Part 1: Snowfall
“Thanks Trisha, for that enlightening look at how spaghetti strainers are helping the homeless. Now the weather: this week’s winter storm advisory is still in effect and let me tell ya, the snow is really piling up, reaching up to a record 5 feet of snowfall in some Ohio counties. More snow is expected to fall later tonight. Temperatures are hovering in the mid teens, but looking at the radar shows that this weekend will have highs of 40s and low humidity. Going now to Elija with traffic—"
The TV snapped off suddenly as Lee collapsed onto the couch in a huff, accidentally landing on the remote. “Why’d we have to go and get stuck in nowhere Ohio?” Lee muttered. “It’s not like there aren’t like, a billion warmer places we could be right now.”
Maggie snorted and elbowed Lee in the side. “You just wish you were in Florida with Sadie, dummy,” Maggie said, Lee groaning in irritation as Carlos and Sierra chuckled from across the room. “Now get your ass off the remote, I was watching that!”
“Well you’re one to talk! I mean,” smirked Lee, “the only reason you’re cool being trapped in this white wasteland is ‘cause your crush—” at which point Maggie threw a pillow at his head.
“Don’t change the subject, we need to keep an eye on the weather!”
“Oh, you’re so right, it’s not like we’ve got windows or the internet or anything.”
“Give me the remote!”
As Maggie and Lee kept bickering, Carlos couldn’t help but feel a little happy the storm had hit when it did. Everyone else had been really excited for a trip to Florida—and sure, Carlos could do without the freezing weather—but he wasn’t much for the crowds, the beach parties, the stress of seeing all the sights and doing literally every tourist-y thing possible in the span of a week. If Carlos had had an argumentative bone in his body, this—staying at home and hanging out together—would have been his top pick.
But Carlos wasn’t much for arguing and had resigned himself to hanging out with his best friends in their more… intense pursuits. Now with the storm blocking them in, vacation plans had to be scrapped. Not that Carlos was complaining.
“You seem awfully happy.”
Carlos turned toward Sierra, who met his eyes with a smile from her perch on the rocking chair. Shaking himself from his thoughts, he replied, “Things just feel really… normal. It’s nice.” Sierra nodded, and Carlos continued, “How’re you holding up?”
“I’m okay. I mean, this wasn’t what I’d expected when we were planning this trip last semester? Like,” she began absentmindedly toying with her braids, “I’ve never even seen the ocean before, and finals were… pretty rough, so I’d sorta hoped I’d get to escape to a warm, sunny place for a bit. Plus babysitting those two,” Sierra’s voice was now a stage whisper, “was not exactly part of my plan.”
Lee and Maggie, who were now arguing about which channel the TV should be turned to, whipped around with matching glares.
“We can hear you!”
“Yeah, Sierra, you’re not our mom!”
“We could get along if we wanted to!”
“We just choose not to!”
“Yeah, what she said!”
Carlos was struggling to keep a straight face, and when Sierra fake-whispered “I keep forgetting they’re letting five-year-olds into college now,” his composure began devolving into giggles. Maggie rolled her eyes and Lee was about to give a retort when a blaring static sound filled the room. All eyes turned to the TV.
Carlos quickly covered his ears. Sierra hopped out of the rocking chair and pressed the mute button on the TV. Silence washed over everyone.
Maggie turned to Lee, who quickly raised his hands in protest. “Hey, I wasn’t even touching the remote this time.”
Maggie sighed and looked at Carlos. “You okay over there?”
“Yeah,” Carlos nodded. “Just surprised me is all.”
Sierra was looking at the TV intently, working something over in her head. “I think there’s something wrong with the signal. Let me try something.”
But even after some fiddling, Sierra wasn’t able to recapture the TV signal. “Guys, I think the cable’s down.”
“Looks like the Wi-Fi’s out too…” muttered Lee, who was looking at his phone. “That’s not great.”
Carlos checked his own phone and, sure enough, it wasn’t connected to the internet anymore. He figured it had enough of a signal to make a call or text somebody, but without the internet he couldn’t refresh the weather app or get news updates. He turned to Maggie. “Anything else in your house that can get the news?”
“Yep,” said Maggie, standing up. “Come on y’all, let’s go find my dad’s radio.”
Edited by Binta Dixon