The winter is when all life is covered in a thick sheet of snow. The flowers are gone and the trees are bare. Everything is dead. I don’t like winter. Each year I endured trudging through the drifts, waging war with the wind, and fighting the cold, until that faithful day when the sun comes back out and melts the snow along with my misery away. Everything is new again.
I stood on my front porch. Snow glittered on my front lawn, blinding my eyes. I looked past it at the road. A truck drove by. The snow on the lawn held beauty, but in the street the snow was brown and muddy from the car tires smashing it down, turning the snow into thick sheets of ice. I shoved my hands into my gloves, sighed and walked down the steps. I frowned at the sounds my boots made in the snow. The scrunching sound was very unpleasant to my ears. I didn’t know why I spent each winter building snowmen and snow angels. Getting wet from snowball fights was not my idea of a fun winter day. I’d rather go back to bed and sleep the winter away like so many animals did this time of year.
I trudged across my lawn to my next-door neighbor’s. Their front door was open. A woman was kneeling just inside the house. She bundled up her precious package while her precious package squirmed to get free. All you could see was blonde curls spilling out of her crème colored wool hat.
“Mama, hurry. Mama. Mama, hurry! I wanna go play in the snow,” she said.
“I have to make sure you’re all bundled up sweetheart. The snow will still be there when I’m done. Now stop moving so much so I can zip you up properly,” the mother said. The girl sighed. She looked out longingly at the snow. Then her bright blue eyes noticed my presence in the middle of her front lawn.
“Leif!” she squealed. She managed to squirm out of her mother’s grasp and jet out the door. A smile eased onto my lips. I forgot. This little girl is why I played outside in the snow. She dragged me along on her ice crystal adventures. This six-year-old girl was the sun that kept me, a seventeen-year-old boy, warm during the harsh winter days.
“Leif,” she yelled bounding up to me, “It snowed! It snowed! Do you see?” I smiled at her as I kneeled down in the snow. She jumped into my arms and gave me a hug. A wonderful hug.
“Yes,” I said, “I do see.” I lifted her up and waved to her mom.
“Hello Leif,” she called, “You two have fun.”
“We will, Mrs. Bradley,” I called back. The two of us watched the mother turn away and close the door. She was escaping the cold like I so many times wished to do, but with this snow angel in my arms, I never felt the cold touch my skin.
“What do you want to do first, Harmony?” I set her down and finished zipping up her coat. Her mother had only gotten it halfway up before Harmony exploded from her arms.
“Snowman,” she squealed. I smiled. She started each of the snowballs, but I of course took over when the balls got too big for her to handle. She insisted on making the head by herself. I lifted her up and she placed the head onto her snowman’s icy shoulders. I then lifted her up again after she found the right sort of rocks to push into the snow to make a happy facial expression.
I would do anything for Harmony. She was important to me. I loved her. I wasn’t a weirdo. And I wasn’t a creep. I just loved her. I wanted to do everything and anything to make her smile. And that was all. She knew I loved her too. She would make me say it every day before she went home. And she would say it back. It was a different sort of love than what you’d see in movies or between siblings. She depended on me. I protected her like I was her knight and she was a precious jewel. I depended on her too. She gave me something to live for.
“What next?” I asked as we stood back, admiring our snowman. She had named him Jeffery.
“Pull me on my sled?” she asked jumping up and down. I chuckled and nodded. She hugged my waist before rushing to get her sled. I lived for her hugs. Her hugs were all I needed to survive. Harmony ran back to me with an orange plastic sled dragging behind her. She handed me the blue rope attached to the sled and sat down on it.
“Mush!” she giggled.
“Yes my princess,” I replied bowing to her before I turned and ran down the lawn. Harmony giggled and squealed at the sudden jerk of motion. I turned onto the sidewalk and picked up speed.
“Faster Leif. Faster!” Harmony screamed. I sped up. Cold air made my eyes tear up, but it was all worth it to hear the happy cheers behind me. Suddenly, the rope snapped and I pitched forward. My face hit the cold snow. I sputtered and wiped my face as I sat up. Harmony erupted with giggles as she reached forward and wiped my face with the end of her scarf. Then, she stood and stepped off the sled. She picked it up.
“I’ll fix it,” she said cheerfully.
“Okay,” I murmured. Suddenly I heard a loud screeching noise. Harmony looked towards the street and frowned at the intruding noise. I hated when she frowned. I worked so hard to keep her smile on her pretty little face. A car slid across the ice. Time slowed down. I couldn’t move. It jerked up on the sidewalk. And then Harmony disappeared.
“Harmony?” I called. The car had stopped in a person’s yard, but Harmony was gone. She was no longer standing in front of me with her little orange sled with the blue rope. The sled had been flung back down the sidewalk.
“Harmony,” I screamed. Where was she?! I stood up running towards the car. The word ‘no’ was screaming in my head. I ran around to the front of the car. The snow was red there. A lonely mitten tossed carelessly in the snow.
“No,” I whispered. I got closer. The stain grew larger.
“No. No. No. No! No! NO!” the word just kept bursting from my lips. And then I saw her. Harmony was lying in the snow. My Harmony. I threw myself by her side. Her eyes stared blankly to the sky. Her woolen hat was missing and her blonde hair was stained with blood. She was…
“No!” I screamed as loud as I could, “Harmony!” Tears streamed down my face as I lifted her head to my chest.
“Harmony!” I cried. I could vaguely hear the person that was in the car calling 911. I knew people were starting to come out of their houses, bravely facing the cold to see what was happening. I rubbed her face.
“Harmony,” I cried, “Please. Please, wake up. Wake up Harmony.” Why was this happening? I love her. Why is she being taken away from me? Why!? I love her! I loved her… She was my sunshine. She was my heart. I can’t live without her. I just can’t. My heart can’t be breaking. I was supposed to protect her. I’m her guardian. This couldn’t be happening. Someone placed their hand on my shoulder. I didn’t know who it was and I didn’t bother to look. I just shook the hand off and continued to cry.
“Harmony!” I screamed. Why does she have to be gone? I’ll die. Her eyes stared coldly up at me. Her smile was gone. I’ll never see it again. Her laugh is gone. I never want to hear anything, but her laugh. I’ll never feel her hug again. The only thing that kept me from the pits of loneliness and worthlessness, it’s gone. It’s just all gone. Now spring will never come. It will forever be winter.
“I can’t,” I whimpered, “Harmony, please, come back.”
But she never did.