Sunday, December 25, 2011

Listen (the Snow is Falling)

Between your head and my mind...

This story starts with a girl.

A girl who lived in the Rockies and hated the lack of snow in New England my freshman year of college.

But then it snowed overnight. And that made her happier than I'd ever seen her.

"We should go sledding. Down that big hill near the sports center," she said.

But we were college freshmen and we didn't have sleds. Or anything that could pass for sleds.

Still, I wasn't about to let her go without sledding, especially since the idea made her light up so much (and since her lighting up made everyone we knew happy as well).

So I hatched a plan. (Okay, more of a scheme than a plan.)

We'd sneak hard-plastic cafeteria trays from the dining hall, use them as sleds, and return them later.

But it turns out the workers didn't want us taking the trays out of the dining hall.

So elaborate plans were drawn up.

Diversions were planned and executed.

Trays were tucked into backpacks and under shirts.

And our small group, 11 guilty-looking nerds and the girl who grew up in the Rockies, tried to hurry through the door and out into the fresh snow.

But just before we made it to freedom, the seemingly ancient woman who guarded the door called out: "Stop."

And we all stopped. We sheepishly turned back, prepared to give up the trays.

The girl from the Rockies stepped forward. She started to speak. I knew she'd take the blame for all of us.

But the seemingly ancient woman waved her off with one wrinkled hand. "Do you think I'm stupid?" she asked.

We shook our heads and shuffled our feet.

"Good," she said. "When you remember this, remember that I was nice to you."

We stood there, unsure what she meant until she added "You better bring all those trays back this evening."

And we did.

Years later, I remember the snowfall and the act of sneaking the trays out of the dining hall. I remember the girl from the Rockies. But as much as I search my memory, I can't recall the actual sledding.

But maybe that's okay.

Because right before we brought the trays back, she took me aside, and she kissed me and she thanked me for being the only one who understood what the snow meant to her.

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