Heaven On Earth
By Tess, age 15, Florida
I miss the snow. I miss the way the tiny snowflakes fall so softly to the ground. Snow is not a subtle thing, but it's the way a snowflake floats gently from the sky and lands ever so quietly that gives me the impression it has a secret. Snow days were my life as a child. I yearned for those days. I yearned to go outside, bundled in my coat, and listen to the snowflakes whisper to me the secrets of the sky. Life is different now, and what was once a large part of my life is now a minuscule part of my memory. Vague memories of playing in the snow come to mind, but every time I go to New York only one memory sticks out from all the rest.
I was 7 years old. The world to me was New York City; I could have cared less about any other aspect of the world. I woke up, my childish brown eyes wide as I looked out the window to see that a blanket of snow had covered my city. The night before was a blur. All I could remember was holding on to Muffin, my favorite stuffed animal and my confidante, and hearing the shouting float through the walls. I didn't want to remember that night; it was cold and fear had stricken my heart. My brother said my life was going to be different. I didn't want to believe him. My seven year old mind could comprehend such a thought, but it seemed that it did not want to. My life was fine the way it was. As to assure me of this fact, the snow smiled at me through my window.
A smell of coffee wafted through the crack beneath my door, and though it was across the hallway, I could hear my parents' television blaring. My father must be at work, I thought, for I knew he never really liked the TV up so loud. A news broadcaster spoke in a crisp, clear voice that boomed into my ears. He spoke of schools being closed due to the amount of snow that had fallen the night before. I sat up in bed with perked ears, hoping my school would be named. After a grueling few minutes of a list that seemed ever going, the news broadcaster took a breath and my school was finally called. I wanted to scream, to shout, to dance, but instead I just smiled. As if the snow really was smiling at me, I suddenly jumped from my bed and ran to my closet. My little feet scampered across the blue carpet, and out of impulse I opened my closet and threw on my blue coat, pink mittens, and froggy snow boots that I'd been waiting since summer to wear. I'm not sure if I knew what I was doing then, but it seemed this sudden act was one that must be done.
The events of the previous night seemed to struggle to the front of my mind as I tiptoed my way to the deck door. It was only a few steps away, but with struggling thoughts it seemed like an eternity. The golden door stood in front of me, wooden with glass panels that sneaked a peek to the outside world. These doors were just ordinary to me in times past, but at this moment, as I looked up to reach the handle with my nubby hands, I found a connection between this door and an escape from terrible thoughts. My snow boots squeaked as I stood on my tiptoes to open the door. I paused at this, took a breath, and tried again. Once I finished putting all my weight into opening the door, I felt the cold winter breeze tickle my face. In my imagination, I remember thinking the wind was speaking to me; I believed it was calling my name.
To answer its call in the correct way, I sprinted outside towards the deck where snow awaited me. The wooden panels under my feet made a few noises as I ran to the step that led to the deck, but when I finally got there I had to stop. Snow had covered the deck and the roofs of buildings beyond. It looked as if the clouds had descended from heaven and landed right at my deck. This is what heaven looked like to me, and it was a cold wonderland of beauty. I circled around and around, the sky and skyscrapers above twisted all into one picture as I twirled myself dizzy. I laughed at an unknown joke as snow once again began to fall, and as if following its lead, I too fell into the ground. I let the snow engulf me as I landed on the ground, and I felt as if I were laying on a cloud made just for me. I let myself believe that angels had taken me in the night and ascended me into the heavens so I could lie in my own cloud. I made a snow angel at this thought, laughing with glee at my own imagination.
After a few more minutes of play, I felt my stomach growl, and I decided it was time to go in. I sat up, and just to leave my mark in the sky, I carved my name into the snow. I got up slowly and walked towards that golden door. Before I could reach it, I saw a shadow on the inside of my apartment. I paused, for I did not want my presence to be known. It was my mother talking on her cell phone. She was pacing and tears were running from her eyes. I didn't understand. I didn't want to understand why she was so sad. I was about to go in to comfort her when she dropped her cell phone and collapsed in tears. I could feel her sadness drifting through the walls as she crouched, her arms holding the staircase for balance. I couldn't understand why my mom could be sad when we had a piece of heaven just a few feet away. At this moment, I decided to keep my adventure to the heavens a secret, for I knew my mother had her own demons to fight, and not even snow could subside them.
Snow will fall from the clouds, and when it gets warm it will melt. That is a simple fact of life, but when I was seven standing outside in the snow, this fact became a part of me. No matter how difficult life can be it cannot stop the snow from falling. I knew that no matter how confused I might become in the next few years, the snow will always fall and life will still go on.