Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Life Lessons 14: Happiness

A/N: As far as all of these one-shots go, this is the one most connected to another. This one-shot takes place just several days after the last one. While all of these go in chronological order, these are the only ones that are really connected in any way. That being said, reading the last one isn't really necessary to understanding this one either.

Nickel had always known his grandmother to be a morose sort of person. The only smiles she offered him were fleeting and quickly dissappeared. This trip, however, she seemed different. or she had for the past few days at least. After Nickel had let her in on the secret of Dani's birthday present, Mrs. Everdeen had suddenly begun smiling more. It was a strange but not unpleasant change.

Dani and Nickel had been rather surprised to find their grandmother in their father's company when he came to pick them up from school one day. Mrs. Everdeen had brushed it off. "Oh, I just thought some fresh air would be nice. I hadn't gotten out of the house much while I was here." None of the other three bothered pointing out to her that she almost never left their house when she was in District 12. On one of their few trips to visit Mrs. Everdeen and Annie in District 4, their grandmother had constantly accompanied them places, but not even Nickel, in his young age, had missed that Mrs. Everdeen seemed just a little scared of District 12. It had been something that had sparked Nickel's curiousity for a few years now, but he knew better than to question it. He didn't think it was something his grandmother would want to talk about.

Nickel began observing his grandmother as they walked back home at a very leisurely pace. Mrs. Everdeen still seemed slightly nervous as they walked through town. She threw sporadic glances over her shoulder as if waiting for something to jump at her, but she was outside of her own free will. Nickel was still marveling over that. Not only that, she was actively involved in the conversation and seemed more lively than Nickel had ever seen her in District 12. It was like she was suddenly the District 4 grandma that he didn't know as well but loved just as much.

"It is a nice day. Isn't it?" Mrs. Everdeen smiled at some newly planted trees as they walked. "I'm so glad I decided to come out and enjoy it."

Nickel looked at Dani who was shaking her head in fascination from behind their grandmother. She seemed just as confused about today's events as Nickel. Dani caught Nickel looking at her, and they both had to work to suppress giggles out of excitement.

"District 12 really is an entirely new place," Mrs. Everdeen continued. She'd been through town at least twice every trip as she came to and left the district, but she seemed to be seeing it for the first time. She actively inspected things now. It was the first time she'd realized just how new everything was. She'd been stuck in Victor's Village every trip here. The only part of District 12, she now realized, that had remained the same. She would have been better off leaving to visit the town every day. It was a much less haunting place.

The new District 12 was much more lively than the place she'd once called home. There were well-fed, happy children running around everywhere. Mrs. Everdeen supposed many of them were also on their way home from school. The houses looked well-maintained instead of the rundown shacks that had previously occupied the area. Many people had beautiful gardens that contained everything from vegetables to flowers. One thing that stood out in particular was the love for trees the new residents of District 12 must have had. They seemed to grow in every yard. The whole district seemed more connected to the forest than ever before. Mrs. Everdeen had never thought about the fact that trees must grow very well here. After all, most of this was probably part of the forest before it became a district. There were small animals everywhere as well. Mrs. Everdeen spotted several rabbits and quite a few squirrels. You didn't see those types of animals in District 4. This was a District 12 she could grow to enjoy.

Mrs. Everdeen turned her attention to her grandchildren and son-in-law only to see them all three watching her as if she'd grown a third head. "What?" she asked feigning ignorance. They all smiled at her and just continued walking. Mrs. Everdeen continued to join in the happy conversation as the headed home. The old District 12 had always been a place of sorrow in her mind, but she was finally starting to realize just how much happiness the new one held.

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