able to move on a lot faster from her poorer choices to better ones. The former always told Dew what she needed to know about making better ones, and she hardly hesitated in pursuing a different route when she found one available.
While the two might not agree on everything one another did, but I never worried about the two when they were together. Star helped Dew consider all her options instead of leaping at the first one, and Dew helped Star see the benefits in the options she had now rather than the ones she would have later. While news of their decision was completely unexpected, I certainly didn’t think it was a mistake.
"...I think they needed a change, Claire." My words were slow, trying to make sense of all the thoughts that raced through my mind.
If their decision wasn't a mistake, what was it? What caused it to come out of the blue like that?
Were they that unhappy at Joja? Did their lives in the city need such a radical change that they felt like they needed to throw away everything that they had in Zuzu just for the chance of something different? Somewhere different – far away from the buzz of the city life that I had once pursued.
Something... like Pa's old farm?
The memories I haven't thought of in a long time resurfaced at the image of Star and Dew taking over Snowdrop Farm. I was a lot smaller, then. I remembered how Pa used to wrap his large hands around mine and lead me through the fields of wheat he sowed, and tended, himself. The warm hand at my back as he eased me onto ol' Blue, the friendliest horse that Pa had ever had in his barn. The flutter of both fear and excitement in the pit of my stomach as I directed Blue into a trot.
I remembered R.R., who I built a treehouse in the mountains with. I usually just supervised and brought the snacks, but the majority of the scrapes we got trying to push our way through the trees north of the farm belonged to me. It had taken months before R.R. and I came up with the smart idea to trim down some of the branches and create our own little secret trail...
The memories brought a smile to my face, but soon the smile fell.
I grew up on that farm, and yet, I couldn't remember taking Star and Dew to see it except for when Pa passed away. It had also been the last time I had been there since I dropped out of high school and moved into the city.
"But what if it doesn't work out? What if they can't slip into the country life? The farm life? You've told me several stories of what it was like in your house when the harvest failed or when animals died of disease or-!" She cut herself off, and deflated into the worn cushions of the old couch we were sitting on.
She curled into me and I wrapped my arm around her, squeezing her shoulder gently as she continued, "I just don't want our girls to have to go through that kind of uncertainty – when there's simply nothing you can do..."
It was true. There were a lot of things that could go wrong with running a farm that even experienced farmers might not be able to deal with. Just one drought, one bad storm, one sick animal... it could mean that food or money was tight until the next good harvest. When I was a teenager, I could remember a bad drought that ruined not only one harvest, but two. And before the old man could even get his hands back in the dirt, one of the worst storms I'd ever seen passed by and ripped through most of his savings just to repair all the damaged buildings.
It had been devastating for Pa's farm.
He recovered, with a lot of hard work and a lot of saving whatever money he could make doing odd jobs on the side... But he saved it. With his toughened dirt-caked hands that even now probably dwarfed my own. He worked hard every day, working long nights and enduring many early mornings. But eventually the farm recovered and it did even better than before.
He saved it.
Whatever state the farm was in now, untended for decades, I'm sure my daughters had the strength to see it through the hard times and into the good ones. They would look out for each other, and where one would fall the other would be there to help them up.
Everything was going to be okay, because they were in this together.
"Our girl's will be okay no matter what happens." I smiled down at her as her blue eyes sought out mine at the sound of my voice, "We've raised them to become beautiful young women who can overcome anything they put their minds to. They'll be okay."
I kissed the top of her head, chuckling silently as I did so.
"They'll be okay, because we'll be here for them no matter what happens."
She smiled at that, and the tension that filled her body since the moment we heard Star's apprehensive voice on the phone slowly slipped away.
"Yeah. We will."