Shhhh … it’s snowing.
I’ve always loved the first snow. I love it secretly, because in Minnesota we’re quick to grouch and gripe over that first dusting. It just signals the beginning of what always feels like an endless, oppressive winter.
Winter here settles in. She makes herself comfortable. She spreads out. “I’m not going anywhere,” she says. She covers our cards and houses in her sugary dust and slicks our roads with sleet and ice. Her breath draws pictures on the windows.
But the first snow is magical, no matter if it appears early in November or late in December. It will come at the least opportune moment, this we can count on. The weather has the ability to keep you captive, to turn your clocks back and make you late. It can throw you around and it can hold you close. And when you awaken early to your familiar street blanketed in a fresh coat of snow, you feel like a child just for a moment. The weather is an unstoppable, immeasurable force.
“You’re my soulmate,” you texted me and I hear it in a whisper now, when I think about it. I was on the dance floor, stuffed full of steak and red wine, and I was texting you our secret jokes the way I always do. When you didn’t have a phone for a handful of days I wrote down everything I wanted to share with you. Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize soulmate as a word, but you’re mine regardless.
When the first snow falls, I go digging through our archives to find the things you wrote about it. Like twins, like soulmates, we wrote often in tandem. I’d write something and post it only to find you had done the same earlier that day. We appeared often in the other’s stories; you burned a cardigan in my front yard, I eulogized the moment. I think about that cardigan a lot. We saw the world in the same way, then. Our eyes were open and greedy. We were younger, more eager, and less adept at handling our mutual sadnesses. We were young and beautiful and sad, then.
Every year I go looking for the essay you wrote about the snow and about cigarettes and sex and every year I struggle to find it. You wrote it after the December sky opened up in 2010 and dumped thick piles of snow on the city and that blizzard was the catalyst for the big shift we were about to experience. I remember reading it when you wrote it and it hurt me in a way I couldn’t really process. You handled the words in such a deft, dreamy manner that it made me furious and it made me feel sick. We were always mourning things that weren’t dead. We mourned the end of our relationship before it even happened.
In a window somewhere, a child is processing snow for the first time. “Hello snow! Hello snow!” He calls to it. He’ll walk through it, unsure of the crunch and shhhshhh beneath his little boots.
We’ll hold hands. We’ll go out into all that white.