The wind had been howling nearly all day long yet everything about this night seemed almost enchanting, from the crunch of the snow under your feet to the apparition of steamy breath right in front of my eyes. The patches of moonlight were illuminating my street broke through the thick layer of clouds that covered the city. It had been nearly a year’s time since we had weather as amazing as this.
Last year, this time, the fun that my friends and I had was unforgettable. The conditions outside were almost exactly the same as tonight: the way the snow collected on the grass, and the way each individual snowflake melted as it landed on my bare skin. The snow was magnificent in the way that after just a few paces, so the place you just stood was completely obscured from view.
The only place that you could see for a distance was in the large overgrown forest behind my house. I decided to take a walk along the same path that we had been down so many times as a group, including last year. Found my favorite spot underneath the same old cherry tree that my girlfriend and I had etched our names into so many summers ago. I could still feel the engravings even with my numb fingers as I ran my flush hand over the icy trunk of the tree. It seemed that I was reliving my memories of her in this sacred place in the new snowy landscape. She was running through my mind with random flashes of moments in time where she and I had once been so happy together and in love. Each bat of our eyes made them all the more heavy.
I couldn’t believe that I had managed to fall asleep outside in a snowstorm.I awoke feeling cold and sleepy. Somehow the large cherry tree I had fallen asleep underneath kept the cold powdery snow off of me. I guess the storm had slowed down now since I could see quite far, but under the trees it seemed just as strong with clumps of snow sliding down the tree branches and dissipating mid air into millions of snowflakes just waiting to melt the moment they touched the lush forest ground. Picking myself up and brushing the little bit of snow off my jacket, I started heading home. But the moment I looked up from my spot that I had been resting in I saw her standing there. She was just as I remembered her from the previous year except she seemed faded into the background almost as though she suffered from snow blindness with an aura of light around her. She stood there with a blank expression on her face, as if she was just as startled as I was to see her.
I moved closer to her, completely awestruck that I was seeing her in this place again. She began to fade from view more and more until light was all that was left of her. I closed my eyes again, it seemed almost like slow motion and when I opened them I was in the exact same spot as I had been before I had fallen asleep. It was as though no time had passed at all, I was still just as tired. The memory was there still fresh in my mind. I could still picture her rosy red cheeks even though they were faded as if she were made of snow. I went to run my fingers over the engravings in the tree, but what I felt shocked me. There was only my initial by the heart that we had carved so long ago. She had faded from my mind, losing herself to the snow.
WORDS and PHOTOS by Camper Ruybal