Status: In Progress

The Icy Lens

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The little ten year old girl quickly skated with the puck towards the goal. Just as she wound up to shoot the puck she was pushed from behind and fell hard, face down onto the ice. She sniffled and started to cry from the pain as he mocked, "You gonna cry now? Good cause girls don't belong on the ice." Matt skated over and helped her back up and said to the boy, "You better stop picking on her or you'll get it!" He handed her back her stick and said, "Come on Abby. Let's go back to the bench."

Once she sat down her dad knelt down and took off her helmet, "Abigale, are you ok?" She nodded and wiped her eyes as Matt said, "Mr. Matthews he's picking on her cause she's a girl." Abby pouted slightly and said, "That was the third time he knocked me down daddy!" He gave her a hug and said, "I know, but that's what happens in Hockey. Don't listen to him. He's just mad because you're the best skater out there." Matt stood up and said, "I'm gonna go out there and teach him a lesson!" He was about to hop off the bench when her dad stopped him. "Now Matt, I know you want to stick up for her, but she needs to do this herself if she really wants to play hockey." He turned back to her and put on her helmet saying, "You could easily skate circles around him. All you need to do is be smarter and faster than him." She nodded and smiled saying, "OK Daddy, I want to go play now." He tapped her on her helmet and said, "That's my girl, now go back out there and show him who's the better player!"

During the face off the boy mocked her again by saying, "Cry baby is back? I guess I didn't hit you hard enough." Abby scrunched up her face in an angry way and she began to turn red. She could tell that Matt was about to say something, so she looked at him and said, "No, I've got this." As the kid skated towards their net with the puck, She picked up speed and checked him hard into the boards before stealing the puck away. As she sent it down ice to her teammates she said, "I may be a girl, but I don't hit like one!" Matt laughed so hard that he almost fell over. "Matt, The Blue Line!" she said noticing the rush coming back at them. He skated towards the player, but Abby knew he couldn't cover the guy and the net.

She skated swiftly over in front of the goalie, making it just in time to block the shot. She took the puck and began to race back up towards the center of the ice, passing it to a teammate on the left wing. He skated in, and made the puck go into the goal. As the horn sounded Matt skated over to her and gave her a hug, nearly knocking her over. "You did It, You got an assist!" She smiled brightly and stuck her tongue out at the boy who had mocked her earlier as Matt yelled, "See, Girls can play!"

She skated back to the bench with Matt as their game ended and saw her dad laughing. "Now you look like a hockey player Abigale!" He gave her a hug and smiled at the two of them saying, "I think you both deserve ice cream after that." Matt grinned and said, "Ice cream? I love ice cream Mr. Matthews!" Abby giggled and said, "Can I have chocolate and sprinkles on mine?" Her dad smiled saying, "You can have whatever you like, But first we need to get a picture!" He made the two of them stand on the ice as he took their picture together. "There, that was perfect. Now I can always remember the day my little girl got her first point!"


"Abigale, Are you OK," said her mother from behind. Abby blinked her eyes for a moment and turned around, "Oh I'm fine mom" She put the photograph her and Matt on the ice when they were younger back onto the shelf. Her mother smiled softly and said, "So where is Matt? and I thought you were bringing up James," Her mom asked as she handed her a glass of iced tea. "They're in Pittsburgh," she said flatly while sitting down on the couch. "I know that voice Abby, I am you're mother. What happened?" she asked while sitting across from her. Abby shook her head and said, "I don't want you to be late for work mom. As it is I already messed up plans by showing up early." Her mother smiled and said, "Oh Honey, I'm glad you came early. And I still have twenty minutes before I have to leave for the hospital. So tell me, what happened."

She took a sip from the sweet tea and told her mother everything. The fight with James, the argument with Matt, and the note she left them before driving all night to Minnesota. "I'm so sorry honey," she said while shifting over to sit beside her on the couch, "I'm sure they'll both apologize and things will be right as rain in no time." She smiled and reminded, "You and Matt went though much worse than a little tiff like this, you'll be fine." Abby nodded and said with a frown, "It's not Matt I'm worried about, He'll come around, it's James." Her mom took her hand and said, "Don't worry too much honey, It hasn't even been 24 hours yet. In fact, I doubt he's even awake yet." Abby let out a yawn and set her empty glass on the table. "Why don't you go upstairs and get some sleep. There's food in the fridge for lunch, I'll be back home around six." Her mother kissed her on her forehead and said, "I'm glad you're home honey." Abby smiled and said, "I am too mom."

After her mother went off to work, Abby took her bag upstairs to her old room. She walked inside and noticed her mom hadn't changed a thing. The walls were still painted beige, her old posters were still on the walls, and the glow in the dark stars were arranged on the ceiling the way she had left them. She opened the window for some fresh air and saw that the tree house was still up in Matt's backyard. She smiled, remembering all the time they had spent up there growing up. After she unpacked a change of clothes she flopped onto her bed and closed her eyes to get some much needed sleep.


Abby crawled up the tree house in Matt's backyard barefoot, still wearing her black dress and sweater. She had to escape the memorial lunch after flipping out on a relative. He had called her by her full name, and she yelled back saying her name was Abby, Only her dad and mom could call her Abigale. She couldn't talk to one more person she didn't know, she couldn't list to one more 'I'm sorry', and she sure couldn't keep herself together for her mom any longer.

It was the first time since she heard the news that he was in a car accident that she was finally able to let it all out. As she cried, Abby felt so alone, so lost. She was always so close with her dad, she was Daddy's girl. And now because some truck driver fell asleep at the wheel he would never smile at her again.

She pounded her fist on the wood floor of the tree house and muttered, "It's not fair. Why did you have to go dad. Why?" She heard rustling below, and quickly moved away from the entrance. "I thought you'd be up here," Matt said while stepping in. "Leave me alone," she said turning her back to him, "I just need to be alone." He shifted up behind her and said, "I'm not going. This is my tree house after all." She grew angry and said, "Fine then I'm leaving, I'll go find somewhere else." She stared to shift her body towards the opening to climb down when he grabbed her shoulder from behind, "You're not leaving." She turned around and faced him, letting him see her bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep and the tears staining her cheek. "Yes I am. I don't want anyone to see me like this," she said before turning away, "Not even you."

He was taller and strong then her, so he pulled her backwards further into the tree house. "Nobody will see you up here. Abby I've known you since we could talk. You can cry up here." She protested for a few minutes, but finally gave into her best friend, and buried her face into his dress shirt. He held onto her as she cried, until she couldn't cry anymore. She told him how much she missed her dad, how upset she was that he would never see her turn 16, go to high school, no more junior hockey games, and no more fishing trips out to the lake. "I'm all alone now Matt," she cried, "I'm all alone." He squeezed her tightly and said, "You're not alone Abby." She cried out, "But My Dad, He's gone. He was taken away. I'll never see him again." Matt tried to comfort her, but she was now hyperventilating in between sobs. "I don't know what to do, I just want to give up" she said in between breathes.

"You can never give up Abby" he said, "You know that he'd yell at you for saying that." She felt Matt loosen his grip as he said, "I know he's gone, but you'll never be alone. I promise." She lifted her head and tried to wipe her glassy eyes, "What?" Matt looked at her with a serious face and said, "It's my turn to look after you. So I won't leave you alone. Ever." He smiled and said, "I'll be playing hockey with you in high school next year, I'll make sure you go to prom and dress like a girl, I'll even make sure you find a boyfriend." He hugged her and said, "I'm no longer Matt the best friend, I'm Matt your big brother!"

Abby let out a giggle and said, "but I'm not really your sister, and who said you get to be the big one?" He shook his head and said, "I'm older by a few months. Besides Abby we've always been almost family, so now we're just making it official." She wiped her eyes again and said, "Well how do we make it official? A handshake or something?" He put his hand on top of hers and said, "I Matthew Norman Niskanen am now your big brother, and I will always look after you." She cracked a smile and then moved her hand from the bottom and put it on top of his, "I, Abigale Marie Matthews am now your little sister, and I will always annoy the crap out of you." They both started laughing, and at that moment she finally started to feel a bit better.


Abby woke up to the sound of her phone ringing, and half asleep she answered, "Hello?" On the other end Matt sounded frantic as he said, "Hey, where are you?" She said, "I'm at home in my bed Matt. Why are you calling?" She heard him sigh on the other end of the line, "Because I got your note. I've been trying to reach you for the past two hours." She started to wake up, and sat up in her old bed, "Sorry I was sleeping, I drove all night." He growled and said, "Don't do that, you scared the hell out of me Abby. I didn't know if you were OK or not."

"Excuse me, but you were the one who told me to leave last night," she said in a harsh tone, "So don't yell at me." The phone went silent for a moment, all she could hear was his breathing on the other side of the line. "I know, I'm sorry. I can't believe I said all that. I was an ass last night, I'll fully admit that." She exhaled slowly and said, "I know you were angry and were drinking, but seriously Matt that was just wrong." He quickly responded, "I know, I know. I feel terrible Abby. I'm already on my way up, I should be there about eleven tonight."

"Well turn around and go back", she said,"You said you wanted to be alone, so I said in the note I wanted to be alone too while I cool off." He paused for a second before responding, "Abby I'm coming up." He didn't give her an opportunity to respond, instead he kept talking "I'm supposed to look out for you, not hurt your feelings. I know I let you down, and I feel awful. That's why I have to come up, I need to make it up to you. You're my sister, I need to be there, I want to be there with you." She laid back down on the bed and said, "OK, but only because you already left." He chuckled on the other line and said, "Good because you don't have a choice. I'll let you go back to sleep Abby. See you when I get in." She told him goodbye and let out a sigh, one down, one to go.

Abby looked at her phone and there no missed calls or messaged from James, just six missed calls from Matt.She sighed and wondered if maybe she should reach out and text him. But what could she say? Hey are you still being a jerk? Call me? "Ugh," she said staring up at the ceiling, "Why can't things just be easy!" Maybe she would be lucky. He would call her. He had to call her. Maybe he was still sleeping. Yeah, maybe that was it. At least, that's was what she hoped.
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I hope you enjoyed the flashbacks. I had a few people mention they wanted a bit more about her and Matt growing up, so here you go!