Sadie spent the day in a haze. She barely made it through class and once it ended, she collapsed onto her bed with hopes of falling asleep and dreaming about the kind boy that she had met. Instead, five minutes later, her dad marched in while taking a break from working at home to wake her ranting about how she would just make herself stay up later that evening.
Sadie's response was to nod and pretend to listen only to turn over and fall surprisingly easily back asleep as soon as he shut the door.
She woke up around 2:00 that afternoon after dreaming of two children on the playground that she had just visited. A boy and a girl were walking and talking. They were small but smiling all the while as they balanced on the wood planks that surrounded the rock-filled play area. He looked familiar, but she couldn't place his face.
She would've thought more about it but her father burst into the room once again asking her if she had eaten anything. Sadie sat up groggy and tired. She ambled downstairs and made a lazy egg and bacon grilled sandwich.
As she ate, she gave herself a headache thinking about the homework she could easily complete right now but didn't want to. So, being the productive and responsible eighteen-year-old she was, she walked straight past her textbooks on the kitchen table, grabbed her headphones, and walked right out the door.
Sadie walked past the middle school and across the nearby track. She listened to wistful music as she walked towards a sort of overlook that was at the top of a hill past said track. She sat down on a rock and watched the cars drive by down the small valley behind the hill.
Whatever was keeping her awake was going to kill her. Well, that's what she thought anyway. Sadie had no idea how long she had been sitting there until Blackbird by The Beatles came on in her headphones. So that's what I was thinking of this morning.
She began to hum along and she closed her eyes once again letting the tranquility of the afternoon wash over her. So much so that she didn't hear someone sit on the rock next to her. Which is why she jumped yet again when that someone spoke up next to her.
"So do you just always fall asleep in public, or is it just a seasonal thing?" John said.
Sadie actually fell off her rock. "I can barely fall asleep in general much less in public. I was absorbing the tranquility of the beautiful day we're having."
John laughed and looked at the sky, "It's 17 degrees outside and we have a winter weather advisory that's supposed to last the next few days."
Sadie smiled as she sat back on the rock, "I know. That's why I love it here. Winter means cozy afternoons and reading by the front window over the heating vent while watching the snowfall."
"True, but this doesn't exactly look like your front room in your house." John glanced around the area.
Sadie glanced down, "My house is kind of chaotic right now. My dad works from home and he is not fond of my sleeping problems. So I can't ever really relax while he's around. He likes to find chores for me to do."
"Does your family actually show love in regular ways?" John frowned.
"Um . . . let me see . . . Oh! We always eat dinner together while watching TV on the couch." Sadie said hesitantly.
John shook his head, "Do you guys ever verbalize your feelings?"
"Well, no. Despite the number of women in the house. My mother, sister, and I ended up completely tomboyish. Feelings are too dramatic." Sadie scrunched her nose as if trying to remember something. "I actually don't think I've ever heard my dad say that he loves me, but it goes without saying."
John looked like he wanted to say otherwise but Sadie set her chin in her hands and he closed his mouth.
After a few minutes, he opened it again to ask, "What's your favorite book?"
Sadie sat up once again and gazed at the distant mountains. Their dark blue hue appeared like a tidal wave ready to wash over the city. "No true lover of books ever can choose a favorite."
John rolled his eyes fondly, "Okay then what's your favorite . . . color?"
Sadie pointed at the dark gathering clouds. "Gray."
"What?! Out of the entire rainbow of colors, you chose the most gloomy?"
Sadie looked offended. "Well, it depends on how you look at it. Grey is the color of summer rainstorms that wash away the heat. It can be seen by anyone or anything with eyes. Yes, it does mean everything gets soggy, but it's better than everything being bone dry."
Sadie ended her rant by glancing back at John. She did a double-take. He was looking at her with surprisingly admiring eyes. Sadie glanced to the side, anxious to avoid the attention. "What's yours?"
John shook his head as if shaking out of a daze and said, "Green."
Sadie nodded, "Ah, the color of life."
John laughed, "Nah, more like the color of trees."
"The leaves of trees." Sadie emphasized.
John rolled his eyes and appeared to stay silent. Sadie chose to glance back at the mountains and smiled. "Favorite season?"
John smiled and looked at the sky, "Summer, it gives people the most chances to go outside. I'm guessing you like winter?"
Sadie lazily let her head fall to the side to look at him. "Yes, because it gives people the most chances to spend time with family."
John shrugged. "Yet, your family sounds like a nightmare."
"We act like guys. From what I can tell, guys have really close relationships. What's wrong with that?"
John shrugged again. "I guess nothing." He looked like he was getting cold. "Well, let's get going because your fingers look like they're turning bright red."
Sadie looked at her hands for what seemed like the first time. "Fine. They're not that bad though."
John gave her an extremely skeptical look. Before she knew what he was doing, he grabbed her hand and laughed. "Yeah right. Your hands are ice."
Sadie tugged her hand away and stood up. "Okay then. Watch people's personal space please."
"Wait! I'm sorry, Sadie."
She walked away without another word.
John punched his pillow as he went into his room. He had really wanted to see how cold her hands were so he just . . . reached out and grabbed one. Wes sighed and called himself an idiot out loud. He took out his phone and decided to see if Sadie was anywhere online. Stalker. His mind whispered but he kept going.
First, he tried Facebook. He typed in her name and looked for anyone with her looks on their profile picture. No dice. He tried Instagram next but he was fairly sure that her profile would be private. He sighed.
What on earth would show where he might've known her? John fell back onto his bed to look at his ceiling. He then looked around his room and found himself staring at his bookshelf. Holy Shit! His yearbooks! He pulled the books off of his shelves and began to look through them. Nothing in high school or middle school but when he looked through elementary school, he gasped. There flat on the page was a small girl who resembled her.
The Sadie he had met on the playground had dark blonde hair that peaked out of the beanie. It was short enough to hover just above her shoulders. She had a really willowy body that was thin and lean but she wasn't a walking skeleton.
This little girl on the page had hair that barely reached her chin. Bangs extended halfway down her forehead and she sported a wide buck-toothy grin. She had freckles like Sadie that splashed across her nose and cheeks. Her eyes were the only thing that seemed to stay exactly the same. They sparkled at the camera just like they had at Golden Hour that morning.
John ran his hand over her name. "Sadie Lauderdale," he said to himself, liking the sound of her name. In his mind, John ran over the conversations they'd had that day. In truth, he hadn't been planning on the second conversation. He'd gone back to the place that he'd met her the first time.
After that, he went walking around the neighborhood until he saw her on that rock. Not that he had been planning to find her. That was just an . . . unexpected bonus. She looked tired. Her eyes had bags under them and her cheeks looked hollow. John slumped at the thought of not being able to sleep at night. He pulled his phone back out and searched about Insomnia.
After half an hour of looking for any solutions, he threw his phone across the room. Every single thing she said she had tried was all he could find. The only thing that looked kind of promising was supporting her. Well, just being comforting. From what he could tell, her dad wasn't exactly being supportive. Maybe he could change that.