The first snow happened while she was sleeping. She awoke on Thursday to find that crescent-shaped mist obscuring the lower halves of the windows. She pressed a hand to the window by her bed and felt calmed by the chill that spread through her palm, to the end of her fingers. A thin white sheet lay over what she could see–the kind that still let you see the grass underneath. She liked a more solid covering, but at least this was a hint of what would come.
She liked the cold. Not the sort of freezing cold that made you shiver, but the permeating, ever-present cold that tinged her whole world from November to March or April.
Her favorite days were the sunny, cold ones. When snow lay thick on the ground, and every breath hung in the air in puffed clouds, and the skin of her hands would be pink by the time she got inside. Her friend Michelle always said “You should wear gloves, or your skin’s going to be so dry.” But she liked to feel the cold on her fingertips. And the sun shone off the snowbanks on all sides, sparkling almost too bright to look at.
She liked the cold, but not the dark.
Sliding off her bed, she went to check the thermostat and start the tea kettle. Sixty-six degrees, just right. She would brew her green tea with lemon and wait for the cup to cool a bit. She liked to drink it just when it ceased to be hot, and before it became lukewarm.
She washed her face, and as the tea brewed, she pressed her back against the kitchen window to let the cold in.
It didn’t snow any more. Temperatures steadily increased and a few days later, all the snow had melted. It rained twice after that.
She knew it would snow again soon.
The cold rains never made her feel as peaceful inside as the snow did. Perhaps it was the white quilt snow left on the world. It seemed more substantial than the dreary puddles rain put in her path, holding more possibilities than just wet feet.
The weather grew colder again. Down to thirty-seven this day. Thirty the next. It climbed to forty-two then, but suddenly dropped to twenty-five and then the second snow began.
This time, she was awake. She had woken early from a dream she could not quite grasp. She got up for some water, and as she poured, the snow began.
It was just before six in the morning. The sky was sprinkling down fluffy snow faster and faster. Delighted, she laughed. Still in her pajamas with just a thin pair of socks on, she stepped out onto her porch for a moment. Snowflakes brushed against her face, leaving a cold dusting across her cheeks. This was what she wanted. She really felt the cold start to settle into her body, and she spread her arms to welcome it.
It snowed enough that her workplace emailed employees to tell them to stay home that day. If she did not have to work, she would not stay home. She tugged on boots, not to keep the cold out, but because it would otherwise be impossible to walk through the snow that had built up by then. Layering just enough to keep herself cold without freezing, she went for a walk.
The streets were deserted. No one appreciated snow the way she did. It fell fast and obscured her vision, enveloping her in an accepting embrace. Moments like this were the only time she felt at home.
When she returned to her apartment, it felt too warm there. She turned the thermostat off. She wanted the cold, her old friend, to stay with her.
She dreamed that night that as she was walking in the snow, the snow was walking in her. Leaving footprints. It spread through her chest, her arms and legs, toes, fingers, and up to her face. It was a deep snow, reaching to her lungs and heart. It could not quite get to the farthest reaches of her mind, and some warmth remained there.
When she woke, she had begun to turn to snow.
Her skin was becoming frosty, that sparkling sheen covering her arms and legs. An icy blue peeked through from lower layers of skin, even extending through her hair.
Most notable of all was the cold. For the first time, it felt like part of her. In fact, it was coming from inside her.
She knew what was happening was very strange, and that she should be worried, but she had never felt more serene or content in her life. So she simply let it happen.
Looking in the mirror, she saw the glittering icy blue that had taken over her skin, the glowing, snowy hair that now topped her head, and the deep gray of her eyes–that had not changed–and thought she had never looked more beautiful or more like herself.
I am … a Snow Queen, she thought.
And the snow kept walking within her, and it trekked through the most secret corners of her being, until it knew her perfectly. It extended through her mind and connected with the parts of her no other person could ever know.
And she walked out into the stormy, gusting snow, and was welcomed.
Copyright Deva Jasheway, 2014