Beautiful Snowflakes

January 12, 2010
The steps creaked uneasily as I walked up them. I sighed and was suddenly overcome with nervousness. What was I even doing here? The last time I’d been here, my first time, I’d walked in the door and tripped forward on the shag rug. That time I’d been with a couple of older kids from my block, so everybody had left me alone. Now, I was just some thirteen year old kid walking into a, no the coffee shop. After nine. I shivered and tried to pull my coat tighter around me. Snow fell heavily around me and the wind chilled me through invisible holes in my jacket. Cursing the Colorado winter, I stopped on the last step. Ahead of me was a restaurant style door that had the open hours printed onto the door and a bunch of flyers for local rock bands. I pushed open the door and successfully stepped into the building with getting a mouthful of dirty carpet. The scent of tea spices and coffee grounds blending with the musty, sharp sent of freshly burning incense woke up my senses. I looked around and was relieved to see that nobody was staring at me. I walked up, ordered a chai latte, and slid into an empty booth. Blowing on my drink I looked around for that guy I’d met here last time, the guy that gave his friends, which included my sister, a Japanese phrase of the week. I found him also sitting at an empty booth covered in papers and books. My sister had told me his name last week, what was it? Oh yeah, Bobby. I took a sip of my latte and slowly walked up to him. He was deep into a paper for college, but I tapped him on the shoulder anyway. He calmly glanced up, smiled at me, and said, “?????????????” I gave him a confused look and said, “I’m sorry?” He laughed and said, “It means come sit with me.” I nodded, grabbed my drink, and sat down across from him.
He smiled at me again and started laughing again. I blushed and asked him what he was laughing at. He leaned forward and said, “Don’t be so nervous, don’t worry, nobodies going to hurt you.” I smiled back at him and relaxed. He was right, what was I so worried about? I had just finished my tea when he took the cup from me and swirled the leftover drops around. Now I was confused, and watched as he stared into my cup for five minutes before handing it back to me. He looked at me and said, “You will break your arm soon.” I looked at him incredibly, “You got that from my cup?” He nodded and said, “Amanda’s friend Laura taught me. I rolled my eyes; that figured. Suddenly I felt eyes boring into the back of my neck and turned around to find a guy staring intently at me. I quickly turned back and whispered to Bobby, “Why is he staring at me?” He shrugged, “He has been since you walked in, that’s why I asked you to come sit with me. You didn’t notice him before?” I shook my head and Bobby stood up, “I’ll be right back” and walked down the stairs to the basement. Two minutes later, the guy that was staring at me stood up and sat right where Bobby had. I started to leave when he said, “No its okay. I have a message for you.” I looked suspiciously at him, “From who?” He whispered, “Bryn Sparks.” I paled; I used to hang out with Bryn before. She had started drinking and developed an addiction to it. One day, she’d drunken half a bottle of Vodka at the park when I showed up and she thought I’d brought the cops with me. I didn’t remember most of it except for hearing a sickening crack and feeling my jawbone explode with pain. That seemed to wake her up and her eyes widened and she left the park without a word. That was two years ago and I hadn’t spoke to her since.
I swallowed and said, “What is it?” I felt something land on my lap and then he was gone out the door. I looked down to find an envelope with my name written in Bryn’s jagged handwriting. I flipped it open to find it empty; there wasn’t anything else in or on the envelope.” I started crying because now I was ripped from reality and back into the summer before sixth grade. Before Bryn had started drinking. We were hanging at the same part and her soft black hair had been cut just above her shoulder. Without looking at me, she’d said, “If anything ever happens to me, I’ll leave you an envelope.” I gave her a weird look and asked, “Don’t you mean a letter?” She shook her head, “No, just a blank envelope ‘cause then you’ll now.” I’d laughed and said, “Okay Bryn.” I guess I’d put it in the back of my memory until now. I went outside to find the same guy standing there, tears falling down his cheeks. I run up to him and asked, “Where is she?” He took a deep breath and said, “Follow me.” He led me past the building and out of the city until we reached a thick iron gate. It took me a minute to read the sign, but when I did my whole mind went numb. Shallow Groves Cemetery. I pushed the gate to find it open and stepped inside the cemetery. The wind had stopped, but the snow had kept falling and sent a calming feeling through the cemetery. A few dead willows hung sadly, scattered throughout the graveyard. I started reading the headstones. Josh Parker, April Smith, but no Bryn Sparks. I kept walking until I ran right into one and fell over it. I heard my arm crack, but it was already numb from the cold.
Wow, Bobby had been right. I looked at the one I’d hit and started choking. It was badly cracked, but I could still read the name. Bryn Sparks, 1996-2008. Tears sprung to my eyes and dripped onto her headstone, freezing to the spot. The biggest crack went right through the cause of death, but I already knew what it was. Alcohol poisoning. I started screaming, “Damn it, Bryn! God Damn it! You should’ve known! I should’ve known.” I crumpled to the ground and my knees scrapped against the frozen stone, but I didn’t care. The memory of her walking out of the park played again and again in my head. If I would’ve stopped her, gotten her help. Something. Anything. Sobbing I laid my head on the stone and slid down until it touched the cold snow. My vision was full of black spots and white specks. It was true what they say about snowflakes, they are always different in some way. They float around and connect to other ones until they bring each other down until they all crash. There are some that get stuck on a branch or on a blade of grass and have a slightly longer existence. The sound of cars had died down and now I only focused on the beating of my heart slow down. Black shadows started forming in the corners of my vision and started moving inward. Slowly, they overtook everything. My mind, my body, and my soul. I watched the world fade out until I craned my neck up sharply to see a small carving in the outermost left corner. In Bryn’s jagged handwriting, two words screamed out at me. I’m Sorry. I took a deep breath and screamed, “No! No!” Then everything went black.





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