Constant bleaching dried her hair; it fizzed and broke easier; Eliza had loved the blonde; it made a statement, empowered her independence, stood for her teenage rebellion. Rylan’s death brought home the reality of what she rejected and the relationship which remained broken. The mirror reflected her dyed black locks; they curled beneath her chin, words unspoken; it would be a lifetime of regret, unable to say what he meant to her, how much love she felt in her darkest and distant moments. Her need for space, granted in abundance, but in grief, she travelled to see her family every week, desperate to find some solace.
As a high achiever throughout her youth, Eliza found herself at a loss, the unplanned, unknown next step. Rylan had big aspirations for her, the potential he saw, and his love for her, which remained despite their arguments; a smile tickled her lips, he saw her as a vet or pursuing science, with excellent grades, there could be a university place had she returned home. Although that door remained open, Eliza preferred freedom, refusing to live with the guilt and in her parent’s debt. San Myshuno felt like home, a place she planned to stay, save her money for a penthouse apartment in the fashion district or a lavish Uptown suite. To afford such extravagance, Eliza needed a better income. She enjoyed her green-fingered career; while it meant living month to month, unable to save, the pace relaxed her.
She spent her weekdays searching through the job listings finding nothing of note; Eliza flicked through; the announcement on the sports page drew her in. The San Myshuno Warriors were looking for its next Llama mascot. They were big shoes to fill; for Eliza, this came from stories of her grandmother Aria, the Llama mascot and cheer captain for Newcrest Wanderers. Why every sports team chose a llama confused Eliza, a few different animal mascots existed, but the llama was King. She frowned, realizing that paying attention in history class might have provided the answer. Legends varied, the gods obsession; to a “eureka” moment over a plate of grilled cheese sandwiches, that one made Eliza’s mouth water, a plate piled high with melting yellow cheese on soft white bread. Whatever the answer, Eliza found the job suited her needs.
New Year’s Eve meant a time of renewal and reflection, of planning and a change for the positive. Eliza wondered what her father would think of her current career choice; it made her smile, imagining him grumbling, comments on a wasted talent despite following in Aria’s footsteps. She wished to have met Aria and Jose, Ziva spoke with fondness, the dedicated father who had time to spend with his children and Aria, who inspired Ziva’s ambitions.
San Myshuno was quiet; a thin frosty layer made the pavement sparkle, and treacherous underfoot, though it held something magical, watching her breath release into the air. Jose wrote beautiful descriptions, he described it as the inner dragon; the creature lived through the medieval period, but in the present, confined to myth and legend, with glimpses caught in the magic realm. It made for a conversation starter with the few locals braving the weather for breakfast and steaming coffee. Eliza agreed to join them in the evening; the Waterside Warbler had splashed money on a fancy television, with discounts on cocktails. Although she had lived here several years she had made few friends, this invitation opened her social calendar to numerous possibilities as they swapped numbers and prepared to see in the New Year.