Once a Year
It was a bright and sunny afternoon when twelve year-old Christy Cooper looked down at her watch for the seventh time in the past five minutes. She bounced around the airport, bumping into people without realising it as she was far too excited to realise, let alone notice, a thing.
She carefully searched around the airport with her eagle eyes. The airport’s wall, which was an extremely pale shade of white, was covered with large oil paintings from famous artists. There were millions of little, circular floor lights that, despite their size, shone as bright as stars on the marbled, ceramic floor.
“Do you see them Christy?” her father asked her. “Because I do.”
This immediately got her attention. “Where?!” she exclaimed loudly.
Her father lifted her up and placed her onto his shoulders as if she was a toddler once again. As soon as she spotted them, she screamed at the top of her lungs.
“CHRIS! MUM! OVER HERE!”
It didn’t take long for Christy’s mum and twin brother to spot her, and when they did, they rushed over to them. Everyone greeted each other with big, warm hugs.
“How was the flight, mum?” Christy questioned her mother, who had just landed from New York.
“It was fine darling, a bit of delay, but fine,” her mother replied.
The twins’ parents, Luke and Joanne, agreed on a divorce three years ago, when Christy and Chris were only nine years-old. Ever since then, they have been travelling once a year to stay with each other for two days. As expected, they didn’t like it at all because they always stuck together and were never apart for more than a day or two, but they were still very grateful.
The four walked towards the car and Luke quickly drove in the direction of the hotel they were staying at. They checked in, walked towards their room, entered it, and collapsed into their beds. The hotel room they rented had four beds, so everyone got their own space. There was a big window at the side wall with rich, red curtains covering it. The walls were painted a sandy colour that complemented the rich red items all around the room.
Everyone unpacked their bags and got ready to take a nice, long and relaxing nap. They changed into their pyjamas, took off their slippers and hopped into bed. Not long after, their nap was cut short by the non-stop ringing doorbell.
“My goodness, we may be slow but why is that person constantly ringing the doorbell?” Joanne muttered to herself as she put her dressing gown on over her pyjamas and unlocked the door.
“I’m sorry miss, but do you happen to be Mrs. Cooper?” The man asked her apologetically.
“Ms. Cooper,” she corrected, “and may I ask why you had to ring that doorbell constantly?”
The man explained that he was very sorry and that he was the hotel’s general manager. He wanted to drop off some towels because the room service person forgot to put some towels in the bathroom.
“Well that’s all right but if you don’t mind, I’m going to go back inside my room. Have a good day, sir.” she explained, finally ending the conversation. Joanne shut the door and headed back to the room, where no one was in the mood to continue their nap.
“Tea, mum?” Chris offered her.
“Yes please, darling and make sure to use sugar instead of that horrible, chemical-filled sweetener, which claims that they are better than sugar when they are, in fact, not!” she said strictly.
With the help of Christy, Chris made his extremely over-protective mum, who they both still loved even though she could be a little bit fussy, some tea, making sure not to add any sweetener in it. He handed the clear, glass cup to her and made himself a mug of warm and relaxing tea.
They sipped it gently, being careful not to burn their tongue and fell deep into a conversation.
“How is school in New York, Chris? Is it different compared to here in the United Kingdom?” Dad asked Chris, who can be a very talkative child, curiously.
He replied, “Yes, it’s very different because… well… everything is different there compared to here. For instance, let’s say, hmm… ooh I know! Spellings. It’s massively different. They spell colour without the letter U!” Chris replied quite excitedly.
As they talked, they got ready to go downstairs and eat lunch at the hotel’s restaurant. The twins were given a menu, which was packed with lots and lots of delicious food options that made them take ten whole minutes to decide and another five whole minutes on top of that because they’d changed their minds.
In the end, they both ordered a huge sandwich, which they decided wound be best to cut in half due to the size of it, and a glass of fresh mango nectar juice each. When the meals arrived, everyone got extremely excited as they were all starving. They gobbled up their food and in no time, the plates were no longer carrying mouth-watering sandwiches, but were now holding crumbs of eaten sandwiches.
After the delicious meal, the once-was family went for a nice long stroll at the park, which was right next to the hotel, and even had a sprinting race. They went up the hill and made out shapes the clouds were forming. Joanne spotted a baby and said it looked just like Christy when she was a baby. Luke spotted a dinosaur with lots of spikes on its back, Chris spotted a potato-shaped cloud and Christy just laughed at all the silly comments they were saying.
They headed back to the hotel and by the time they reached there, it was already quarter to eight. Mum decided that everyone should take a shower and then it was bedtime for everyone. The twins whined loudly and begged her for permission to sleep late but when she said if they did not stop whining, they wouldn’t go anywhere the next day that was enough to make them quiet.
Everybody took a nice, long shower and then it was lights out. The two were far too excited to sleep so, in a whisper, they chatted all night long.
The next morning, the twins were exhausted because they stayed up all night chatting about their lives in the United Kingdom and New York City and how different they were when compared to each other.
Today, Chris and mum were leaving in the evening at six O’clock sharp so they agreed on having a quick breakfast, then going to the summer carnival. Everyone had a different choice of fruit for breakfast, and had a proper ‘English breakfast’. Delicious baked beans with scrambled eggs and hash browns, served with brown bread and little tubs of butter.
They made their way to the summer carnival and Chris and Christy were allowed to spend one hundred pounds altogether. They rushed to the games section of the carnival and explored the wide variety of games and prizes.
First, they went to try and throw three balls to knock a tower of tin cans. With the second ball, they knocked the whole tower and got to pick a prize. Since Chris won, he got to choose the prize however, instead of choosing a prize for himself, he decided to select one for Christy. He got her a green and yellow caterpillar pillow and Christy burst with delight.
They continued playing carnival games until they had a total of seven different prizes. Then, the two headed to the rides section and rode a bunch of rollercoasters and rides including; a baby roller coaster, a rollercoaster that had a loop, a ride that flipped 360 degrees, the fastest rollercoaster on earth, bumper cars, the falling tower, and lots more!
The twins were giggling in enjoyment and wanted it to last forever, so they went to the photo booth and took lots of silly pictures.
When they had to drop mum and Chris off at the airport, they shed gallons of tears because they wouldn’t get to see each other until next year.
“Please can we stay just a day longer?” Chris begged in tears.
“Please?” added Christy.
No matter how hard they begged, the answer was still no. Luke and Joanna even had to drag them to the car because they wouldn’t budge from their positions. For the whole car ride, they sobbed and hugged and with all that drama, they didn’t realise their parents were in a deep discussion.
When they arrived in the airport, just before Mum and Chris left to their gate, their parents said they has something to tell them.
“We have come to a conclusion,” Mum announced. “Since you really do love each other, and wish to be together, we have decided that instead of once a year, you’ll be seeing each other for twice a year.”
The twins smiled in delight and gave Mum and Dad big hugs and kisses.
“And,” Dad added, “Instead of two days every visit, we are going to extend it to five days each visit.”
This made the children cry tears of joy because that meant that they would be able to spend more time together as a family. All of their sadness evaporated into thin air, never to be seen again.
Dad and Christy waved goodbye to Chris and Mum while sipping on their hot chocolate. They watched them as they put their luggage on a trolley and ran towards their gate because their flight was boarding in fifteen minutes.
Dad and Christy laughed as they left the airport.
“In six months, that’ll be us running for our flight!” Dad said teasingly.
“In six months… Just six months away!” Christy daydreamed.
Now, they get to see each other double the amount as the last three or so years. I guess you could say that this story ended happily indeed…