Winter was quiet and calm. The wheat fields were now barren, leaving eerie empty space. However, it was made up for by an unusually consistent snowfall. Since we lived by the coast, we rarely got snow, and if we did, it wasn’t cold enough to stick. But it did this year. There was a large basin a few miles outside of town that people gathered to ice skate. I had never gone ice skating before, but Sonic was eager to try, so we decided to go. I had a severe lack of balance that caused me to crawl. Sonic sped circles around me, which was no surprise. He took my hand and led me to the middle of the basin where I was able to glide a few times independently before falling on my rear. He got a good laugh out of it. Curiously enough, I did too, despite being the bud of the joke.
We also built a large snowman outside the house. Sonic, being the time-efficient hedgehog he was, wasted no time rolling up the balls. I was surprised how strong he was when he took the giant spheres and smashed them on top of each other. It seemed I was always learning something new about him. That snowman was packed so tight, that even when the white sheets melted away, he stood firm for weeks, guarding the house.
Soon Spring was coming back, and the theater roared back to life. This year the children would be performing Beauty and the Beast Jr., while the adults would be putting on Pride & Prejudice. I had always wanted a role in that play, as I grew up on that particular Jane Austen story. I wanted to play either as Mrs. Bennett, which the comedic possibilities were endless, or Elizabeth Bennett, whom I could be firm and witty. Of course Sonic encouraged me to audition, which I decided to do. I got Elizabeth.
So now I was balancing painting plates for Beauty & the Beast Jr. and memorizing Elizabeth’s hundreds of lines. Normally this would be a heavy workload, but Sonic fully embraced painting, and time it took to put together sets and props was cut in half. There were still those who questioned who finished them so fast, but they took what they dubbed “miracles,” gratefully. There was one last thing I needed to do.
I waited for Sonic to return from his daily run one evening. I sat nervously on the couch, my fists curled up on my lap. I heard a gush of wind and the front door flew open. There he was, gently closing the door behind him.
“One million, seven thousand, three hundred and twenty-six!” He announced, “Not too shabby!”
My shoulders relaxed a little as I giggled.
“Where did you go this time?” I asked.
“The Grand Canyon,” Sonic replied, “Saved a guy’s smartphone! His face after I put it in his hand was priceless!”
“He didn’t see you, did he?”
“No Luana, he didn’t.”
“Okay, just wanted to make sure!”
Sonic cocked his head.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
I pat my laps and sighed deeply.
“I’ve been thinking about…spring cleaning.”
Sonic raised an eye and sat down next to me.
I was quiet for a moment.
“My Grandpappy accumulated a lot of books and relics in his travels,” I explained, “I was thinking about…donating some of it?”
Sonic was surprised.
“Like, I know Mrs. Fox the Librarian would be thrilled to have some of these. Some of them are pretty old but…She’s very careful. She and other people could really benefit from it; and there’s a museum a couple county’s down that might like some of Grandpappy’s knit-knacks-“
I sighed again.
“I’ve been really afraid to get rid of anything because everything has so many memories and sentimental value attached to it. But…”
“…I think it’s time I make it my home, instead of Grandpappy’s house…”
“You want me to help?”
I slowly nodded.
His smile turned to a grin.
“Of course I’ll help! This is a big step!”
I blushed and turned away.
We started upstairs the next day. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected, initially. All of Grandpappy’s souvenirs from Africa and Asia left my room and the guest room. I kept one tribal mask, one bamboo painting, and a hand-crafted bongo.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t gonna miss those things,” Sonic commented on the masks, “They low-key kinda gave me the creeps!”
I laughed. We left most of his trip photos up on the wall, especially the ones with Gramma. They were more prominent now that the clutter had been taken away. I even decided to get rid of some of the antique furniture. Suddenly the house was getting larger, and grandeur.
The living room was the hardest part. It seemed as though every book I said “no” to, took a piece of my soul with it. However I tried my best to keep the books I read the most, both as a child, and as an adult. Soon, the shelves began to empty. I began to think even some of the bookcases could go.
I spotted a red book with shiny gold borders on the cover. On the cover was a silhouette of an anthropomorphic creature, its arms open wide. The title read:
“The Legend of South Island.”
I tenderly opened the book. Sonic noticed, and glanced over my shoulder. He recognized it too. Gently, I flipped the pages. I chuckled, admiring its tattered pages.
“This was my favorite book when I was little. I would run with it into the wheat fields and to the shore. I’d close my eyes and imagine I was there, running through the hills, making friends, beating up bad guys…”
“Man, were you seriously a fangirl or what?” Sonic joked.
“Shut up!” I giggled.
I continued to turn pages, until I came to one with another silhouette, this time a bright yellow on. There were the seven colored diamonds, all swirling around it. It had its fists raised, ready for battle. Sonic’s expression faded a little, as he leaned in closer.
“I pretended that I had those. They gave me superpowers, and used them to defeat evil, and save the island.”
I chuckled nervously.
“I’m sure that was silly. They had more significance than just giving you a power up, I take it?”
Sonic said nothing, his eyes glued to the page. My expression faded. Then, I closed the book, and placed it back on the shelf.
“That one’s a definite keeper” I declared.
By two days we were finished. Mrs. Fox the Librarian gratefully received dozens of books, and a representative of the museum came by to collect all the relics. The house wasn’t completely barren. Some of what remained included the knight replica in the living room, and two bookshelves packed with books.
Sonic and I stood in the entryway for a long moment. I looked at how empty the house was. I practically spent my life here. Many elements that I recognized and connected with being home, were now gone. But it looked so much brighter, and cleaner, and happier. My eyes welled up.
“I did it…” I breathed.
Sonic glanced up at me.
“I can’t believe I did it…”
I turned to him, and bent down. He raised his hands and wiped my tears away.
“You did a good job. I’m proud of you, Lu, and I think your grandpappy would too.”
I chuckled, shyly.
Then, we embraced. I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders that I didn’t even know I had. I felt relief. I felt gratitude. I felt love.
“I’m glad you’re here with me.”