Rating: PG
Genre: Fiction, Drama, Holiday, Experimental
Non-spoiler Trigger Warning: Explores grief, specifically around Valentine's Day



Memories in Snow

A Monologue by Kayla Cook 


I wake up to the gently falling February snow and immediately think of you. You loved the snow. You always woke up before me, and on the mornings it was snowing, you’d rush to my side and shake me awake so I didn’t miss what you considered a miracle. Snow is nothing but molecules of water that freeze in the sky and fall to the earth once the weight of what they’ve become hits them, but to you they were so much more than that. To you, they were bits of frozen magic that drifted from the sky to transform our little corner of the world into a winter wonderland. But you always found the magic in everything.

I decided to keep the curtains open so that I can wake up with the world, the sun shining in my eyes. I don’t want to miss the falling snow anymore. You’re not here to wake me, so I have to improvise. I used to hate the snow. For a while after you left, I would keep the curtains drawn so I couldnt see the snow because how dare it fall when you’re not here to enjoy it. The snow wasn’t what was magical. It was you. Always you. I’m not sure what’s changed over the years since you’ve gone, but I’ve started wanting to see the snow again. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to the pain. I might also just be groping for things to remember you by as my memories grow vaguer by the year.

The holidays are harder without you. You’re what made them mean anything. Everything about them is a sharp reminder that you’re not here anymore. I remember around this time of year you used to fog up the windows with your breath and draw hearts on them through which to watch the snowflakes swirl and dance. I could, too, but I’m not up to it. I watched a commercial last night that tried to persuade me to buy something—can’t remember what it was now—for my “special someone.” They must not have gotten the memo: My “special someone” is gone. An old friend called a couple days ago to invite me to a Valentine’s Day dinner and told me to bring “someone special” along. Those words again. I guess they assumed I’ve “moved on” by now, whatever that means, or maybe they just forgot you’re gone. I couldn’t stand the awkwardness and didn’t want to explain, so I just told them I’d be there, but I’m not really going to go . . .

Look, the way those snowflakes are swirling makes it appear like a ghost is standing there. Isn’t that something? You know, sometimes I wonder if you’re haunting me. Some days, I’ll come into the kitchen to find your bowl set out on your side of the table. I don’t eat apples and yet I’ll find a bushel of them in my cart when I go to the checkout at the grocery store. I don’t drink tea and yet I’ll smell the aroma of your favorite blueberry tea at eight every morning, the time you always made it. I found these things terrifying at first and then cruel. Was it not enough that I lost you once? Must I keep being reminded of the pain? Then it dawned on me that it couldn’t be you. You were never cruel. I decided that I was just going insane and haunting myself. That’s the more logical scenario, isn’t it? Yet still I wondered, deep down . . .

When you went away, you took all that was good in me with you and left nothing behind but this animated corpse. That was how I felt for years. I wasn’t even sure why I went through the motions of existing other than out of habit. Something has changed since then, though.

One night I woke up at eight and I could have sworn I felt the heat of your body against my back where you always used to snuggle. In that moment, I had hope that losing you was nothing but a nightmare I’d finally woken up from, but I was afraid to turn and shatter that hope. So I just stayed still and enjoyed the thought that maybe it really was you. I am not one to indulge in hope, yet that night I did. As far as I could tell, it didn’t make anything easier or harder, but when I woke a few mornings later, I felt like opening the curtains again.

Without fully realizing it, I’ve come to accept that while I might be a little crazy, every odd thing I experience could be you after all, though you aren’t necessarily haunting me. I just called it “haunting” because back then I only found the pain in it, not the beauty. Perhaps it isn’t your death you’re trying to remind me of, it’s your life. Because maybe you’re not dead in the sense I once believed. Or maybe you are and I’m just grasping at straws. Either way, I’ve decided to talk to you in case you can hear me. I might pretend that you answer me sometimes . . . or maybe I’m not pretending. Some of the bitterness has melted away like frost under the rising sun, but much of it stubbornly remains in the shadows where even the light of your memory can’t reach.

In my grief, I told myself I didn’t want to see your light. I was angry at you, at the world, at everything. But I’m not so angry anymore, not like I was. I’ve realized that I do want to see your light. I want to feel the warmth of your presence and bask in your glow. You, the center of my world. One day . . .

Well, look at that. It’s almost eight o’clock. I think it’s a good time to put on the kettle. This is what we used to do, remember? I’d sit with my cocoa and you’d sit with your tea and we’d watch countless blizzards rage. Staring at the billowing snow, I have to agree with something you said before during one of those moments, “Snow storms are the best ballets in the world. If you listen, you can even hear the music.”

I think I can hear that music now, faintly. It isn’t something you can grasp, is it? It’s something that’s just there but if you focus too hard on it, it flees. That’s alright. It would have angered me back then and it frustrates me now, but it’s alright. Oh! I remember now what that commercial was advertising. It was a music box. You’d have really liked that. It was so beautiful. It really was.

It’s a quarter till . . . I have to get the water boiling now or it won’t be ready by eight. You always said that was a magical number. “Like everything else,” I’d tease. Then you would say, “But in its own special way.” Still makes me laugh. I loved you so much. I still do, you know, and I miss you. I’m not okay, but I’m still going. I’ll return with your tea soon, love, and we’ll talk more then.

As they turn to leave the room, they don’t notice the heart drawn in light and fog on the window, but it’s there all the same.


Copyright © 2021 by Kayla Cook


Boring Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction depicting a scenario that many may sympathize with on various levels. Descriptions, entities, and incidents included in this work came entirely from my (Kayla Cook’s) imagination and are not taken from any particular real life situation.