Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Sage knows too much of snow. The way it drizzles over her, catching up to her wherever she walks. How the words on the page glisten down. How a delight can soften to somber.

Each winter, when clouds join hands, they create a festive wonderland. While everyone celebrates, Sage ends up not having those same feelings. Sure, she finds joy in watching the sparkles fall, but she eventually comes face-to-face with a ghost. Not the eerie kind from a few months prior, but the somber kind Sage tried to stop running from.

The kind that when a snowflake landed upon her finger, it melted, flooding her mind with distant memories, forcing her to close the book she was reading and walk along the brick streets of the city night — more water coming from her eyes than the night sky — until climbing the stairs leads her to a view of the whole city.

And a snowman constellation painted by the stars.

She calmed down, wiped her tears off.

Breathe. Sage told herself, staring at the constellation. Just breathe.

“Excuse me, you dropped this.”

Silence. She was not paying attention.

So he tapped Sage on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” repeating himself, “you dropped this.”

She turns around.

“Oh, thanks.”

He handed back her copy of The Book Thief.

“Didn’t I see you somewhere?” he asked.

“We have the same lunch period. Like at school.” She replied, staring back at the stars and descending snow.

“Oh, yeah.”

“What’s your name?” She said.

“Ender, what’s yours?”

“Sage. Nice to meet you.”

“Right back at ya.”

Ender now stared up at the dark night. “It’s beautiful, right?”

Sage did not respond. She was still lost in thought.

“Is there anything wrong?”

“…It’s exams.” A lie as white as the snow. “I was rereading outside, to prepare for my English exam tomorrow. I don’t think I can read on.”

“Maybe take a break.”

“I can’t.”

“Read the most important parts, then get to sleep.”

“I can’t do that.”

Ender stares at her, puzzled. “How so?”

“It’s too late.”

“What do you mean?”

Sage felt she needed to continue, to explain herself.

“I can’t read on from there. Reading it, being in the protagonist’s position, witnessing that pain — that is the same as what I am going through right now. I feel that I have to face it anyways. Something I ran away from for too long. Or I tried to run away, but I held myself to face it anyway. Or… I… I don’t know…”

A pause for Ender to take it in and think. He took up a few moments. And a few more. Then he spoke.

“You know, a similar thing happened to me a few months back. It was hard. Heck, it was painful, but I think that was for the best. These feelings will never go away. All we can do now is accept and create more room for it.”

More snow ran down onto them. Sage stood there and breathed again — in… and out…— embracing the melting water on her skin.

“Thanks, I really needed that.” She sensed the warmth from Ender. “So… which table do you sit at?”

“During lunch? In the far corner, near the snack bar. How about-”

“In the middle table, where I sit alone.” She responded before he could finish. “Maybe we can eat together. How does tomorrow sound?”

“There isn’t any lunch. It’s exams week. Oh, sh-” He caught himself. “Exams! I’m outta time. I’m so screwed.”

Ender did little to study. He paced around, restless and unsure of what would happen to him next.

Sage, however, reassured him. “Hey, the past is in the past. All you can do now is accept the present and make the best future you can.”

Silence. This time, it was Ender’s turn to breathe, to wipe off the snow pressuring on him.

“Thank you,” he said.

The snowflakes grew more dense. They began to flood the streets, coloring the city white.

“We should get moving,” said Ender.

“Yeah, I got to finish reading. It’s really nice to meet you properly, Ender. See you later.” Sage ran off.

“Wait?”

She stopped, turned around. Ender was still where he was. And the warm comfort of each other protected themselves from the harsh cold — if only for a brief moment.

“Can I have your phone number? You can call me if you need anything.” He asked.

“Of course. Maybe we can study together next semester. When you need to make up the exams.”

 


Billy Wikol is a second-year English major with minors in Film and Digital Marketing. WW993420@wcupa.edu

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