DECEMBER 21, 3012
Kaya murmurs and rolls over, shoving her cold toes under her husband's knees. Jason flinches in his sleep from the sudden freezing touch, but sighs and continues to dream. Sensing someone watching her, Kaya slowly opens her eyes, her vision blurred from sleep and the painful morning light. Her senses are startled awake when she realizes a figure at the side of her bed and she bolts upright in alarm. "Morning, Mami."
Kaya sighs and relaxes. It's only one of the children. "Morning, baby," Kaya says, her voice raspy at its first use of the day. "You scared me. What time is it?" she asks, clearing her throat.
Her daughter shrugs. Rubbing her eyes, Kaya wipes the sleep away and glances at the clock on her bedside table. It's a little after six in the morning. Sighing again, Kaya looks at her daughter, Violet, her second born. "What are your sisters doing? Is anyone still asleep?" As if on cue, Kaya hears her son's battle cry from the other side of the wall.
"No." Violet shakes her head. "Jasmine is being bossy, so Daisy keeps hitting her, and Vince keeps attacking everyone with the squishy hammer." Kaya groans internally. From the noises coming from the other side of the wall it sounds as if a war is carrying on. Great, Kaya thinks. Not only did they probably wake up at dawn, they are in a 'search and destroy' mindset. "Mami, I'm hungry." Violet interrupts Kaya's reverie. Sighing for the third time in just a few short minutes, Kaya stretches and slides out of bed. "Come on," she says, ushering Violet out of the room and leaving the door open. "Let's go see what your siblings are up to."
Opening the door to the children's bedroom feels like a mistake. Kaya's ears are immediately assaulted by the three children arguing for various reasons. Even Violet chimes in upon entering. Jasmine is scolding Daisy for not following her instructions while Daisy yells back that Jasmine is not the boss of her. Violet yells about something that she has noticed has gone awry while she was away. And Vince, being only a year old and unable to articulate his feelings, is just yelling over his sisters. Shaking her head at the scene, Kaya puts a baby gate in place at the doorway to barricade the smallest into the room. The last thing she needs is for him to notice the open doorway, escape, and catapult himself down the stairs while she tries to calm the situation. "Guys!" Kaya yells, trying to overpower the four screaming children. "It is way too early for this mess!"
"But, Mami!" Jasmine starts.
"But, Mami, nothing. Stop yelling and stop being such a butt." Kaya takes in the room. Across from her, the set of bunk beds on the south wall is neatly made, being the ones the older two sleep in. The set of bunk beds on the west wall, not so much. Vince has taken every toy imaginable and placed them all on his mattress in the bottom bunk. Daisy didn't even attempt to tidy up her blankets on the top and the area looks like an attempt at a pillow fort gone wrong. Toys are scattered everywhere, and a toy box seems to have toppled over. Vince is standing in the middle of the mess, dressed in nothing but his diaper, holding a plastic shield in one hand, a foam hammer in the other, and wearing a tiara. Kaya realizes that while Jasmine and Violet, the oldest two, are fully dressed for the day, Daisy is standing in her underwear wearing nothing other than a set of pastel-colored fairy wings. "Okay, girls, help me out. I'm going to go downstairs and make breakfast. Your father is probably awake by now from all the commotion, but is still in bed. If you need anything while I'm busy, go to him first. Jasmine, could you do me a favor and get a shirt and pants for your brother and help him get dressed? If he needs a diaper change, go tell your dad. Violet, could you pull something out for Daisy to wear? When the two of you are done with that I need all of you to clean up this mess, please and thank you. I'll be back to let you know when breakfast is ready." After climbing over the gate and walking away from the chaos, Kaya pokes her head into her bedroom. Jason, now awake, is still laying in bed. "Did you hear everything?" she asks. Jason nods, his eyes still closed. "Do you want coffee?" Another nod. "Okay. Love you" she adds and heads down the stairs.
In the kitchen, Kaya sighs and shakes her head. Every morning seems to be pandemonium in her house. Sometimes she wishes she could wake up one morning to the sound of birds chirping instead of children bellowing at each other, but she knows that is near impossible at the moment. She smiles. Though her children are always full of more energy than she can sometimes handle, she knows she wouldn't change it for the world. Sure, she's young, only twenty-six-years-old, and sure, she has a hoard of children that are only two years apart each, give or take a couple of months, but she loves it. It's a lot of hard work, she knows this, but it's totally worth the smiles she sees on her children's faces every day. Not to mention the cuddles and kisses she gets as a bonus.
After breakfast, the entire family is downstairs. Vince sits on the carpeted floor of the living room, stacking large interlocking building bricks into towers before laughing maniacally and knocking them down. The girls, oblivious to the noises made by their brother, are sprawled throughout the furniture, their eyes glued on the television set, watching an animated program about science. In the dining room, Jason sits at the table holding an electronic computing tablet inches away from his face. His fingers lightly brush or tap the screen, his eyes darting over it. "My mom wants to see the kids," he says, not looking away from the game he is playing. "She wants to take the entire family out to lunch and probably a movie."
Kaya is standing in the doorway of the laundry room and looks behind her to speak to her husband. "I won't be able to go," she says. Turning back to face the inside of the laundry room, Kaya lets out a low growl of frustration. "The washing machine is busted. I clogged the entire machine yesterday when washing the giant pillow the girls like to lay on when they watch a movie. It got caught between the frame and the drum, ripping a seam, and exploding pillow stuffing all over the place. When you open the machine, you can't tell it's inside. The inside of the drum has been cleared out. I attempted to wash a load of laundry after the pillow incident, but nothing is draining properly, and if it does, the suction is poor. I'll have to drain everything out myself and clean out the entire machine before I can do the laundry again." Jason looks up from the tablet and stares at his wife.
"You did what to the machine? How many pillows have to die before you stop shoving them in that thing?"
"Shut up," says Kaya, making a face at her husband. "Either go to your mom's without me or stay at home and help me fix this damn thing while the children wreak havoc."
"Not going to happen. You are on your own." He goes back to his game.
"That's what I thought," she says, throwing an evil glare at the washing machine. Closing the laundry room door, Kaya heads over to the storage closet under the stairs to find the screwdriver she needs from the toolbox. Vince notices the open door and goes in to investigate. "Nice try, buddy," Kaya says as she stops her little man with her thighs. "You know this place is a no-go zone." Vince continues to attempt to get in, struggling to pry his mother's thighs apart with his face. Digging in the toolbox and finding the screwdriver she needs, Kaya shoves it into the right back pocket in her jeans, turns around and picks up her son, placing him on her left hip as she closes the closet door. "You, sir, need to play with your own toys, not Mami's, okay? Now give me a kiss." Grabbing her face between his chubby hands, Vince puts his open mouth on one of Kaya's cheeks and licks it in an aim to please his mother. "Close enough," she laughs and places him back on the floor where he waddles happily back to his building bricks. Grunting, Kaya heads back into the laundry room to face her enemy.
Kaya's sitting on the floor of the laundry room, in front of the washing machine, the machine's insides exposed to her. She looks up to find Jason standing next to her. "You weren't kidding," he says, looking at the washing machine with a mixture of dismay and disgust. Green pillow stuffing is indeed everywhere. The only visible element that you can see is the drum of the machine. Next to Kaya sits a bucket of wet laundry along with the empty bucket she used to dump out the excess water from the drum. After opening the frame, Kaya has no idea what she did with the screwdriver. "We're about to head out. Do you want me to get anything while we're away?"
"No, that's fine," Kaya says, getting up off the floor and dusting her hands off on the thighs of her jeans. "We're okay on groceries and such, but if you happen to have any leftovers from lunch, feel free to bring me some."
"Okay. Give me a call if you think of something, or send me a message. I'll have the tablet with me just in case," says Jason, and plants a soft kiss on Kaya's lips.
"Sure. Will do." Kaya smiles. Giving her husband a quick squeeze around the middle, she returns his kiss with a gentle one at the base of his neck.
"Mami, we're going now," says Jasmine. "Are you coming?"
"No. I have to fix the blasted washing machine. I already let your dad know, and he already let your grandma know that it will just be him and you guys at this shindig. So behave and have fun. Don't give your father too much grief, okay?"
"Mami, you know I behave."
"Not so much when you start arguing with your sisters." Kaya grabs Jasmine by the shoulder and brings her in for a hug. She can't believe how big Jasmine has gotten this year, already resting at about chest-height. Granted, Kaya isn't very tall, only about a meter and a half, but still, Jasmine is growing fast. Kaya quickly kisses Jasmine on the top of her head, kissing Violet, Daisy, and Vince somewhere on their faces in succession. "You all be good," she says, waving to them as they walk to the car.
As she closes the front door, she hears Daisy's tiny little voice through the window. "Honey, be nice!" Kaya laughs. Jason will definitely have his hands full today.
Back in front of the washing machine, Kaya pulls out all of the pillow stuffing from inside the machine and shoves it into the nearest trash bin. Stuffing is entangled in the pump's rotor and she has to use a pair of scissors to remove most of it. When she unhooks the draining hose from the drain, a gush of water departs from the drum and spills all over the floor, soaking Kaya's socks and cooling her feet. Being careful not to slip, Kaya grabs as many towels as she can carry from the set of shelves above the drying machine and drops them onto the floor in hopes of soaking up the watery mess. Squatting down in an attempt to keep her legs dry, Kaya pulls out a thick ball of stuffing the size of her first out of the drain. Sighing with relief, she drops it in the trash bin and begins to piece the washing machine back together. She reconnects the draining hose and pops the front panel back into place.
After cleaning up the mess in the laundry room and finally being able to wash a load of dirty clothes, Kaya catches up on other chores, such as washing the dishes and mopping the floors. She goes upstairs to inspect the job done by the children and pulls the toys that were shoved under the beds out and into the toy boxes. Trying to be sneaky, I see, she laughs to herself. Making sure that all beds are made and the rooms are tidy, Kaya heads back downstairs and sets herself on the couch. She grabs an abandoned stuffed animal, places it on her lap, and grabs the book that she keeps under the coffee table for a nice and very welcomed reading break. It's a sappy romance she can't seem to get out of her head. No matter how terrible and irrational the storyline is, she can't help but enjoy it. Who would have thought she would enjoy a book about a man falling in love with his operating system? Computer Love, yeah, because that's totally something sane, she says to herself. She finds her bookmark and continues the story, enjoying her guilty pleasure.
Kaya looks up and checks the time on the clock on top of a bookshelf against the north wall of the living room. It's almost one in the afternoon; at least an hour has passed since she started her book. Bookmarking the pages, she stretches and stops in mid-stretch when she hears the screams from outside. What the hell? Getting up, Kaya peeks through the curtains of her south-facing windows. She lives on a main street, where it can get busy, but right now, the cars are completely stopped. What is going on? she muses. Surely this isn't lunchtime traffic, that was almost two hours ago. Even at its busiest, the street's traffic is pretty fluid. She notices that people are beginning to get out of their cars, looking up at the sky in absolute horror. Some people, of all shapes and sizes, are running down the street in a panic. Others are simply stopped, gawking, transfixed on some unseen event in the sky. Kaya's window panes begin to rattle. Quickly, she backs away from the windows and opens the front door. She grabs a thick sweater from the coat rack attached to the wall next to the door and walks up to the sidewalk and turns to the west to look up into the sky. Her ears are ringing. She can't comprehend what she's seeing. What looks like a giant ball of fire is coming straight at the city of Summer Tree. Kaya is paralyzed. She had heard of stories like this. It happened on Earth, the planet where the people came from over 3000 years ago. It was the reason why the people of Earth had colonized this planet after they found it could sustain human life. She never thought that it would happen here, on this planet, on Yeni Dunya. Even though the asteroid seemed to be at least 30 kilometers away, she knew it was going to cause a great deal of damage. Shit, she begins. My children are out there! My entire family is out there! As the asteroid whistles through the air, the roof of a distant building collapses. Windows of neighboring cars and houses implode. A building just five blocks in front of her has somehow caught fire. More and more people begin to panic and run, heading east, away from the horrifying sight in front of them. Parked cars around her neighborhood are sounding off their alarms. Kaya has become numb, the scene in front of her rendering her incapacitated. There is a roaring in her ears that drowns out the chaos surrounding her. Her eyes are blinded by the fire in the sky. Her mouth is dry, parched, unable to make even the smallest scream of terror. Nothing is making sense. Her whole life is ending. A small child rams into her abdomen in his small quest to flee, snapping her back to reality.
All hell has broken loose around her. Dodging people as best as she can, Kaya runs across her lawn and back into her house. Shards of glass litter the carpet in the living room, the window panes gone and shattered. The television hangs out of it's cabinet, the screen busted through from the vibrations of the asteroid's irritation through the atmosphere. Moving as if in a trance, Kaya opens the door to the closet under the stairs, the only place with no windows, and the only place she feels safe. She knows that the building could collapse at any moment, but she is dazed with fear. Shutting the door behind her she sits on a box in the darkness, places her face in her hands and begins to cry. Once that asteroid hits they will all be dead, she thinks. It may not hit here in this part of the city, but it will hit where my babies are. Everyone, my husband, my children, my parents, they will all be gone. Why is this happening? Why am I the only one allowed to survive? In a sudden panic, Kaya stands up and searches for the toolbox. She doesn't want to survive. She doesn't want to know that she'll be alone. Finding the box in the darkness and opening it, Kaya searches for something sharp, something she can gouge her heart out with. It feels as if my heart has been ripped out already. But she can't find anything. Collapsing to the floor, Kaya sobs uncontrollably. The asteroid hits, shaking the planet's crust and destroying the city around her. Boxes in the closet under the stairs topple over, burying and knocking Kaya unconscious, leaving her in a temporary state of peace.
(if you are seeing this in LiveJournal, the text can be found on my blogger [http://vonnieness.blogspot.com] with all it's italics, etc.)