Short Stories

The Zephyr Christmas Files, Part VII

Read [Part I], [Part II], [Part III], [Part IV], [Part V], and [Part VI].

Part VII. A Farewell to Fear (Finale)

MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 12:09:23 AM
From Jansen to Darby 

How did it go?!

MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 12:12:10 AM
From Darby to Jansen 

[LOREN-MAGS.JPG]

MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 12:13:40 AM
From Jansen to Darby

My life is complete.

E-MAIL SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 3:25:12 AM
From Avery Chan to Darby Chan 

Oh Darby.

I would too. To answer your last question. I would be home in a heartbeat too if things were different.

For some reason our Internet is being rationed to the extreme, so I have only minutes to write, and no way to do justice to this topic.

You are brave, my sister. You are brave to look at these hard things in the face and ask hard questions that I don’t have good answers to. Let’s agree now that we will talk about all of this in person when I come home, even if it’s awkward and difficult. (Pinky promise?)

Would you consider going home for New Years? There’s still a bit of break left if you change your mind. No pressure, but maybe that would help—you, mom and dad. And me, to know you’re there.

Regardless, I love you. And my Internet might cut out any moment but can I just say WHAT ADRIAN HAS A GF? Okay not funny but I can’t wait to hear how Jansen and Mags react to

LETTER FROM THE COURT

Re: Speeding Ticket #F9474

Dear Mr. Suzuki,

Thank you for your letter. We have read and considered your petition, but unfortunately, your request has been denied. The $300 fine will stand, and you must complete the required hours of driving school or receive a mark on your record.

We wish you a restful holiday and a happy new year.

MARGARET’S JOURNAL

Major update 1: I went to dinner with Loren. He was quite the gentleman and it was actually enjoyable and not too awkward until Adrian and Darby scared the lights out of us. We were indignant, but secretly, they made the evening more memorable. Loren looked like a total deer in the headlights.

 Major update 2: Darby is going home for New Years. She’s hitching a ride with Adrian, who incidentally, was already planning to go home for New Years.

 Major update 3: Apparently, Adrian has a girlfriend. Way to keep us in the dark, Darby. Though Jansen’s reaction was pretty great. 

Major update 4: Loren asked me to be his girlfriend.

I said yes.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 9:28:02 AM
From D-Chan to Juki, Mags

Guys. I can’t believe I’m leaving in an hour.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 9:30:21 AM
From Juki to D-Chan, Mags

We’ll miss you. But we are proud of you, Darby.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 9:35:29 AM
From D-Chan to Juki, Mags

JUKI. ACK.
I love you guys.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 9:37:10 AM
From Mags to D-Chan, Juki

We love you!

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 9:40:05 AM
From Juki to Mags, D-Chan

Kids, please don’t get too emotional on me. It makes me uncomfortable.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 9:42:12 AM
From D-Chan to Juki, Mags

Making you uncomfortable is one of life’s great pleasures. Keep me posted on EVERYTHING at Zephyr for the rest of break!

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 9:45:49 AM
From Juki to D-Chan, Mags

Yes ma’am. I’ll just be third-wheeling a lot.

E-MAIL SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 10:13:30 AM
From Darby Chan to Avery Chan 

Thanks sister.

Just writing to say: I’m going home.

Here’s to being brave and loving fiercely in 2016.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 10:03:09 AM
From Adrian to Darby

Ready to go?

MESSAGE SENT ON December 30, 2015 AT 10:05:18 AM
From Darby to Adrian

Let’s hit the road.

Fin.

Thanks for reading, and a wonderful 2016 to you!

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Short Stories

The Zephyr Christmas Files, Part II

Read [Part I].

Part II. How to “Throw” a Love Story

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 11:41:50 AM
From Jansen to Margaret

Okay, forget coffee guy. You MISSED OUT on the slopes this morning.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 11:45:31 AM
From Margaret to Jansen

?!?!????

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 11:48:30 AM
From Margaret to Jansen

JANSEN SUZUKI DON’T LEAVE ME IN SUSPENSE.

E-MAIL SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 2:14:02 PM
From Darby Chan to Avery Chan 

Dear Avery,

I know it hasn’t even been 24 hours since my last email. How convenient that I’m suddenly a needy person when you’re in AFRICA, of all places.

Remember Adrian?

If not, quick recap: The guy from communications class in high school that turned me into a blundering fool and earned me a B when I was actually quite excellent at public speaking.

Okay, I wasn’t.

But anyways, the point is, he was at the ski slopes today. The Zephyr Mountain ski slopes, where I am. (Do you think we’re on the same mailing list somehow, and he got that 50% deal too?) I haven’t seen him in over five years. He’s in medical school now, and volunteering with a physicians’ team here this break.

I’m not sure what the point of this email is. Except to say, what a blast from the past. We just chatted, and Jansen (that good-for-nothing) invited him to dinner with us. It was all extremely, astonishingly normal. I was normal. He was normal. He hasn’t become weird or unattractive or developed terrible doctor handwriting (I made that up, of course I haven’t seen his handwriting).

Don’t read into things, okay. I don’t like him. I’m all Jane Austen. Spinsterhood is the dream.

Darby

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 2:32:05 PM
From Adrian to Jansen 

Good to meet you today. Could you pass along Darby’s #? I don’t have it anymore.

JANSEN SUZUKI SHARED CONTACT [DARBY CHAN] WITH ADRIAN STARK.

MARGARET’S JOURNAL

I remember when I met Darby in the freshman dorms, all bright-eyed and—unbelievably—a bit shy. Three years later, I’m in the middle of the mountains with her and the notorious prankster from our drama class. Darby took drama precisely because she found it uncomfortable, and she likes to push herself. Jansen took it because it’s completely in his element. And I took it because it was the best place to people-watch and get inspired. You find out what people are really made of when they’re eighteen, awkward, and vulnerable on stage.

We became the Harry Potter Trio, or the Three Musketeers, or something. None of the classics have the right gender ratio for us.

I’m not sure what to do with Darby. I don’t expect Jansen to have a heart-to-heart with her, and it’s not because he doesn’t care or isn’t sensitive, but there’s something to be said for sisterhood. (His idea is to “throw” her a love story this Christmas, the way you’d throw someone a birthday party. Say what?) I know she’s not fine, and I wish I had the courage to confront her pain. I wish I could fight to peel away all the protective barriers she has up. I know Darby has Avery, but she’s in Africa, and I can’t help but think that’s her way of escaping too. 

Five months to graduation. Darby is really the most “together” one out of us, since she already has a job locked in as a mechanical engineer. She can build robots and machines, but doesn’t know how to fix a broken heart.

JANSEN’S RECIPE FOR A LOVE STORY, V1.0

  1. Boy
  2. Girl
  3. Christmas and mistletoe?

NOTICE: ZEPHYR MOUNTAIN CABIN RESIDENTS

The annual Christmas Eve dinner and dance will begin at 6:00 PM tonight. Dress is semi-formal. We have a delightful evening planned, so come hungry!

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 4:10:07 PM
From Margaret to Darby

Did you bring a dress?

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 4:12:15 PM
From Darby to Margaret

The prettiest thing I brought was my pink umbrella.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 4:13:27 PM
From Margaret to Darby 

At least I know I won’t be the only one sticking out like a sore thumb.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 4:15:12 PM
From Darby to Margaret 

Let’s go all out and wear trash bags.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 4:16:37 PM
From Margaret to Darby

Hey so did you meet anyone cute on the slopes today?

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 4:17:50 PM
From Darby to Margaret

…I’m going to put Jansen in a trash bag.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 4:45:30 PM
From Adrian to Darby 

See you tonight! This is Adrian. Excited to meet your college crew. My buddy Loren is joining us too.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 4:58:53 PM
From D-Chan to Juki, Mags

JANSEN you better watch your back tonight.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 11:34:39 PM
From Adrian to Darby 

Girl you’ve got a mean aim.

NOTICE: ZEPHYR MOUNTAIN CABIN RESIDENTS

All parties participating in the so-called “dessert war” assume full responsibility for the cleanup and damage costs. Further failure to comply with appropriate cabin behavior will result in expulsion from the lodge.

(As a small addendum, some participants should also enlighten themselves in regards to the definition of “semi-formal dress.”)

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Short Stories

The Zephyr Christmas Files

Dear faithful readers, occasional stalkers, and you with the wrong link to another site:

I’ve posted very sporadically in recent months due to grad school consuming most my time and energy. Since I have a brief break, I’ve been inspired by various sources (the holidays, the weather, real life + fiction, etc.) to write a wintry tale in epistolary form for fun. I’ll post installments here on a hopefully-close-to-daily basis through the New Year. I’m really just flying by the seat of my pants (no plot outline, no particular ending in mind, no profound Point), but I hope it’ll bring you some laughter and cheer if you choose to follow along. If not, I’ll simply amuse myself.

Zephyr1

Part I. Driving Tickets and Baristas

E-MAIL SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 12:03:44 AM
From Darby Chan to Avery Chan

Dear Avery,

It’s midnight, and I’m writing this beside some half-waxed, dying candlelight. I think I’ve found the eighteenth century. Curse your magnanimous spirit for spending winter break in a third world country with no wireless or data plan. I’m warning you, if I send more than three of these with no response, I’ll stop writing and start planning your funeral. Curse Jansen’s driving too. We were supposed to arrive hours ago if we weren’t pulled over on the way. $300 for going 15 mph over the limit. Margaret feels bad, so she promised to write a letter for him to contest it.

I told him he could work the resort coffee counter to scrape the cash together.

In other news—there is none. It’s freezing. If the heater ever goes out in this place, you’ll need to come haul my frozen carcass away. I wish we had picked Jamaica or somewhere tropical. It’s these unwavering, immigrant genetics we have that simply won’t allow me to pass up a good deal. I’m beginning to understand why this place offered us half price.

But I can’t complain (aloud, at least, so expect to get the brunt of it). I dragged M and J into this. I guess I can try skiing again?

I miss you. Sorry about this poor excuse for a first email. It’s late and this keyboard is starting to feel like a giant ice cube. I want to say something worthwhile, knowing you’ll only get to check in once in awhile. I’ll try to improve.

Please don’t die.

Darby

P.S. It’s not really terrible here. The current guy at the coffee counter isn’t bad looking. I’ll send you a picture sometime if I get a chance.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 7:13:22 AM
From Juki to D-Chan, Mags

Christmas Eve, kids!!! Hope you have your presents for me ready.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 7:20:45 AM
From D-Chan to Juki, Mags 

Coughed up your $300 yet?

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 7:21:13 AM
From Juki to D-Chan, Mags

 Remind me why I’m on vacation with you.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 7:21:57 AM
From D-Chan to Juki, Mags 

No one else wants you.
I’m going to breakfast. Meet you guys there.

ZEPHYR MOUNTAIN CABIN BREAKFAST MENU

Zephyr’s Black Diamond Breakfast
Two sausages, three eggs, and stack of buttermilk pancakes

Zephyr’s Blue Square Breakfast
Two eggs, chocolate chip or strawberry jam waffles

 Zephyr’s Bunny Slope Breakfast
Fruit and granola 

EMAIL SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 7:43:52 AM
From Darby Chan to Avery Chan 

[COFFEE_GUY.JPEG]

Sent from iPhone

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 8:05:12 AM
From Jansen to Margaret 

Overslept? Darby’s got a crush. Commence: Operation Love Story?

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 8:20:19 AM
From Mags to D-Chan, Juki

 Guys. This is an inhuman hour to be up during break.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 8:20:40 AM
From Margaret to Jansen 

Let me guess, the coffee guy. And no. Darby + men = Bad Things Happen.

E-MAIL SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 8:25:31 AM
From Margaret Lewis to Jen Lewis 

Hey Mom – Texts and calls can’t seem to get past the mountain range. But we’ve made it. We’ll probably go skiing, I’ll try to fit some writing in, and Darby and Jansen will probably want to pull a few crazy stunts (read: fun, adventurous, but decidedly not life-threatening).

It’s a nice, cozy cabin for a sweet deal Darby found. Sorry again to miss Christmas this year. But she adamantly refused to go home, and we couldn’t let her head into the mountains alone. Darby hasn’t said much about it still, and I’m not sure how to bring it up. Should I wait for her to say something?

People confuse the heck out of me.

Love to Dad, Laurie, and Grinchkins.

Margaret

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 8:29:21 AM
From Juki to Mags, D-Chan 

…I’m a man.

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 8:29:53 AM
From D-Chan to Juki, Mags 

???
What else have you been keeping from us?

GROUP MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 8:30:19 AM
From Juki to Mags, D-Chan

Wrong thread.

MESSAGE SENT ON December 24, 2015 AT 8:31:20 AM
From Margaret to Jansen

 Typical.

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