If you were with me last week, you'll remember I was in despair. I hadn't written a piece of fiction in so long, I was beginning to doubt myself and my abilities.
Then, on Wednesday night, I began thinking about all of those green snowflakes littering my desk. Inspiration flashed. I left the computer, grabbed an old-fashioned tablet of college-ruled paper, hopped into bed, and WROTE. I struggled for two hours and came up with an almost illegible rough draft of a short-short. The next morning I spent over an hour deciphering my handwriting (yeah, that's an image of the mess there on the right).
While this work isn't going to win any award, I'm satisfied that I closed my eyes and leaped. So, without further ado, the final draft of . . .
"Snowflakes on the Pond"
The first snowflake to fall into the pond was green. It was born as a sheet of ruled tablet paper that had been torn from a long silver coil tarnished by salty fingers. It smelled of lilacs and budding trees, and as it matured, its swirling graphite shapes sprouted into tentative words. After the introduction, it laughed at the students swapping secrets behind the life-sized, leaping-human mobile hanging in the library and hummed a few bars of old hit songs. It teased her about the crooked toes peeping from cracked leather and complained of homework and tests and a boring lecture that had made his head drop to his chest. The first snowflake was then folded lengthwise twice before being rolled flatly and tucked closed with a crisp triangle. “To ‘You,’ from ‘Me,’” it read and was hidden in his book before finding a home under a battered windshield wiper.
Now the note is splitting at the seams, stained from tears and drowning beneath the murky waters of the pond.
The second snowflake to fall into the pond was pink. It smelled like genuine imitation French perfume and spoke as softly as the mourning dove that coos to the dawning coral sun. It smiled and chuckled as “You” (her toes now hidden in a pair of candy-striped socks) mispronounced silly sentimental words and sang a song to “Me” from the ruled green tablet paper. Afterward they shared a box of artificially-buttered popcorn, munching the hot kernels as they made angels in the warm summer sand. When the game was over, the two held one another and whispered to the first star. “You” wished for forever, wanting their lives to continue beyond this sensation of newfound happiness. “Me” added more popcorn to the star’s shopping list before decorating the second snowflake with mulberry hearts from a jumbo box of crayons. He folded it neatly into thirds and slid it into a plain white envelope that bore the name “You.” He then sneaked it into her shiny black purse (the one he bought her) when she wasn’t looking and waited patiently for her to find it.
Now the yellowed envelope is torn from frigid fingers by the chilled autumn wind and cast into the pond. The second snowflake is companion to the first.
The third snowflake is blue. It remembers that his eyes were the color of maple syrup and glowed (just a little) whenever he spoke her name or teased her about those toes. It recalls tousled brown hair and the chewed-up pencil that always rested behind his ear. It sees those shirts with the stitched animal on the pocket and smells expensive cologne. It knows he enjoyed dancing but never with her (her hands were always clammy). It hears him reading to her from a dog-eared book of Shakespeare and Shelley while they ate chocolate graham cracker teddies (which she was allergic to) and drank lukewarm coffee (cream and sugar in his but never hers).
The third snowflake recalls the tender voice that grew silent and began spilling through the mouths of mutual friends. “I’m tired of ‘You.’ Nothing great happened anyways and–ha, ha!–nothing lasts forever, you know.” The third snowflake hears the chuckle that began deep within his chest before slipping through lying lips.
A blast of winter white, cold to the touch and bland to the taste, blurs into a frenzied mist and creates dizzying patterns upon gold and crimson leaves.
The third snowflake weeps and shivers beneath the gray sky. It spreads its arms, tests the water with a crooked toe, and joins the previous two.
As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.
In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.