The First Snow

The snow fell thick on New Year’s Eve 2013. The parents left in the early afternoon, Lala strapped into the pink carseat in the backseat. And even then the snow fell, fat flakes illuminated by the car’s headlights, shadowing the winter-pink sunset over the frozen lake. The baby delivered safely to her grandmother’s home, they drove on into the white wind, finally arriving, after hours of treacherous winter driving, at the lodge they’d stay at for the next four days, celebrating their 25th anniversary.

Back at home, the building settled into the cold, impervious to the drifts of snow collecting in the brick windowsills, the icicles growing yet longer, reaching frozen spikes from the third floor eaves. With doors on every floor open, we celebrated the end of one year, the beginning of another, as a building, as a family. The children of the building, more than ten in number, moved from one apartment to another; crafts here, cookie decorating there, hula-hooping here, and then finally sinking into the familiar couches of the basement theater for a movie.

The movie halfway over, the doorbell rang and Diana shuffled into the lobby, simultaneously stomping heaps of snow off of her boots and unwinding the long scarf she’d wound around her head. We hugged, exchanging greetings sprinkled with exclamations of the weather, the cold, the snow- oh, so much snow. In the kitchen, we poured water for ourselves, popped popcorn for the kids, traded vague plans for the next days; maybe go out and do something tomorrow- well, the snow- we’ll see- what do you think?

Some time later, the movie over, the party gravitated upstairs again, little bodies climbing the stairs fast, their feet and hands pounding the worn carpet rhythmically. And Jo and Drew, their visiting family, pulled their seats a little further from the table, made a little more room, and Di and I, and later Stevy, too, ate fish tacos and sipped drinks, swapping stories while the kids in the front room played. And all the while, the snow fell around us, white specks descending silently from the blackened sky. And the streets shrunk, narrowed by the piles of snow tumbling, cascading over the curb. And the yards, the trees, the plants, the cars grew, the snow heaping up in soft white piles on everything that didn’t move. And even some things that did.

Later still, the girls ate their decorated cookies, spooned vanilla yogurt while the ball dropped in Times Square on my computer screen. 11pm for us, a new year for them, and I kissed them goodnight tucked them into their heavily blanketed bed, and the east coast reveled in the first hours of 2014. In the front room, in those minutes between 11pm and 12am, we were four; draped on couches, sprawled on the floor, rocking every so slightly in the mother’s glider. And when 12am arrived, bringing with it the close of one year and the beginning of another, we were quiet, subdued, but celebratory. A midnight toast was said, hugs, high fives, New Years’ greetings exchanged.

And then it was our turn to watch a movie, the night hours, the first hours of the year, slipping past as we scroll Netflix, pulling films from the depths of Netflix’s instant playlist. And even then, the basement windows showed nothing but white, and the wind blew and the snow fell, and the whole city slipped deeper into the muted beauty of a place under snow.

And when the movies ended, when Di and I finally slipped into our beds, not long before the sun once again began its trek across the winter-pale sky, I stood in the window and watched the flakes fall in the yellow cone of light from the streetlight across the street. And the neighbors, the building, the cookies, the movies, the time-zone-ahead Ball Drop, and all that beautiful, pristine snow; it was just enough, just what I wanted to never forget about that New Year’s Night.

~Natalia

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Grammy and Poppi
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 13:26:51

    LOVE, how you tell/paint your stories. You are so talented . Thanks for sharing and taking us with you to celebrate a New Year. xox

    Reply

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