The Sound of Falling Snow

Trigger Warning: Suicide

I never knew snow had a sound. Oh, I knew about the crunch it makes as you walk over it and the irritating nails on chalkboard sound of skis passing over the top. I have even heard the dull thud of snowballs hitting my brother once when we visited Charlotte Pass. Nothing in my life, though, prepared me for the near silent whisper of snowflakes floating gently to the ground, a sound so quiet it is almost felt rather than heard.

I used to love snow, used to ask Santa for a white Christmas. The movies, cards and carols always made it seem so magical; all snowmen and Yule logs and sleigh rides. Not the sweat and dust and scorching heat that defined our holidays. I would look at pictures of stockings hung by glowing fireplaces as snowflakes fell outside the window and wish I was there.

I would give anything to celebrate Christmas the way we used to. I never thought I’d miss it; the way my mouth was constantly dry, the way the mozzies would eat me alive in the evening, the way tempers would flare in the heat. It wasn’t all bad, after all.

I remember diving into our stockings in the chill of early morning, while eagerly waiting for our parents to awaken so we could unwrap the gifts under the tree. As the sun rose, so did the heat. We would all select our favourite presents and pack them in our Santa Sacks to show off to our relatives.

Piling into the car was like volunteering to enter a furnace and buckling our seatbelts was an ordeal as they burned through our clothes. By the time we arrived at Nanna’s house, we were all hot and hungry and desperate for the loo; but, more than anything, we were excited to see Nanna and Pa.

We were never hungry for long, of course. I miss Christmas at Nanna’s. I miss the presents under the tree as we walked through the door. I miss the smell of Nanna slow-boiling spices on the stove. I miss the tables groaning under their burdens of salad and coleslaw; cold roast beef and seafood; potato salad and trifle. I miss wearing Pa’s hat and swinging his cane, pretending to be Charlie Chaplin. I miss laughing while we played under the sprinklers as the adults wilted in the afternoon heat.

I don’t remember the last time I was warm. I don’t remember the last time I heard a child laugh. I don’t remember the smell of food or the sensation of feeling full. I don’t remember how to love the snow.

It’s Christmas tomorrow, as far as I can tell. I can’t be sure, of course. It’s hard to tell when one day ends and another begins. It doesn’t really matter anyway. There’s nothing left to celebrate. It’s been five years since this infernal snow began. I haven’t seen another living thing in over six months, nearly two years if you count only people.

No matter. I’ll be seeing them soon.

My knife is dull but it’s enough to do the job. It doesn’t hurt as much as I expected. Perhaps the cold is numbing my wounds. My vision is getting blurry and I feel so heavy.

As I drift into sleep, I listen to the almost silence and remember how I used to long for the snow before I learned to appreciate the sun.

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This weeks’s prompt is Does falling snow make a sound? from Unique Teaching Resources.

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