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Cocooned

The trees were pewter- some were ash, the last fiery flames of autumn clung to their bare branches. The November sky was gray and blue and rapidly darkening. The rocks in the creek bed had been tousled by the cardboard-colored mule deer. You noticed how your dogs’ yellow fur matched the grass which through October had begun to yellow like the teeth of the homeless man on the corner by Albertson’s who held a worn out sign that read “anything helps, God bless”, and the people looked at him as if he were a wild animal, but what they didn’t know is we are all wild animals.
Then, you feel a little white flake dust across your nose, and the snow is carpeting the trail ahead, the velvet pale crystallizing your dogs’ fur and softening your mascara-hardened eyelashes. You watch your dogs bury their faces in the snow and snort when it goes up their rubber black noses.
The trail reaches the bend, and you know that soon it will loop back to your car. The darkness is rising like a heavy sun, the sky indigo and the trees are silhouetted black like the shadows in your room at night. It was strange to think how silent snow is. When you step in it, it sounds like two pieces of crumbled college rule paper being rubbed together, but you cannot hear it fall like you can with rain. It’s one of those things that are strangely silent, like an owl flapping its wings, or the first tears of someone who is dying but they’re still there. If they were to cry in a room full of people, would they even make a sound? If you put them in an empty auditorium and forced the microphone to their lips, would they be able to tell their story? Don’t ask them what’s wrong and then just drop it, because they won’t tell you that easily when they can’t even tell the hired listener “I’m not okay.” It takes a lot more than a “what’s wrong?” to know what happened to them last night, or two months ago, or two years ago, when they still take unintentional re-experiences of the night that resurrected itself.
And then you see the gravel parking lot in the distance, and you pull your keys out of your pocket, jingling like sleigh bells. You help your dogs into the backseat, and start to drive. You love driving at night, because you can see the lights, and they’re especially pretty around the holidays because you can see Christmas trees shining, and string lights glowing.
You come down from the foothills, stop at the stop sign, and signal left. The back window is steamed from your dogs’ thick breath.
The road is collecting the snow, inches seeming to grow by the minute. You see a man on the sidewalk, illuminated by streetlights; his dog’s fur is grey and wirey, kind of like his hair. He isn’t covered in snow yet, and you know he must have seen it begin and decided to go outside. It’s good to know that some people still love snow. And then the man is gone, cold-nosed and cold-breathed, and just like any other day, you are soon to be cocooned in your cold white sheets, and you will turn off the lights, feeling the darkness surround you. And sometimes, even though you never wanted to, you understand why some people wish to never wake up.



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