There’s snow in the forecast. Tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and find my world covered in a small dusting that will crunch under my feet. I’ll wake up early and go for a walk before the sun has a chance to mess with Mother Earth’s most beautiful creation—The First Snow. In my transformed city, I ask for one thing. Join me. Just for today. Just this once.
I’ll show you the world that I discovered in youth—now patched up and glossy in its new shiny coat. I’ll take your hand and walk around until fingers grow numb in each other’s clutch. Down the road from my house—we’ll be the first to leave tracks. Two by two. Two by two. All bundled up in clothes that feel new, I’ll find your eyes and tell you the truth. This world is ours. We’ll make it ours.
Your brown eyes glow under the dimly rising sun. I’ll take you by the scarf and give you that kiss. You’ll give me that smile you don’t know how to dismiss. When our breath runs short, we’ll start again. Hand in hand, down our icy avenue. I point out the sagging branch from the house that got foreclosed last April. You point out the icicles already starting to form even though the sun has barely risen.
Then you laugh. I said something funny but forgot what I was. You don’t understand why my memory is so bad. I try to explain that it isn’t my memory. It’s you. I say things for the sole purpose of making you laugh. That laugh traps me in a place where we are the only two people who exist. Until you stop laughing, I have no escape. So, when that sound stops and you try to carry on the conversation…don’t be surprised that I look lost.
We take the corner and find ourselves on the main road. It’s chilling how deserted and silent the world has become. My take on the world—where the two of us are alone—seems almost real. As we stride carefully along the slick path, I tell you what it was like to grow up here. Strange. I talk about my city differently when it’s white. The snow does not transform my city into a white version of itself. It changes itself entirely. The look is different, obviously. But the people are differently too. The way we interact is calmer. The roads are quieter. The smell is…breathtaking.
We spend the next several minutes coming up with a new name for this new city. When I finally agree with you, we find ourselves at my park. Even my park is different. A strange sense of nostalgia creeps into my veins. I do not know this place. But I recognize its peaks, valleys, and turns. It’s a gift. A place that reminders me of the past begging to be explored anew. With you.
I bring you to a park full of memories. So many conversations. So many friends. So many past flings. The thought of the girls who scatter my past confuses me. I stop. Look down at you. Whisper. I ask you why it took so long. So much pain could have been avoided. So much love could have been shared. You bite your lip and grab my neck. The question vanishes when you reach your tip-toes and kiss me. My eyes flutter shut
You tell me that we had to wait. We had to learn to recognize each other. We had to get past the hiccups of romance so we wouldn’t ruin this chance. We had to make our mistakes. Go through our phases. Lay down our roots. Tear them up. Start again. We had to do it all so that, when the time was right, we would look at each other and say: I found you.
In the darkness behind my eyelids, her words echo. At first they comfort me. But then the echo carries on for far too long. How far does it go? I recognize the words that do not stop. “When the time was right.” They fly through the darkness with no end. How far are her words flying today? Terrified, I open my eyes.
I find myself alone in the park I call my own. I fall to my knees. Wet. I let out an icy breathe. Cold. I made this walk alone. I imagined a world in which “the time was right.” I imagined the world I wish I was born into. It does not exist. I cannot walk with you on the first snow. I cannot explore the untamed city with you in my hand. I cannot kiss you on the nose and tell you I won’t be going anywhere.
How do I tell you? Seriously. How do I explain that a weather report brought this all on? How do I tell you that I consider leaving it all just for a chance by your side? How do I tell you that my brain found a way to rewire itself overnight? Somehow, now, all brainwaves lead to you. You fill the gaps between my thoughts. I function differently now. I wait in anticipation to see your name with you text me. My body waits for the day it can hold you again.
There is snow in the forecast.
Every flake will remind me of you.