Equinox

by 

The snow falls on my smile like that old fairy tale—you know, the one about the dwarves and the cannibal queen, the one with the apple. The tableau would be better if it was sunset, because I always liked sunsets best, but you take what you can get.

I’m drinking in the buildings, the river, the empty streets where cabbies used to curse at pedestrians who never bothered to listen. I’m eating the silence that comes with snow. Everything is filling up white, though there’s a grey cast to the new blanket, not like the picture books I used to read about Christmas when I was a kid.

I know they will have missed me by now, but no one will come back. The overseers won’t let them. It’s too dangerous now. I can’t feel it, though—my body’s still strong, still perfectly capable of walking and talking and breathing in the last of my home. They’ll say I was crazy, I’m sure, but I love this city, this state. I’d go crazy for real if I had to leave it all behind. I never got how people could live underground. It’s the air, I think, that would get me. I can’t live without the wind on my face.

The snow is thick now, and I think I can feel a little of the numbness setting in. That’s the way they said it would be: slow but painless. I did the research. I knew what I was getting into. My body feels stiff and I can’t quite tell if the snow is cold when I pick it up with my bare hands. It’s so beautiful. I know what it means, but all I can think is that it’s beautiful.

I throw my handful in the air and let it fall down with the rest, laughing out loud as it brushes my fading skin. In all my life, it has never snowed like this in New York.

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