Every morning, Monday through Friday, I prepare myself for each day. I’m never in a big hurry as what I do would seem strange to some, frightening to others and who knows; perhaps downright scary.
But here it is, what some people call the dreaded Monday. The start of a work week for hundreds of thousands of people.
People. They are an amazing lot. Here, they are certainly the odd species. One in particular I have come to study and find infinitely wonderful in her charm, wit, personality and her above-average intelligence. I have classed her as nice-looking, fit, and outgoing.
In the next few minutes, I will be seeing her again.
It is a cold Monday and to be expected for the middle of January. Here I stand at a corner waiting for a city bus. A bus that houses temporary travelers going to work or school, a doctor’s appointment or shopping. There are even a few that ride the bus all day for no other reason rather than enjoying the trip. I have classed those people as dull, unimaginative, and boring. Myself, I have found buses and shopping malls my best bets for summation and reporting the information to my superiors.
Here she comes. Her name is nothing exotic, just simply, Patti. She knows me as Richard.
She smiles and says her good morning to me and I return the favor. We discuss each other’s weekend, of which mine I fabricate to her for even though we get along extremely well, I don’t quite believe she could either handle what I really did or the truth of who I am. She is such the inquisitive one. Question after question she brings to me, and each answer is an obvious lie coming from my lips, but I have no choice, such is it my work entails, one, no one must know about.
Just before the bus arrives, the first January flakes of snow fall. And I keenly watched her expression of an honest joy that escaped through her lips, it was at that moment when the snowflake landed on her nose. All I wanted to do at that point was to reach out and touch the snowflake that melted quickly against her skin to see if in that brief second it felt her spirit, her warmth.
The bus arrived, and we boarded. Patti was on her way to work, and I, to a shopping mall, to study people as I do the same ones who ride the bus each week.
To some, it may sound like a trivial thing, perhaps even boring, but where I call home, this is vital to all those who live there.
I come from Gatarnium, not a place anyone would know of. We live in the third dimension of this planet’s galaxy and all of us are shape-shifters as it is called here. On my home world, we are simply a race of changers. In our true form, we would be considered ugly and frightening, but in due respect we are far from that. We are a race of peace and abiding, oh what is that word, I hear it hear so often, it’s, it’s ... oh yes, I remember, love.
But my task is to report all I learn, so that my superiors can best determine if this a habitable world. This planet does have its share of negatives but for the most part, the humans are quite interesting. In two more months my assignment will be over, and I return home, and honestly, I hope my reports have all been met with favor.
The bus stops and several people get off and a very few get on. In two more stops, Patti will depart and then go half a block into a building where she works. The snow is coming down thicker now. The sidewalks we drive by are already covered in a blanket of tender whiteness, and people scurry to get out from under the wetness falling.
The bus stops again. Patti stands and as she always does, she wished me to have a wonderful day, and I return those words in kind. The bus, stopped at a red light, allowing me time to gaze a few extra seconds as she quickly walks to the building, opens the door and disappears from sight. But there will be tomorrow.
Perhaps tomorrow, if the snow is still falling, and another flake lands on her nose, or slides across her cheek, I may reach out and touch it, and feel its coldness or its warmth.
the perfect crime?
I’d been turning her body every 5 minutes for the last hour while her blood froze when it finally started snowing. The snowflake landed on her nose, pure white against the paleness of death. I was so exhausted all I wanted to do at that point was curl up on the frozen ground and sleep. Though if I did that I would end up just as dead as Jessica.
Jessica’s beautiful golden brown eyes stared glassily back at me. I loved her once. I thought she was everything I needed. A balm for the battered psyche left behind by the death of my wife. A mother for my little Annalina. God. Annalina. I hope I didn’t just lose you both parents.
I didn’t necessarily mean to kill her, but I didn’t help her either. When Jessica tripped and broke her ankle I saw my opportunity to be rid of her. Underneath those beautiful golden eyes and auburn hair beat the heart of a monster.
When I had first seen the bruises on Annalina during her bath Jessica told me they were from the playground at school, that she had already talked to the teachers, you know how rough kids play. I was so busy at work and Jess seemed so genuine...of course I believed her. But there were little things. As time passed I noticed that Annalina would cry every single time Jess put her to bed. Then I found out she had been wetting the bed.
Jess had gone out with friends one night and I had to clean up Annalina after a bedwetting accident. She was still half asleep when I wiped her down with a warm cloth in the bathroom and her little hands flew to her privates and she whimpered, “No Jess”. My heart turned to ice. Without even asking, I just knew. It clicked into place. Jessica. Jessica had been hurting my baby.
As I stood there and looked down on her pale, frozen face I knew I had made the right decision. After making sure her keys were in her pocket I stuffed her down jacket under my own, obliterated my boot prints with a fir branch, and carefully traced my tracks back down to the car, pounding and swiping my prints as I went. I left her jacket in her car and moved the driver’s seat forward. I tossed my phone under the passenger seat. I had kept on my hat, gloves, scarf, jacket, and boots then entire time. The roaring fire waiting for me in the furnace would serve double duty tonight. As satisfied as I could be I started the long, cold, 3 mile walk home in the dark just as the snow turned to freezing rain.
The snowflake landed on her nose. And all I wanted to do at this point was
a smile. Overwhelmed with emotion and excitement of the new snow, I knew
she would love not only the brightness that it brings but also the cool feeling
that she has never felt from something so small. No one knew about the
life she has had in the bubble in her family house. I knew she was only
allowed to look out the window for years. She saw snow, she knew what it
was but she never had the chance to touch it or see the whole picture. When
the window filled up with snow from the outside she couldn't see anymore.
Her whole life was lived from a bubble from an illness she had since birth.
I knew it called for snow today, I decided I was going to sneak in her house
open the bubble door and quickly run her to the porch to feel the snow.
She wasn't at harm, because I heard her doctor say she could
if ever needed, go outside
for no longer than 30 minutes in case there were a fire or emergency. Well,
this was an emergency. It very seldom snows here and this was going to be
a miracle. So let's make two miracles happen at once I thought. It's dull cloudy
and the wind was nippy, so I made sure she had enough clothes on to block
the difference. We went to the porch and her face lit up. I didn't know if it was
too cold or not but she had the biggest smile a person could ever see. And that's
when it happened. The snowflake landed on her nose. And all I wanted to do at this point was a smile.
The snowflake landed on her nose, and all I could think about at that moment was how curious it all was. That snowflake didn’t melt, but instead rested proudly and glistened on the tip her delicate little nose. Come to think of it, there were many strange things about this little girl. She appeared out of nowhere, really. One minute I was alone in the woods making a snowangel, you know, just for old times’ sake... the same way I did when I was a child. Then suddenly she was there... staring back at me, unblinking. She was standing there barefoot in the knee high snowdrifts and wearing only what appeared to be a thin, white nightgown. I was gobsmacked, and couldn’t even bring myself to speak to her, ask her if she was okay. She just stood silently in the frigid air, without even a shiver. I could hear her breathing lightly, but I distinctly noted that I couldn’t see the condensation of her breath against the cold night. All at once, her form was enveloped in a warm, golden light that illuminated the dark woods. When the light waned, she sprouted two elegant ice like wings from between her shoulder blades. Then I blinked, and she was gone.
The snowflake landed on her nose. All I wanted to do at that point was kiss her. She stood there staring up in wonder at the timeless grey sky, smiling to herself out of habit. Winter brought life to her face, like no other season could, enriching every conversation, plan and habit we shared. I reached out to her then and she took my hand, letting her face turn to me, the snowflake now nothing more than a wet drip on her upper lip. Her smile never wavered as she pulled me in and leaned against me, watching the snow continue to fall. I kissed her cheek and I could feel her head turn towards mine as she kissed my chin. Our lips met for a brief moment before we turned again to the snow.
Slowly, as I stood there my heart full, her warmth faded away, her hand slipping away from mine as I woke to a world of bright autumn sun.
Wishing the dream back was no use as I already felt the sinking in my chest. The all too familiar feeling of loss. How fondly I remembered her, how deeply I wished to be beside her.
To watch the the snowflakes fall with her. Sometimes wishes are nothing more than scattered memories.
Winter Snow - Part 1
She stormed out of the house in a rage into the cold cold evening. The blush on her cheeks was red as roses, making her red hair even brighter. The tears streamed down her cheeks once she was out of view of the house.
Oh, the memories I had with her. When I would rock her to sleep, or cradle her in my arms. Push her while she was on the swings. Join her in her creation of imaginary worlds.
But she’d never remember me after fifteen years, even if I showed myself to her. They made sure of that.
“I’m so done with this shithole of a town! If only it would at least snow.” That was something I could do for her. With the snap of my finger I summoned the nimbostratus clouds. I knew Sol would get upset with me but I decided to face him later.
The first snowflake landed on her nose. All I wanted to do at that point was follow her and see what she did. Her eyes opened very wide and her body jolted. She delicately touched her nose and wiped it off of her nose, looking at her hand in disbelief. Yet one after another, snowflakes began to fall all around her. A grin emerged on her face, accentuating her beautiful eyes that we shared. She was even more astonished when she saw that the snow was falling in a fifteen foot circle around her (I didn’t want that much shit from Sol, I’m not stupid enough to make it snow in an entire town in the Southern US).
She transformed before my eyes into a child. She was rolling, kicking, throwing, and spinning in the snow. Her laughter filled the air with music. I basked in her joy, so tempted to join her.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stepped out of the shade of the trees and began to walk towards the snow circle. When I made it to the rim of the circle, I stood there marvelling at the sight, wishing it would never end... And then she saw me. Her face went from the huge smile of joy to a quizzical, searching kind of look. Then something clicked within her. She dropped the snow in her arms and slowly inched towards me.
″... Winter? Is that you?” Hearing her say my name pierced my heart. She can see me? She remembers me?
“Hi Summer.” She unexpectedly pounced onto me and pinned me down. I thought she was going to attack me but she wrapped her arms around my body and began to sob. I didn’t know what to do with my hands. I didn’t know how to react to this. I couldn’t believe she knew me. One of my arms rested on her head with the other on her back. I pet her hair and tried to soothe her as she cried into my shoulder. Her shudders decreased and soon she was able to sit up... still on top of me.
“How did you escape? Are they coming after you?” What?
“Whoa whoa. What are you talking about?”
“They took you away from me. They tried to make me forget you existed but I knew you were real. I knew that You were real. I’ve been waiting for you for so damn long.”
“Summer... I kind of have something to tell you-”
“I know that you can control the weather. I control it too! Just different elements. I’ve hidden mine so they wouldn’t take me, but I can control heat.” Her words sent me spinning. She knew everything? “But we need to leave now if we want to stay together again!”
“That won’t help us. That won’t help you!”
“We have to try. ”
“But Sum-” she leaned down and pressed her lips to mine. I was taken aback as the taste of peppermint pleasantly hit me. She sat back up, her eyes sparkling in the moonlight. I knew now why she wanted to run. And I would gladly go with her wherever she led, even if we were slowly killing each other the longer and closer we got to one another.
I looked at the ground behind her. All the snow was gone and the grass was dried out - dead. Our world destruction was beginning - but would it be worth our love?
The snowflake landed on her nose. All I wanted to do at that point was flick it off.
I knew it was going to drive me crazy, watching it balance effortlessly on the tip of her nose like that. With no wind to speak of, I knew it wasn’t going to move on its own either. I couldn’t walk up and breathe on her face to melt it... I’d probably get punched. Trying to covertly blow it off would be a high risk, high reward maneuver. What could I do?
I suppose I could stop looking at it; that might be the best solution.
No, it was too late. I couldn’t help but stare. It was all I could focus on. It was gigantic too! How did she not notice it? I could practically feel it on my own nose. The cold, wet, melting sensation, expanding almost imperceptibly, was making me twitch as I stood there staring.
Wipe it off! I thought. It was slowly melting into a small bead of water, still big enough to annoy me, but weightless enough to hang frustratingly off the tip of her nose for God knows how much longer.
My mind was stirring itself into a frenzy. How does that not bug you!? Wipe the *%#&ing thing off!!!
She must have somehow heard me losing my mind. Her head spun toward me, the momentum flinging the drop of water off her nose and in my direction. It splashed against my forehead, causing me to wipe the sleeve of my shirt across my face. I immediately felt my heartrate begin to slow down when I noticed her nose again. The satisfaction of seeing her bare skin, free of any lingering remnants of the wayward snowflake, was palpable.
My gaze scanned upward and focused on her eyes, and I noticed her staring at me. “Excuse me?” she asked.
“Yeah?” I replied.
She pointed at me. “You have a little drop of water there on your forehead. It’s kind of annoying. Could you wipe it off please?”
Oh my god I thought. Who is this girl? I have to have her!
Area Code 999
The snowflake landed on her nose. All I wanted to do at that point was dream with this cuteness that I was there on the other side of the screen, calling from the back door for her to run on home to an overflow of hot cocoa with whipped cream, sipped behind the drapery of the living room window where the fire crackles like a cackle of geese, returning already for next season with the unfolding gladiolous and azelea leaves. The spontaneous smile turns into an internal scream... What a wicked and splendid machine, the modern phone, showing us how much we miss between the moments we would capture in a photo if allowed to be close; a lake of ice, cut so neat and precise that the fingers skate across with always a threat of cracking up... a laugh, a shattered tear... for all the separations from what we love.
The sliver of white that hugged the tree line on the verge between grass and wooded way, indicated that spring but not quite was dawning.
The dying grasps of a wretched winters fingers skirted the boundaries.
The naked twigs of hedges stood like tiptoed feet wading through spilled milk.
Undergarments of gloom hid the scurrying creatures and things of no interest to the passing gaze.
My thoughts disturbed the crisp worlds stillness as I watched the lace of crystal elegantly descend appearing seemingly from nowhere swaying on a unfelt breeze.
The snowflake landed on her nose. All I wanted to do at that point was be home and snug, rolled in counterpane, glowing orange warmth and naked skin.
I wanted to deny the unfolding crime of time and nature. I was turning away from the hope of that melting corridor of spring that would more swiftly come and take her away . Our drawn days would loose reach of their shadow fingers across the land. Dawns would warm and sap would rise and buds would fill with promised green as I would fill with promised dread knowing that she would have to leave.
“What did the weatherman say?”
“He said there is only a slim chance of a white Christmas. But a slim chance is still a chance.”
“Do you mean to tell me I drove all the way up from Pickens, South Carolina to see snow and we ain’t gonna get no damn snow? Damn girl. You told me we were gonna spend a white Christmas together all cozied up by the fireplace, sipping on cocoa and some of that there eggnog stuff you Northern people like to drink at the holidays. Didn’t even get 15 mpg on my pick up, and the damn EZ pass was hotter than hot with all them damn tolls. They be robbin people blind up here, not to mention the traffic congestion. How do you get by up here? I could a been catching me some damn catfish right now, castin and chillin, eatin a free meal, but no. Are you gonna make it up to me with some sugar? What you got for big Pappa?”
“I don’t know what to tell you. Remember you contacted me first on the dating website. You said you didn’t mind traveling to meet someone like me and now I’m sorry you came up. Sounds like you were looking for snow and instead you will settle for some sugar. Don’t do me any favors. Why don’t you just go back to your catfish in your damn redneck town.”
“Whoa. Hey girl. Easy with that talk. Don’t you know better than to get a redneck mad? Just kidding. Just kidding. I like to kid. You will have to get to know my sense of humor. I don’t need no damn snow. All I want to do is get to know you. Let’s go out back a get some wood for the fireplace and settle in for some romance. I’m sorry. There is nothing about you that I’m settling for. Just a little disappointed about the weather forecast, but no big deal. It ain’t your fault. My niece is the one that got me all worked up about the snow in NY. She wants me to bring her back a snowball! She kept showing me pics of people playing in the snow. There was this one of a pretty woman in a purple coat that I gotta say looked a little like you. The snowflake landed on her nose and all I wanted to do at that point was drop everything and come run up and here and kiss that snowflake. It’s really not about the snow Sugar. It’s about you. Now give me some sugar, Sugar. The snow can wait, but I can’t.”