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“Dad,” the tall, squalid man had once again planted himself in front of his surrogate love. The reflections in his eyes followed me as he watched her dance monotonously. He ogled her every movement, hoping a picture she showed would one day represent a reciprocation of his feelings. He was well-groomed for a man rooted in a single place for the majority of his day. He was always trying to impress her, since she was, essentially, my step-mother.
“Dad,” he wasn’t watching me sign, yet I didn’t feel obligated to stand in front of the television in which he absorbed himself. I left the man to his passionless passion and walked out the front door wearing nothing but my Peruvian hat and a pair of ski pants.
The jealous zeal of winter tickled my hands, digit by digit. I left my gloves indoors, leaving my replacement mouth at risk. A Saturday afternoon, I had nothing better to do than enthrall myself with the near-death experience of sitting in the snow burying my front yard, slowly freezing. I shivered uncontrollably as I walked over to my destination for the day, a clod of marshmallow powder under a seemingly dead tree. I sat with my arms extended behind me and my legs spread in front of me. I decided to pass the time by playing games in my head. What color is the next car to drive down my street going to be? I assured myself it would be white. It is the most common color of car, and the snow surrounding me turned the world into a monotone grayscale. It had to be white.
I waited for a while, and no car drove down my street. I didn’t blame them. I lived in a quiet neighborhood. There were only four other houses in my cul-de-sac. The only reason anyone drives by here is to make a u-turn after driving the wrong way. I began to question whether or not wasting my time on a mere sensation was worthwhile.
I distracted myself by observing my surroundings, and noticed my neighbor’s car wasn’t in their driveway. I decided it to be inside their garage, or on its way back from a trip to Clarington Mall. Luckily for me, their car is white.
I had lost feeling in the hands behind my back and feet in front of my body. But I didn’t mind. This was just the beginning. A white Ranger began its trek down my small street. The parabola of cleared window revealed three shaded figures inside, two adults and one child. My neighbors had returned home. I couldn’t feel my legs or arms. I wasn’t exactly embarrassed to be sitting in my front yard without a shirt on, although the ten-year-old girl, being lifted out of the truck by her father, was in my fifth grade class. We’d lived next door our entire lives, but had yet to make friends. I didn’t even know her name. Her mother noticed me out of the corner of her eye and placed her hand as forceful as love could be into the small of her daughter’s back, leading her indoors. The young girl, holding a well-worn teddy bear, turned around, against her mother’s will, to make eye-contact with me for what felt like forever, before her mother slammed the door behind her.
Her eyes were huge, and enchanting. Where had I seen her before?
I stopped caring about how cold I was. It didn’t matter anymore. I began to think, instead, of that girl. I couldn’t remember who she was. I just knew something I saw in her eyes was enthralling. I had this burning passion to talk to her, to communicate with her, to know what childish thoughts under those blue eyes lay. I made my best attempt to move my fingers in the layer of powdery snow, but was unsuccessful, since I could no longer remember how it felt to have hands in the first place. What was I going to do? My hands were my one means of communication. Without them, I was nothing. I was silent. I wanted to know her name. I started to squirm, trying to move every part of my body, to somehow restore feeling into my lost hands. I futilely budged my body, and swayed back and forth slowly, in an attempt to viciously thrash. The claustrophobia of not being able to move my hands, and not being able to speak scared me to death. I was going to die here. I opened my mouth, instinctively, to scream for help. But no sound came out of my lips. I was frozen, literally and figuratively.
What was I doing here?
I began to feel too tired to lift my head. I laid myself down in the blanket of snow and my dirty-blonde hair spread against the layer of white. The gray-blue sky began to blur into one sensation of nonexistent color. I shifted my eyes slowly, yet as quickly as I could, and everything around me remained that same, still, gray. Black dots began to scatter and dance through the cement in my vision, entertaining me, as I lay, somewhere, for some reason. But I stopped shivering.
I couldn’t get my mind off the dots. I followed them, but they moved too fast. It hurt to move my eyes. It hurt to keep my eyes open. I closed them. The dots still danced around, expect this time, they were a bright greenish-yellow against the black of my closed eyelids. They danced. And the harder I squeezed my eyes shut, the more difficult a choreography they performed.
The images and dancers suddenly halted as I came across a driving realization. I could feel immense pressure start to form on my lower abdomen. There was an excruciating urge to relieve myself from this screaming demand since… I had to go. Nothing would stop me from this intense feeling and need to relieve myself. I couldn’t take it. My face winced, and my eyebrows pierced each other until…
I heard a car door slam. And I heard footsteps. I used the last ounce of energy I had to open my eyes. I saw her face. I saw thousands of her face. But I didn’t know who she was. All I could hear was hundreds of people shouting my name. Shouting so loud. I couldn’t stand it. This stranger and the people she brought with her were so loud. “Harper! Harper!” I signed to them to go away. But I doubt my fingers listened to me. They were burning hot. My clothes smothered my body. I couldn’t stand the unbearable heat.
But then, it stopped. Everything stopped.
I awoke, hours later, in my bed. Miss Kendra was sitting next to me. I closed my eyes again, I was exhausted. I needed sleep. But they opened, a blink later. And it was morning. I heard the Ranger pulling out of the next door driveway on its weekly trek to church. I rolled over, but Miss Kendra was no longer by my side. I was so cold, but that could be expected of winter. It took me a while to untangle myself from the hundreds of unaccounted-for blankets embracing me. As I un-tucked myself from each blanket, I noticed my hands were purplish in hue. But I wasn’t scared, since I could move them.
I walked, grudgingly, downstairs to find my dad and step-mom in their daily routine of dancing and observing. I smelt chicken broth coming from the kitchen. As I passed by, each step was a nightmare. I glanced out my curtain-less window, and saw a poorly-constructed snow angel under the tree in my front yard. I wondered where it came from.
Probably some stupid kid.