So here it begins, the first step of our 31 day journey. I’ll take a quick moment here to thank the talented Lyndsay for my ridiculously over the top New Years manicure (It was all blood, sand, sparkles and skulls – just what I always wanted!) and the first topic of my writing challenge; Pink Clouds. I hope you all enjoy this!
The Brilliant Mourn. J R Manawa.
Dawn burst through the remaining pieces of night in lasers of red and gold, exploding finally into a haze of brilliant pink clouds on the last day of the year. It was a sign, or so Emmeline believed. She had waited for the transformation of dawn on the 31st of December every year since her 10th birthday, and in eleven different dawns she had never seen the sun break through the night in this way before.
But pink clouds could not change this dawn tradition that had been repeated eleven times over eleven years, and Emmeline’s eyes stung as she tried to hold back the hot salt tears that were boiling within them. They flowed over her lashes and rolled down her cheeks, misshapen diamonds that caught in her dimples and the curve of her lips.
On the 31st there was always a dawn, there was always Emmeline, and there were always tears that sparkled like diamonds in the aftermath.
She wiped her eyes brusquely with her sleeve and climbed down from the window sill. Tomorrow would be her 21st birthday, but today was just another day. She trudged back to her bed and extracted a pair of black trousers and an only slightly dirty polo shirt that had the words “ICE CREAM QUEEN” emblazoned in bright yellow across the back from the pile on the floor. She shook the creases out of it, and snatched a towel from the hook behind her door before she headed for the shower.
“Nice day out for ice cream,” her grandfather said with a chuckle as she came down the stairs later, make up sort of done, hair mostly dried, and generally ready for another day of work.
Emmeline smiled, but said nothing. It was still too early for talking in her opinion.
He grunted and flicked from the weather channel to the latest episode of Eastenders, as she walked into the kitchen to find something to eat.
She looked out the kitchen window at the miserable grey winter day that had developed, and she had to agree with him. Ice cream in the middle of an English winter was only something that could tickle a tourist’s fancy.
“The dawn was pink,” she said to her grandfather when she returned to the living room with a bowl of coco pops and hot milk. She sat down on the couch across from him and began shovelling it down.
Emmeline’s grandfather was in his late seventies. Not ridiculously old, but not particularly healthy either. Diabetes and smoking had gotten the better of him over the most recent decades of his life, though he had given up the later once Emmeline came to live with him. He coughed twice, adjusted himself in the lazy boy, and turned to look at her, “Red sky at night, shepherds delight, red sky in the morning, shepherds warning,” he intoned with Shakespearian eloquence, and a mysterious furrow of his brows.
Emmeline put down her bowl and gave him a ‘look’. “I said the clouds were pink,” she corrected him.
He shrugged, “Any chance of a tea before you leave?”
She balanced the coco pops in one hand and gave him a kiss on the forehead as she headed back to the kitchen, “Only for you,” she muttered.
By the time she left the house, the weather had truly turned. She knew no one was coming to the park for ice cream today, that much seemed for certain. It even seemed unlikely that anyone would feel much like going out to see the fireworks for New Years. But a job was a job, and fireworks were a tradition, so Emmeline would be doing both before she turned twenty-one at the stroke of midnight.
She slammed the gate behind her against the wind as she headed out to work, the secret of the pink clouds at dawn and her lonely tears left to hide for another day.