The Visit, By Vanshika Chauhuan
Vanshika is one of our resident, volunteer writers for Connections. She chose to offer a fictional story for our readers, one that was inspired by the people of Issaquah Highlands. Vanshika has lived in Issaquah Highlands since 2007. She will be a Junior at Issaquah High School next year (2017-18).
“Great! Let’s get started. So, where is everyone from?”
“I’m from Ireland!” said Margot.
“India,” replied Nadia.
“Kendra and I are both from here, actually!” laughed Chloe.
“I’m from Norway,” smiled Halley.
“And lastly, I’m from Alabama,” said Anne. Jenna quickly brought out her question sheets.
“Wow! ‘So nice to meet you all!” smiled Jenna as she started with her questions. “What’s the thing you love most about home?”
“The food!” said Chloe, Nadia and Halley at once. Everyone laughed at their unplanned synchronized answer.
“I love my fried chicken!” Anne replied, laughing. “It’s a great part about being from the south!”
“Funny enough, I actually enjoy the rain here but not the bears!” Chloe said as everyone laughed.
One week earlier…
Jenna slammed her laptop shut, frustrated for the 12th time that Thursday. She quickly paced around her bedroom forcing herself to brainstorm ideas on how the story she was writing would continue. After walking so much that the soles of her feet were paining as if she had just run a marathon, Jenna dejectedly fell on her mattress, blowing away the hair that had fallen onto her face. She lay on her bed for a half an hour before reluctantly picking up the silver phone next to her bed and dialing in a number. After a few rings the person on the other side picked up and immediately started talking,
“Jenna! Honey, how are you? You haven’t called in days and we were all so worried here!” said the lady.
“I’m fine, Katherine. How are you?” Jenna replied, forcing herself to act nice.
“Well, all is great here in Issaquah! Why did you call?” Katherine asked almost sounding too nice.
“I hate to be asking this but a couple of weeks ago when we were talking on the phone, you were praising the place you live in and talking about all the diversity, culture and friendliness-”
“Yes, yes! Issaquah Highlands is a wonderful place with such nice people!” interrupted Katherine. Jenna forced a smile onto her face, calming herself with the reminder of her overall goal and how getting mad at her older sister Katherine for interrupting her, would not help her achieve it.
“Well, I’m writing a new book and I’ve really been having some writers block for the past couple of days. I need to go to a quiet, nice place with lots of inspiration, unlike the busy streets of LA. And from what you were saying about Issaquah, it seems like a perfect place. So what I was wondering is if could come visit you just for a couple of days to finish my book? I don’t mean to impose on you, this is really my last choice but, I have nothing else that’s working for me!” Jenna said very quickly, almost in one whole breath.
“Jenna, this is great news! Please don’t feel you’re imposing on me. You’re welcome anytime,” warmly replied Katherine, smiling from ear to ear on the other side of the phone.
“Thank you, Katherine! I’ll start packing right away, there’s no time to waste!” said Jenna as she switched off the phone, feeling hopeful.
Jenna pulled in to her sister’s driveway on a warm day in mid-August. She stopped her car and gazed out the window at the beautiful houses that neighbored Katherine’s home. She took deep breaths, reminding herself why she was here and how the past was in the past and she had to move on. When Katherine and Jenna were both younger, Katherine was always the better sister. She had better grades, a better social life and a better relationship to her parents. While their parents would never admit, they all favored Katherine. Jenna was the quiet girl that always stayed in her bedroom writing stories of places that she wished she could be in. As Jenna and Katherine both grew older, Katherine grew to be more successful but Jenna has learned to get over the resentment that she had had for her sister and instead focus on following her dreams. Even though they had solved their problems years ago, Jenna still couldn’t help the negative thoughts that popped into her head as she stood in her sister’s neighborhood. Eventually, Jenna took a big breath, climbed out of her car and grabbed her bags.
She was immediately bombarded with hugs from her sister and her seven-year-old niece, Alicia. Katherine and Jenna caught up with each other over some tea and talked about Jenna’s book for some time before Alicia pulled Jenna outside to play catch with her friends.
As Alicia played with her friends, Jenna started talking to another woman who was there to watch her kids play. They introduced themselves; the woman’s name being Victoria. When Victoria asked Jenna if she was new to Issaquah, Jenna told Victoria about her writer’s block and how she came to visit the Highlands for inspiration. She explained that she needed to learn more about diverse cultures and different traditions for her book. Victoria seemed very pleased by this. She told Jenna about how she was born and raised in Australia and loved how Issaquah had people from all over the world. Jenna asked Victoria if there would be any way that she could interview her for her book and Victoria happily agreed. They planned to meet the next day over frozen yogurt up the street at a place called TCBY to cool down in the unexpected heat.
end of part one
PART TWO CAN BE FOUND IN JULY CONNECTIONS