Story of a Snow Child
We will meet in front of the station. The snow fills the air like white rain and the dogs on leashes walk with high steps, shaking their paws to loosen the snow that hangs in dense white beads in their paws. He will come soon, and then we will step through the doors into the warm station and board the train and leave. Forever.
Lila, Lila, he had said. How can you say it is too much too fast too far? It is love and love sets us free. We will leave this place and make our own life in a little house in a green field in the country.
I am not a fool. It is winter, and the world is covered with snow, and there are no green fields in the country right now. Yet I am drawn to him like a magnet is drawn to a pole, and I cannot abide one more day in my house where the walls are gray and the old woman sits in the corner by the fire, cracking nuts and eating the soft white meat of them with her teeth like gravestones.
I know, I know, she said yesterday, peering at me with gray eyes swimming in damp yellow pools. I know what you’re thinking, and let me tell you, it’s worse than anything I could cook up. Then she cackled, as if she were auditioning for the part of wicked witch at the opera house.
You’re not my mother,” I snapped. That used to bother her, but this time she just cackled again and said, “I made you from a pile of snow and you will never be warm. Your heart is black ice cut from the river, from the dark part near the bank, where the frogs sleep. ”
I threw a ladle at her then, because she made me mad, but it went wide--it shouldn’t have, I have good aim--and clattered against the stone wall.
She wants me to be a figure in a story, an ice girl who wants warmth. But I will show her. My flesh is as real as her’s, and I will give it to warmth and passion and fire and then she will see that my story is my own.
I will live in a green field in the country. I will pick flowers and milk cows and sweep my bare wood floor every morning. I will have a baby as warm as the breath of my love, and he will have golden ringlets and blue eyes.
My love comes to me in a red cape, red as fire, red as love. When he holds me, his skin is chilled on the surface but warm underneath, snow and blood. I put my cold hand in his and when we enter the station, I gasp in the sudden heat, but I pull him forward with me, pull and pull and pull until we reach the train.
Mary Rees lives in Alabama with her three boys, three dogs, and two walking fish. She holds a Ph. D. in Literature in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Georgia State University. Her work has appeared in Brain, Child Magazine and the Mississippi Review, among others.
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