Cotton-like snow piled steadily on the windowsill as five-year-old Piper leaned on the frame, her face squished by the pressure between her cheeks and the chilly glass. The cold targeted her nose and cheeks, reddening them notably in contrast to her milky complexion, yet Piper refused to leave her looking-window.
“Piper dear, your mother will arrive soon; why don’t you come read a book while you wait?” her plump, sweet preschool teacher asked her affectionately.
“No thank you,” Piper assured.
Despite the seemingly confident answer, Piper found the wait truly dreary. Her eyes darted between the grandfather clock inside the preschool and the smiling snowman outside. She timed her mother without knowing her whereabouts, thinking “please be here in the next five minutes; I think I can bear five more minutes!” Yet Piper’s mother was especially late tonight, and Piper—cozily sitting by the fireplace—unknowingly fell to the irresistible temptation of sleep.
Her dreams proved to be wilder tonight, and deep in her dreams she was laughing with fearless pirates who devoured sea biscuits, never exhausting of jolly stories about the seas. They talked heartily and ate merrily; Piper felt happy in their presence. Then a glowing alien ship took her, soaring through all the sparkles and glitters that composed the stunning universe. She floated and played hopscotch on the moon with her extraterrestrial friends. Her abyss of dreams was interrupted however, by the slamming of a door when the last preschooler left, strolling contently next to his mother.
Piper now saw that she was all alone with her preschool teacher, who peacefully stirred hot chocolate. The hour hand of the clock neared eight, and each tick-tock increased Piper’s feelings of dismay. Being a little and infantile child, Piper thought meanly of her mother and wondered, “Why can’t mom ever come early? Let me live with pirates and aliens instead! Much better than sitting by this window!” Though Piper tried to fight it, her eyes slowly filled with hot tears and her lips pouted, she looked down to see heavy droplets falling on her comforter.
Then, her ears caught a sound of crunch…crunch…Crunch! From the other side of the window, Piper’s mother appeared, darting toward the preschool in her office clothes and slinging her messenger bag carelessly. Piper delightedly ran toward the heavy door with a sign written “Sunshine Daycare” as it opened, and every ill feeling disappeared at the sight of her mother.
“Piper! I’m sorry I’m so late, I bought this for you.” Piper’s mother gently placed a warm, brown bag in her beloved daughter’s petite hands. The sweet aroma from the bag permeated throughout the room and Piper peeked inside.
“Apple pie!” Piper gasped excitedly.
After waving goodbye to her teacher, Piper walked with one hand in her mother’s and the other clutching delicious apple pie.
“Mom?” Piper suddenly called. “I had fun meeting pirates and aliens today, but I wouldn’t leave Earth.”
Piper earned a questioning look from her mother.
“Wanna know why?
“I feel warmer here”
“But it’s winter!”
As Piper explained, the tasty apple pie in her one hand quickly cooled due to the chilling winds; the pie’s steam slowly disappeared in the frosty air. Her mother’s hand however, which encased Piper’s smaller one, always had warmth.
By Namjoo Kang