Shauna stands at the window. She looks out and waits. The valley is quiet and still, laying under four inches of firm snow following the sky’s toddler-like outburst the previous day. Shauna moves to the door and stands expectantly at the threshold. This, of course is normal; after all, today is Christmas Eve and every holiday since Meg was born the trio have turned their quaint home in the valley into a winter wonderland. But ten years ago was a very different time and it’s long gone now. Ten years ago was before war ravaged the sweet valley.
Shauna calls Lauren to her side. Meg is now too big for such things, but Lauren is still young and small, quite frightened of what she does not know. She buried her face in the folds of Shauna’s skirt and clenches tight with both fists. Her mother strokes her hair and sings to her, a gentle voice that floats through the room ever so faintly. Meg is reading a book in the opposite corner, still quite angry at her mother for denying her the right to utilize her younger sister’s head when she needed a battering ram. She reads a mystery novel to help her plot her revenge and lets Shauna think she’s just stewing over her frustration and disappointment.
Shauna ends her song with a sigh that prompts both girls to look up; they all miss their golden days dearly but now they must accept that the whole world is white and enjoy it while they still can. Having finished the chapter and encountering words in the next one she does not recognize, Meg joins the remains of her family at the door and looks out. She sees only white and wonders if she will go blind from looking at the sparkle. It occurs to her as well that perhaps if she locks some snow in an old locket she will effectively have built herself a diamond necklace. She decides to try it out but does not move. Even when she’s angry, she is comforted by the vanilla and peony aromas decorating her mother’s skin. So the girls cling to Shauna’s legs and the three of them wait but don’t speak. Meg remembers with bitter clarity what it was like just a year ago, wishing against all hope that it could be that way again.
Lauren has no idea what they’re waiting for, just that she’ll stand quietly so long as her mother and sister do. She wants desperately to be like them and knows no other desire yet. Eventually Meg sees that Shauna has closed her eyes as she hums a melody she hasn’t heard in months. Her fingers softly tap, reminiscing of their days playing piano for adoring crowds with red roses just for her. Before the golden days, but still a happier time than this.
Already Meg is annoyed; by now, she has begun to enjoy quiet moments and she can feel with just those words that this bliss where the world stopped turning so they could look out at the snow in the valley is over. Lauren doesn’t have any qualms about making the world start turning again. But, Meg soon thinks, maybe it won’t be such a bad thing.
“Will you sing for me?”
“Of course, darling.” The sweetness drips from her lips and slides like syrup over the snow, spinning through the valley and coming home to the little family like a faithful old dog. “Je ne regrette rien…”
Meg joins in now, stretching the syllables like salt water taffy just as Shauna learned to when she was a girl. “Je ne regrette rien.”
Je ne regrette rien…