Tuesday, December 23, 2008

(it's) bound to snow

I want to tell you the Christmas story about the boy who got lost in a snow bank and, liking what he saw there, decided to stay, to make his life among the piles and piles of inimitable white patterns where there were no other people or animals, just trails and footprints and endless possibilities, and how he was always hydrated because he could grab handfuls of the stuff and let it melt on his tongue and between his teeth; he had so much of it that most of the time he actually felt stuffed and didn't have the stomach capacity to miss the hot chocolate and buttered toast that his mom would make for him at breakfast time before he went off to school—and to think of it, he really, really didn't miss school; not his classmates or  classes or his teachers or anyone or anything about it, not the linoleum floors forever skidded with rock salt and the piles of vomit from too many cutout cookies masked with byproduct dust from deciduous trees, none of which mattered at the moment because he was on winter break—had been since yesterday—, a break he'd always loved a lot but never this much.


He was a spoiled kid, but not so spoiled that his soul and character were putrefied. He usually spent Christmas Eve and Day scaling high mountains of presents with appreciative indifference. He had it good and knew it. Thank you, he always said, but rarely please. Event without wish lists, he knew he had it coming to him.


But this year, deep in fallen snow, he was happier than ever, just wandering around the paleness, dredging directionless tunnels, making his own way. He felt gleeful, which is an out of date word, but the only one really apt for such an untranslatable joy.


Come March, his body was found, purple and messy as a million concord grapes burst on the vine. All of his parents' fears were confirmed. The closest they'd came to closure was when they saw that what was left of his bubbled, frostbit lips was turned upward, in an undeniable smile.

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