This short story was published in UCD’s literary magazine “The Bell” in 2012. It’s the first piece of work of mine that was published. As you can imagine, it’s a very important piece to me. But not only for that reason. This short story is important because this was me, all me. No fiction, no embellishing, this is really what I did and how I felt. And though it may not be a fantastic literary piece, I am unbelievably proud of it.
I hope you enjoy it.
When I woke up this morning it was snowing. It was enough to lift my mood, which rarely happens these days. I was already dressed and halfway down the stairs before I realised. Thick flakes of snow swirled down from the heavens, making the world look like a fairytale. The car journey to work was more interesting than usual. Memories flooded back; I was seven years old again playing in the snow with friends. I relived the biting cold of the snow packed into my small palm before I threw it and laughed as it hit the back of a friend’s neck. I remembered getting too cold, my hands numb and aching from the soaking wet wool of my gloves. I ran inside and my gloves, hat, scarf and jacket were hung on the radiator in the hall while I sat on the floor in the living room with my back to the radiator as I sipped hot chocolate.
We got to the town quicker than usual, or so it seemed. Stepping out of the car and grunting a goodbye to my mother, I take a deep breath of cold air. Yanking up my hood I start to walk. That walk to work has become so routine to me that I barely check for traffic anymore. This morning found me in a daze, lost in the snow. I watch it swirl around me on the breath of the wind, tracing patterns in the air. A flake lands on my bottom lip and I lick it off with a smile. It tastes clean and somehow magical, like fairy dust in my mouth.
I pass the primary school, where a few children wait for the gates to open. I grin at them but they don’t see me. Two boys on bikes stare at the gates intently from under their hoods willing them to open. A girl in a peach coloured coat spins round in circles, her face turned skywards, catching snowflakes in her mouth and eyes. She laughs and my heart longs to spin in the snow like she does. The world catches up with me again and the smile slides from my face. I will never be that carefree again.
I walk on. So wildly are the white slivers falling that they beat at my face and I squint and then laugh at how silly I must look. The thing with snow is, if it’s coming towards you on the wind, your immediate reaction is to protect your eyes though a snowflake doesn’t hurt. It refreshes. I look up at the sky. It’s almost a blank canvas. The bare hint of cloud winks at me and sends more white dust to make me smile. A snowflake drops slowly and I see it before it clutches to my eyelashes. I let it melt and dribble down my cheek like a saltless tear…
It snowed all morning. Whenever I stood near a window at work, it hypnotised me. I watched it’s patterns until it finally began to thin. By lunchtime it was raining, washing away any trace of the mystery world that had been there all morning. My heart grew heavy again and the elated feeling in my chest dispersed. I had lived in my fairytale for such a short time but it was enough for me to add a different detail to the world in my imagination. I made it snow, and I was seven years old, dancing with no cares save the threat of the weather changing. Oh, how our dreams change. How our childhoods feel like pictures seen through other people. And how our eyes fill with real salty tears.