The woman grabbed my wrist and yanked me forward, rushing ahead and practically dragging me behind her. I stumbled and realized the scream was probably her daughter’s. I was hoping desperately nothing too bad was happening to the little girl I didn’t even know. And now, I was in the clutches of a stranger who just wanted me to find her child. We ran towards the pier, me tripping over loose boards and the woman bounding forward like nobody’s business. We reached the docks and the woman stopped abruptly, releasing me from her iron grasp. Truthfully, I almost ran into her, almost tackling her to the ground, merely because I wasn’t that great at stopping. It was a curse.
I scanned the pier, not seeing any signs of a little girl in a yellow sundress, but apparently random lady did because her hand flew up to her mouth to stifle a terrified shriek. I looked around anxiously. What the crap? Where was the stinking child? Then I looked out into the water and saw a pale head bobbing in the water, with dark wet curls sticking to her horrified face. She screamed, but soon the yelps became muffled with the water flowing into her mouth. I wasn’t going to wait around for somebody to do something about the drowning girl, so I yanked off all of my jewelry and shoes and dove into the salty water.
Then I realized I really didn’t know how to swim. Swimming was just something you didn’t really get the chance to do in New York. Crap, now two people were going to drown, and I was one of them. I was supposed to be seventeen for crying out loud, yet I couldn’t swim nonetheless. Strangely enough, I found myself floating and staying above the water with ease.
Sure, it was all fine and dandy that I wasn’t drowning, but the most I could do was doggy paddle, and I wasn’t too sure I could make it to the girl in time. After all, she was at least thirty feet clear ahead of me. Well, I had to try. As soon as I began trying to doggy paddle in that direction, I propelled forward in the water with ease. I shot across the smooth water quickly, and it felt totally unreal. It felt as if I was flying… in glass. Not shards but… You know what I mean.
In no time at all, I had reached the drowning child and grabbed a hold of her as she kicked and flailed in my arms, desperate for oxygen. I hoisted her above the water, while being pushed under myself. How the hell was I supposed to make it back to the dock with her if one of us was going to be under water along the way? But as time passed as I let her get some air, I was still underwater, not even beginning to lose my breath. Hesitantly I began to swim forward. Then I shot ahead. If I could scream underwater, I would’ve. I was going way too fast for my comfort zone.
But hey, if it got me to the docks, I was just fine with it. And it did. I managed to stop myself just as I spotted the wooden, moldy pillars of the dock beneath the water. Some hoisted the girl away from me and I pulled myself up from the water, dripping wet, but not even breathing heavily. Some people were staring at me and I could see the lady embracing her daughter was in fact in a muddy yellow sundress, dripping with water.
“You’re a fast swimmer.” I heard someone comment from behind, in a British accent. I turned around to see a girl with long brown hair, green eyes, and crossed arms staring at me with impassive eyes. I just sort of wanted to clap my hands in front of her face to make her blink, but I refrained from doing so. She had a slender face, with warm features and a strong nose and jaw, and was really quite beautiful. Maybe she would be more so if she just stared at people in the normal way.
“Thanks.” I replied, my tone matching hers. I didn’t really know what to say, seeing as I didn’t know how I managed to swim that fast, but oh well.
“Excuse me, Miss?” I heard the voice of the plump lady who lost her child behind me. I turned to see her, looking much more relieved to have her soaking child clambering behind her.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Thank you so much for saving my daughter. If it weren’t for you, oh I don’t know what would’ve happened!” She exclaimed, her eyes dancing with happiness.
“You’re welcome.” I managed to choke out. Compliments from strangers always had made me a bit nervous, but I went with it anyways this time.
“What would you like as your reward?” She asked, popping open her purse. My eyes widened.
“Oh, you don’t have to give me anything.” I assured her. Second worst to compliments from strangers were gifts from strangers. I mean, come on, if you went into a store and a man walked up to you and offered you a gift, would you just be the least bit freaked out? It’s just weird. They didn’t know me; maybe they’d hate me if they got to know me. That’s the way it was back in New York a lot, sadly.
“Oh, you can’t be serious!” She laughed, as if I was joking. “You save my daughter’s life, you need to be rewarded. I’ll just give you some money, no?” She pulled out some money from her bag. I scratched my neck awkwardly, partially because I could sense that girl still staring at me from behind, and partially because a stranger was giving me money.
“I guess.” I muttered. I felt bad, accepting her money, but seeing as my mom and I had just moved to Ireland, I’d need some extra money. I took the money and shoved it in my pocket, not bothering to count it, because honestly I didn’t really care right now. “I’m Ciara.” I said, remembering to introduce myself.
“I’m Linda, and this here is Dawn.” Linda pushed little Dawn closer to me. “Say thank you, Dawn.” I smiled at the little girl.
“Thank you.” She mumbled, and immediately shot behind her mother’s leg again. I grinned widely.
“Sorry, she’s a little bit shy if you haven’t noticed.” Linda laughed.
“That’s fine, nothing wrong with that.” I replied, shivering in my wet clothes.
“Would you like to come to our house and we can get you some warm clothes?” Linda asked, noticing the puddle that was forming at me feet. I paused for a moment. “Our house is just over that hill.” Linda reassured me. Well, it was a heck of a lot closer than my house was.
“That’d be nice.” I finally accepted, and we started to head off in that direction. I shot a glance behind me, shocked to see that the strange girl was still staring at me.
“This is a beautiful home, Linda.” I told her upon entering through the blue front door. She smiled and set her purse down on the table.
“Thank you. Let’s get you some dry clothes, shall we?” Linda bustled off into a room and I was left in the living room with Dawn, who was standing there in silence.
“Hey, Dawn.” I said, kneeling down in front of her.
“Hi.” She mumbled and her eyes avoided mine.
I stood back up. I was terrible with kids. Pretty soon, Linda came bustling back out of the room, holding a stack of clothes. She handed them to me and directed me to the bathroom where I would change. I pulled them on, surprised by the comfort of the loose jeans and sweater. Gathering up my drenched clothes in a dripping pile, I pushed open the door to see Dawn changed in a different dress. Linda came up to me and took away my wet clothes.
“Let’s get these up on the clothes line.” She said and I followed her outside. We went around the house to her backyard and I spotted a clothesline and… a pen with goats in it. I immediately rushed over to it.
“Goats!” I exclaimed, leaning against the wooden post fence. Then I felt kind of stupid. Of course, I had never seen a goat in real life, but oh well. Linda chuckled behind me, tending to my clothes and pinning them each on. “Do they bite?” I asked curiously. More chuckles from Linda.
“No, but they do head butt you in some pretty weird places. Would you like to go in and feed them?” She asked, pinning my jeans up. I bit my lower lip, thinking for a moment.
“Sure, why not?” I finally decided. Linda laughed and came up beside me, picking a bucket off the ground and thrusting it into my arms.
“Okay, now all you have to do is fill that bucket with that feed over there and climb over the fence, then pour the fodder into the metal thing over there.” She gestured the instructions with her hands and I headed over to scoop up some fodder. Then, I climbed over the fence and all the goats (all seven of them) stared at me, some bleating. I smiled nervously and slowly edged closer to the metal bin for the food. Some of the goats turned away and others followed me. I sped up a little. The sooner they got their food, the sooner I could get out of this place.
That was the plan until one seemingly vicious goat head butted me right in the ass. I jolted forward and tripped, saving myself at the last moment, spilling half the food of the bucket out onto the ground. The goats bleated louder yet and all rushed forward to the small pile of spilt food. I straightened up.
“Sorry!” I exclaimed, shooting an apologetic look at an amused Linda. She smiled widely.
“Trust me, I have tons of food for them. Besides, it’s about time they went on a diet anyways.” She reassured me. I nodded and began my venture to the bin once again, this time glancing around for anymore evil goats. Thankfully, they were all too preoccupied by the spilt food and I finally arrived at the bin and dumped the food in quickly. I swung myself over the fence and set down the bucket quickly.
I rushed over to Linda who was smiling in satisfaction.
“Good job, Ciara.” She noted. “Your clothes might be a while before they dry completely. If you want to go, you can come back in a few hours to pick them up.” I nodded.
“Sounds good. Thank you.” I said, waving as I walked away. “I’ll be sure to bring these clothes back.” I said, gesturing to my outfit. She smiled and waved and then I was off. I checked my watch, wondering if I should get on home or continue exploring town. I decide to keep exploring. It was only two o’clock.
The walk down to the market square from Linda’s house was a little more exciting than it was from my house. I passed a farm where a man and a woman were yelling at some sheep, which just made my day. I saw a sheep and I hadn’t run away screaming. Today’s major accomplishment.
Well, second most major accomplishment, since I did save a little girl’s life.
Once I had reached the town, I didn’t know where to go. I scanned people for a sight of my mother, but I doubted I would find her now. I spotted a coffee shop and headed over there immediately. Darn my weakness for coffee. Yet it was a necessity for an insomniac like me. Walking towards the quaint looking shop, I pulled my damp black hair back into a loose ponytail that trailed down my back. My bangs were hanging loosely in my face, not as voluminous now that they had been drenched in water. I brushed them away, making sure I looked at least a little decent before I headed into a public coffee shop. Heck, if this place was good enough, I might become a regular. Back in New York I went to Starbuck’s every morning before school, due to treacherous nights of no sleeping.
The chimes sounded above my head as I pushed open the glass door. Inside there were high bar tables along the window and normal tabled and booths around the rest of the place. The walls were painted a calm slate grayish blue and there was relaxing music playing. I made my way over to the counter where a girl with a name tag that read ‘Laura’ smiled at me.
“Good afternoon. What can I get you?” She asked politely. I smiled back and tapped my lips, scanning the menu above her head.
“I’ll have mocha, please.” I told her and she nodded, turning around and switching on a coffee maker. I sighed and smelled the scent of fresh coffee. Delicious. I found a nice little table in a small corner with a window that was separated from the rest of the tables. I rested my head on the cool table and started to think about Ireland.
The pros: they had nice people (exempli gratia Linda). The landscape was absolutely breathtaking. They had coffee (big plus). The cab drivers were pretty awesome.
The cons: I didn’t know anyone (excluding Linda, Dawn, and Isabel). It wasn’t New York. Everything was too spread out. There were head butting goats and sheep running amok.
But the real test of Ireland was when I’d go to school. New York schools were far from great, but I could only hope Irish schools would be slightly better.
“Ma’am, your coffee.” The waitress said and I lifted my head off the table. She placed the plate with the glass and the napkin on it. I thanked her and sipped at the hot liquid that burned my tongue.
After I drained the remaining of the heavenly drink, I paid the lady and left the coffee shop. Could you say that it was probably the best coffee shop ever? Yeah, you could.
Now, what I really needed was some new guitar music. I stopped by the music store, picked out a few interesting looking CD’s and got some challenging new guitar music before I left. My phone buzzed in my pocket. I groaned and pulled it out and answered it to hear Isabel’s voice on the other end.
“Ciara? Hey, can you come by the-“ There was a pause. “Aw, heck, I don’t know the name of this place! Just come to the furniture store by the dress store!”
“Okay, why?” I asked.
“Just do it.” She snapped, and then hung up. I sighed and shoved my phone in my pocket. Rude. I scanned some of the stores and walked around a bit, going left and right on practically every street until I found the furniture store that Isabel could’ve possibly been talking about. I went inside to see my mother chatting with the store owner about a table. I headed over to her.
“Oh, hello, honey.” She greeted me. I smiled at her.
“Why am I here again?” I pressed. She glared at me.
“I bought some furniture and I need help getting it into the taxi.” She admitted. The store owner, a tall man with a bushy mustache and a hat on shook his head.
“She refused to let me help.” He told me. Isabel hit him playfully in the arm and he laughed. I arched an eyebrow.
“I don’t like having people I don’t know do things for me.” Isabel told him. Well, I just found out where I got that trait from. The man turned to her.
“How about we change the fact that you don’t know me?” He suggested. I rolled my eyes when nobody was looking. Isabel blushed.
“What are you proposing, William?” She asked shyly. I refrained from groaning. Nothing like watching middle aged people flirt.
“Would you like to go out for dinner?” He asked. If Isabel was blushing before, now her face was on fire. Did they realize I was here?
“Oh, William!” She exclaimed in the sort of tone women got when someone proposed MARRIAGE, not a date.
“Please, call me Will.” He grinned at her.
“Please, shoot me.” I muttered under my breath, getting me a look from Isabel. Darn her keen ears.
“That sounds wonderful.” Isabel blurted. I sighed as they exchanged numbers. How sad was it that my own mother was having better luck getting a boyfriend in Ireland than I was? Oh, well, that wasn’t one of my goals at the moment. “Oh, Will! This is Ciara.” Oh, so NOW she remembers I’m here. William smiled at me.
“Hello, Ciara, nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you.” I replied quietly.
Eventually we got to actually doing what we were there to do. Isabel paid for the furniture, using a discount that Will conveniently gave her. Then the taxi arrived and we all took turns bringing the newly bought table and chairs into it. Then, William pulled his pickup truck around to the front of the shop and we got the mattresses and other things in.
Guess who got to ride in the taxi alone? Me. Meanwhile Isabel and Will were in his car. How dandy. The driver wasn’t very awesome though. He didn’t talk to me like the others did, but oh well. It gave me more time to think about how insane my mother was.
I was starting to get a little bit less sickened by the green whirling by.
Finally, the cab pulled up in front of our ‘fairytale cottage’ as I was now going to call it. I hopped out of the car and went around to the back. The truck pulled up next to me and William got out helping me haul in the table, whereas Isabel got a chair.
“Are you guys going to need some help assembling this?” William asked us.
“Oh, no, we’ll be fine on our own.” Isabel said. God, was she stupid or something?
“Yes, we’ll need help.” I told him instead, getting me another evil eye from my mother. William just laughed, though.
“Isabel, I assure you it’s not a problem. I’ve set up this table before, it’s not too difficult for me to do within ten minutes. Then I’ll be out of your way.” He said. I stuck my tongue out at her before going back outside to grab another chair. It felt weird walking in to a stranger and my mother laughing, her face crimson red. I rolled my eyes.
“Save it for the date, you two.” I joked. “We have work to do.”
“Ciara!” Isabel laughed, trying to be stern with me. I smiled mockingly.
“No, no, she’s right.” William said, standing to get another chair. Finally, someone had a shred sense now, other than me.
Once we had brought in all of the furniture, we took all the pieces out of the boxes and began assembling them. Of course, William was basically doing everything because Isabel genuinely didn’t know what to do and I was faking utter confusion to get out of work. Whoops.
And once William had left, I could tell Isabel my story about saving the drowning girl. I sat at the table as she started preparing sandwiches for us both.
“Guess what happened to me today, Mom.” I said as she was spreading mayo onto her sandwich.
“Hmm?” She acknowledged me as she licked the mayo off the butter knife. I crinkled my nose. Yuck. Mayo.
“I saved a girl’s life today.” I told her. Was I surprised that she laughed? No, not really. “I’m serious! A lady was looking for her and we found her and she was drowning and I leapt in and saved her.”
“Honey, you can’t even swim.” She reminded me, as if I were a stupid child. I rolled my eyes.
“I know!” I groaned, with an attitude. “It was really weird. The water just kind of cooperated with me and pushed me forward.” I explained, kind of feeling stupid. Isabel whirled around and faced me, her eyes intense.
“What?” She exclaimed. “Ciara! Don’t do something like that again!” She wailed, her voice breaking in desperation. My eyebrow arched in silent questioning. “It draws too much attention to you.” She told me.
What the hell was that supposed to mean, really? I mean, I didn’t really like the attention either, but why did she care whether people were noticing me or not? She was insane or something.
“Um, okay?” I said, not really knowing what she was talking about. She sighed.
“Ciara, just don’t do that again.”