White Christmas

She was lying down in a world of white. The air had a cold scent to it, which she tasted with little tongue over chapped lips. The tip of her nose, and of her fingers and toes, were also a little cold, possibly a little red, red like the suit of the jolly old man who visited once a year and passed out stuffed animals and toy cars and dolls that talked if you pressed them.

The gentle heaving of the respirator surrounded her, synced to her breaths with every up and down motion of its accordion-like organ. Somewhere to her right, a mechanic beeping whispered periodically, registering her vital signs. Through her closed lids, she could sense the little red light from the emergency call button above her head.

The child stirred and opened her eyes. In the dim light, she could just make out the shadows around her; the tangled mess of bedclothes, the curving cable of her IV drip, the handlebars of the wheelchair by her feet.

Yawning all the while, she sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

“Cosette, dear, is that you?”

A thin, familiar, raspy voice called from the darkness on her left.

“Yes, granny. Did I wake you?”
“No, my dear child. Come here.”

A pair of little hands felt along the edge of the bed, expertly seeking for the one area unbounded by metal railings. This found, the girl rolled until she was lying on her stomach, then carefully lowered herself feet first onto the cold tiles below. It was a bit of a drop, but one she had long stopped fearing.

A set of bare feet paddled lightly as the girl felt her way to the next bed. This she now climbed with the same level of expertise, careful not to stir the form of its inhabitant as she wiggled her way into the welcoming warmth beneath the covers, into the space reserved especially for her.

“Better?”
“Mhmm.”
“Good.”

This new bed was closer to the window, through which a soft white glow melted through the curtains. She turned towards it now, and studied with its aid the features of the woman by her side.

“Granny?”
“Yes, child?”
“Do you think my mom and dad will be here tomorrow?”
“I’m sure they’ll try their best to come, no matter how busy they might be.”

A pause. Did she fall asleep?

Then,

“Is there snow in heaven?”

The older woman chuckled gently.
“Yes, Cosette, I’m sure there is.”

A serious little pout framed her features as the girl considered this. Then, evidently satisfied;

“Tell me that story about the snow again.”

As the frail voice gently whispered to the child by her side, stillness settled comfortably around them to listen. Outside, and many floors below them, the city streets bustled with the sounds of activity. Trees and storefronts  lined with strings of coloured lights, blinking in competition with the stream of headlights emitted from the road. Somewhere not far off, a siren meandered its way through the crowd, providing temporary relief to pedestrians from the mindless barrage of holiday music pouring from every open door.

Amidst a sea of fake glitter and upbeat emotions, a lone man in slacks slammed his glass on the table as he downed yet another. Grunting incoherently, he slumped in his seat, his head falling heavily upon the hand resting on the worn wooden surface. Beneath his fingers was a worn leather wallet, containing the usual assortment of physical and virtual assets, along with single, dog-eared photo of a giggling toothless baby.

A few blocks away, a door banged open as a tangled set of bodies forced its way into a small but well-kept apartment. Bumping into walls and dooming a glass vase along the way, the distracted pair tripped and landed on the living room sofa. On the wall across them, a couple of power outlets were blessedly oblivious to the proceedings that followed thanks to the protection of two forgotten outlet safety covers.

None of these reached the child snuggled in bed. For them, the world was at peace.

A low, continuous note slowly drew the girl from the depths of sleep. Beside her, and under the ghostly veil of the starlight streaming through the windows, the old woman whom she called granny was still. The well-worn face, framed with curling locks of white, almost translucent hair, was decorated with a peaceful smile.

Outside, the first hints of snow began to fall.

The child gently extracted herself from the bed and slid back down to the floor. Then, carefully rearranging the blankets around the serene form, she leaned forward and planted a childlike kiss on the cold cheek before returning to her own bed.

“Merry Christmas, granny.”

。   。 。 。   。

She was lying down in a world of white. The air had a cold scent to it, which she tasted with little tongue over chapped lips. The tip of her nose, and of her fingers and toes, were also a little cold, possibly a little red, red like the suit of the jolly old man who visited once a year and passed out stuffed animals and toy cars and dolls that talked if you pressed them.

The gentle sighing of the wind surrounded her, drawing swirls through the air with her hair. Somewhere to her right, the jing-jing-jingling of sleigh bells waltzed into her ears. Through her closed lids, she could sense a curious ethereal-like glow that shone upon her small body from all directions.

The child stirred and opened her eyes. In the dim light, she could just make out the shadows around her; the tangled arms of bare tree branches, the curving rise and fall of distant slopes, the furry edge of the thick hat over her head.

Without moving, she slowly spread her arms and legs apart, up and down, up and down. The fresh snow beneath her body offered just the right amount of resistance to her efforts and crunched satisfyingly under her weight.

“Cosette, dear, is that you?”

A rich, smooth voice called from the darkness on her left. The girl sat up and peered towards it.

“Yes, but who are you?”

A gently rumbling laugh preceded the form of the speaker as it slowly materialized through the night.

“Have you forgotten me already, my child? Come here.”

And as the two walked, hand in hand, the still-falling snow blanketed lightly over the tiny snow angel below.

word count: 1076

Advertisements

A Penny for Your Thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s