I need a teacher in front of a classroom giving me a writing prompt. She'll scrawl it on the chalkboard (because in my fantasy chalkboards are still used -- to hell with the whiteboard!) just in case the class forgets. But we won't forget. It's always the same prompt: "What I did over summer vacation..." Okay, it's not always that prompt. On occasion, usually in October, she'll have us tell her what happened one dark and stormy night.
So. One dark and stormy night during my summer vacation, I... I can't. I can't start with either of those prompts. I mean, I can, but I won't. I will begin with this prompt instead: Where in the world is Meghan Sandiego/Wiemer?
She is in Tokyo with someone she began to love when her life began to fall apart. No, she didn't love him. She loved the idea that there would be someone there. And it was just an idea. She lost him briefly in the crowd in the arcade with popping sounds and flashing neon lights. There were prizes to be given to teens who held on tightly to tickets they had won. Give up the ticket, get the prize. She was distracted. She needed to find him because she didn't speak the language and he did. She needed to find him in order to translate the chaos in her head.
She is in Greenland with pictures to send home. Or rather, to send to her family at their home. This is her home now, she keeps reminding herself. It is a charming country in the photos, but the pipes freeze and the whale meat doesn't sit well with the former vegetarian. But homes aren't heaven. Homes are worn-in and comfortable, like the pair of wool mittens knitted by the previous owner and left behind. She left behind a lot to come out here in search of her roots. But I wonder if she knew how hard it would be to grow fruit out here? What's important to her has to be imported.
She is in another corner of another country, combing her hair that won't grow past her shoulders. She is also combing the beach to pass the time, an activity which seems absurd in a landscape that remains frozen and forgotten. She looks for a bottle with a message, but feels foolish for even assuming that items like that wash up on shore outside of the pages of a book. It's difficult for her to stay concentrated long enough to finish a novel. She blames it on the fog and sometimes she blames it on the elusive sun. She concentrates instead on where her feet hit the sand. She doesn't want to cut her sole on broken seashells.
So where in the world is Meghan? Or at least in which season is Meghan? Once we figure out the date, maybe we can figure out the location. Some summers are shorter than others. Some places don't have a fall. And in some places winter months stretch out like backroads on a weathered map.