‘Kay started hanging out with all these boys and forgot all about Gerda,’ Gheeta added, more slowly.
‘Who? What now? What kind of name is that?’
Gheeta ignored her. She was thinking about how Keisha might have got some mirror in her eye. It could’ve been mirror all along and not chilli at all. That was why she had been so mean - her heart had turned to ice. It might be why she’d left her behind and stopped being her friend.
‘That’s when the Snow Queen comes into the story. Kay goes off with her to her Snow Palace which is made out of ice and nowt lives there.’
Gheeta started to think about Keisha’s secondary school then. Could that be the Snow Palace? Everyone knew it was the roughest school in Sheffield. It was like a prison, in that everyone who went there turned bad.
‘Why?’ asked Keisha, interrupting her thoughts.
‘Why does he go?’
‘Oh. He’s playing with all his new mates in the snow and he ties his sledge to the Snow Queen’s sleigh for a laugh and she just takes him away.’
Keisha made the sucking noise again. ‘What does the girl do?’
Gheeta paused then, because it was turning into her story, not Gerda’s. Keisha had gone off with Courtney, The Sheffield Snow Queen, and left her behind.
‘She’s really sad, even though Kay was nasty to her and that, she still misses him, like really badly.’ Gheeta can feel a lump in her throat, but she carries on. ‘Everyone thinks Kay is dead, because there’s this river nearby and they all say he’s drowned in it, but Gerda doesn’t believe that and so she throws her shoes in the river - only they come back.’
‘I don’t really get that bit,’ admitted Gheeta. ‘I think it’s like an offering to get him back but the river is saying it never took him so it don’t want no shoes.’
‘You’re losing me.’
‘Point is, Gerda knows Kay is alive, so she starts on this epic journey to find him. She gets a load of help, like from singing flowers, a crow and a princess and this bandit girl, -‘
‘What like, Banaan?’ interrupted Keisha.
Gheeta thought about Banaan, the girl from her class who’d been nicknamed, Bandit, because of all the stuff she pinched. She was surprised Keisha could remember her, but then Keisha was acting totally different, like nothing had happened, like there was no Courtney and they were both still at Park Hill Primary. Could this be it? Could she be coming back? Would it be like before?
‘She finds him then?’ Keisha asked.
Gheeta nodded. ‘Yeah and he’s nearly turned to ice. He’s doing this weird puzzle that the Snow Queen has told him if he gets it right he’s like the master of his own destiny. She’s off frosting up the world, or whatever and when Gerda sees Kay she cries and cuddles and kisses him. That’s how the piece in his heart gets out, then he cries and washes out the bit in his eye.’
Keisha was looking right at Gheeta; it was like she was seeing her for the first time, properly noticing her. Were her eyes watering?
‘What about the puzzle?’ she asked and even her voice sounded a bit choked. This had to be it, the mirror was dissolving, Keisha was coming back and leaving Courtney behind.
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