I stand silently in the middle of the road. A single humming street light hangs over me, illuminating the road before me. Snow falls heavily around me as I stand listening to the sound, like the sweet silence of falling feathers. The small puffs, like cotton, are continuously muffled by the next flake. The sound relieves my anxieties as I breathe the frigid air deep into my lungs. The cold burn reassures me that I am, in fact, still alive.
I watch as the winter wisps continue to fall steadily around me. Glancing back, I see the snow already starting to fill the tracks I had made down the center of the road. The stark quiet the night provides is both unsettling and peaceful. I can hear everything and nothing. As I tread forward again, I imagine the crunch of the snow under my boots slowly stomping out the stress of the last few weeks from my mind. A piece of my memories slip away with every step.
“What do you think you’re going to do without me?!” A plate sails across the room above my head.
“You would have no friends without me. If you leave they won’t care what you say.”
“No one will ever love you.”
My nose and throat burn from the cold night air. Before I realize it, I am stifling a sob.
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.
My legs feel like lead and my eyes sting. Frozen tears leave a trail down my cheeks. I come to a crossroad and look around. I have no idea how long I’ve been out in the cold. As much time as I spent here in Bethton Grove with my Aunt Cici, I have a hard time recognizing where I am with everything layered in white. It takes me a moment to recognize a mailbox on one side of the street, a roofline on the other. I know where I am now. I pull my scarf up over my nose, using the already damp fabric to wipe my eyes as I turn to the left and keep walking.
When I pull my scarf down and readjust it around my neck, I feel a tingle down my spine; I realize I am not alone. Ahead of me, their footsteps muffled by the blanket of snow, is another wanderer with their back towards me. The figure walks slowly and heavily, shoulders hunched with hands shoved deep into coat pockets as if to send a warning signal to stay away. I hold my breath, willing my feet to fall softer on the ground as I continue down the road. The snow seems to fall heavier as we both trudge down the road, like the weight of both our worlds is falling on us along with the snow.
The sound of my phone ringing in my pocket startles me. I quickly yank it out of my jacket pocket as my aunt's face flashes across the screen. I fumble to pull a glove off and touch the screen to answer the call.