A Work In Progress
by Andrew Hall

Kristin Verma paced about about as slow as one could. This was her favorite time of day, in her favorite season of the year. During the spring and summer seasons, the hours between 4:00 PM and 3:00 AM were nothing short of wonderful, as that was, in her opinion, the only real word to describe it. The air was a blissful mix of warm and ever-so-slight cool. Things were best without even a slight breeze, though. The sun would set around 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM, while still emitting a beatiful collage of reds, yellows, and blues. The temperature drop was barely noticeable, staying comfortably warm into the earliest possible hours of the AM. Kristin always wondered what "AM" and "PM" stood for. She always considered 6:00 AM to be her own official start of the next day anyways, irregardless of the fact that she tended to wake up between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM. What do "AM" and "PM" stand for, anyways?

Irraburm, Alberta was a part of Canada, meaning constant warm weather for more than a week was a nigh-impossibility. There would always be wind or colder temperatures to ruin Kristen's fun, even if it meant just watching the sun set while outside. The only weather variation Kristen really appreciated was warm rain, without wind, of course. Kristen felt proud having never caught a cold from being in the rain for extended periods of time. Warm rain walks were best when Kristen was feeling down. Otherwise, Mother Nature could take her cold rain, wind, and, above all, winter, and shove it up her extended forcast. This being Canada, of course, there was always winter. LOTS of winter, it seemed. Kristen had always felt it was her fault winter would trail so far into the new year. When she was 5 years old, there was no snow and very little cold for months. On Boxing Day Morning, also known as her birthday, she ran outside, joyfully yelling out, "I wish it'll be like this for forever!", in broken children's dialect. What she didn't realize at such a young age was that the mythical rule of "Never make a wish out loud" was very true, and very binding. A week after her birthday, it began to snow. And snow. And snow. For 5 days it snowed, a day for each of Kristen's years on earth. Winter froze its way straight through 'til May. MAY. Ever since, winters would start with 4 months of freezing coldness with occasional snow, and then another 4 months of even harsher cold and massive amounts of snow. For most of Kristen's younger years, she fretted that Maurice, the family dog who was lucky enough to get to sleep outside, was forever bitter towards Kristen for bringing on such bitter conditions. Kristen grew out of this paranoia, although for a while, she thought she could feel his coal-black eyes cursing her as he tried to shake layers of frost from his shaggy exterior.

Kristen gently leaned her face into the translucent thread screen in her window, feeling the coolness it had collected from the smallest breeze present that Wednesday afternoon. It was 5:24 PM, meaning the sun was in the process of trading workshifts with the moon on another part of the planet. She hummed her custom harmonization to the sounds of funk-metal band 311's laid back stargazing-track, "Confusing Use Of Time". Kristen didn't feel confused in her use of time when it came to stuff like staring out her window. It was her answer to getting high.

Kristen had never felt pressure to do anything like smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or partake in any drugs; not even the pasttime of smoking marijuana that so many kids naively saw as "harmless", if you "only do it a few times a week". Kristen's mother was killed by a drunk driver when Kristen was 12, but Kristen was too young to feel anguish towards alcohol's contribution to the "accident". She was, of course, mad at the surviving drunk driver (who was from the United States, she'd heard from the news on television). Around the time Kristen turned 16, she had learned more about groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who sought to teach others of the dangers of driving while intoxicated. There wasn't a division of Students Against Drunk Driving in her community, so she didn't have other teens to talk to. She, instead, read M.A.D.D. pamphlets in the school councelor's office waiting room.

Three months before Kristen turned 17, her father was involved in a barroom brawl while she was babysitting for one of her neighbors. Her father had apparently caused alot of damage, including breaking the arms and ribs of three other bar patrons who had insulted Kristen's mother, his wife. He was quite drunk, and nearly killed the head antagonizer. He admitted that alcohol was no excuse for what he had done to the men, or "rig-pigs" as he called them (meaning they all worked on local oil rigs), and had since forgiven them, as they too were intoxicated, and didn't know his wife was deceased. He had his doubts as to whether they had since forgiven him or not.

(to be continued...or should I? Let me know :) )

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