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That night, Max had gone to bed early. There was no reason to stay up; he’d only make another mess that would need to be cleaned up. His mom was on the phone, and Dad was watching TV. “Just go play with your blocks, or whatever kids do now, can’t you see I’m on the phone?” said his mother irritably.
“Mom...I’m 12.” Max grumbled, and walked to his room. 12:23. the clock blinked at him from across the room. “Why in the lanta am I awake?” He turned over and tried to go back to sleep, but he noticed that his window was glowing. That’s weird, he thought. He got up and saw a fresh coat of pure white snow covering the ground. The pine trees were a nice contrast to the crisp white of the snow. By this time, Max couldn’t go back to sleep. Since his room was on the first story, he could easily climb out the window.
He put on some snow boots, and a heavy coat and mittens. Oh, what to do with such a glorious night? He ran about for a bit, and made a few snow angels. He played the xylophone on a row of icicles and chased a herd of deer. He then decided to make a snowman.
As Max was making the snowman, he found himself wishing it was alive. “I’m so lonely up here; I just wish I had a friend.” Max dug up a designer scarf his mom would probably miss, a beret, 2 cherry tomatoes, and a long piece of shredded carrot for the mouth. After that, there was nothing to do but go back to bed.
As Max was undressing to go back to bed, he was thinking hard about names for his snowman. He decided on Nathaniel, the name of his favorite uncle. As he scampered into bed, Max had a sudden, dreadful thought. Should he take down Nathaniel so his parents wouldn’t know about his nighttime adventure? No, he decided. He couldn’t, just couldn’t destroy something that he worked so hard on.
1:57 AM, Max woke up to a dulled scratching on his window. Holy cow, he thought! What in the heavens could that be? He walked over to the window, and almost swallowed his tongue in surprise. It was Nathaniel, come alive! Nathaniel was scratching at his window with his branch arms. Max’s palms were slick with perspiration and his heart was hammering. Max opened the window, and helped the snowman creation in. It was quite a feat, considering that Nathaniel was a bit chunky.
“What, what happened? You’re, you’re just snow! How are you, you alive?” Max stuttered when he was upset, and this was no exception. Nathaniel did not answer, except to make a grunting sound. Max realized that Nathaniel’s mouth had fallen off, so he quickly made him a new one out of string.
In a hollow voice, the newly alive snowman spoke. “Good evening. It is very pleasant to meet my maker. Where are we?”
For a moment, Max was too startled to respond. “Uh...we’re in my parent’s cabin, up in the mountains. Can I ask a question? How in the name of Jedediah are you alive, walking, and talking? Is there a person in you?”
Nathaniel appeared to think about it for a minute. “I am not certain of the exact science of it, but sometimes, when a child makes a wish, and wishes it with his or her whole heart, the universe will grant that wish for one night, one night only. It appears that you simply wished me alive, so therefore it became true. If I’m correct, I will become inanimate once again when another person or the sun sees me.” Max was speechless for a moment, and then grinned slowly. He would have a best friend that he could hide in his room!
“Hey, hey Nathaniel. You said if nobody sees you, and if the sun doesn’t see you, then you’ll stay alive! You can live in my closet! And what do you like to eat? I can harvest you icicles if you like!” Max was very excited and happy. But, Nathaniel’s face was almost regretful.
“That is a very kind offer, sir. But your house is much too warm, I’m already melting.” Indeed, it was true. Nathaniel’s figure was already slimmer, and there were puddles of water near where he stood. Max panicked; his mother would be so mad.
“Hurry, help me clean this up! Wait, you’re the source of trouble. Stay over there in that corner!” Max hurriedly cleaned up the mess, and grabbed a tarp for Nathaniel to stand on. “Ok, I’ll go outside with you and we can play in the snow!”
After 20 minutes, it was soon obvious that snowmen are very hard to play with. Max was exhausted, but he didn’t want to waste the only night with his new best friend. However, Nathaniel’s continual obedience of every order was starting to get on his nerves. “What do you want to do now, Nathaniel? Can I call you Nate?” Max asked.
“I will do whatever my master commands. My master can call me whatever he wishes” said Nathaniel expressionlessly.
“Okay…don’t get me wrong, Nate, but I’m really tired. But I don’t want to leave you to melt. Is there a place that you can go, where the sun and people can’t reach you?”
“I do not know” said Nathaniel. “I am not even supposed to be alive in the first place; I have no knowledge of where I was previously”. The two friends said an awkward goodbye, then Max snuck back into his bedroom to sleep.
As he was lying in bed, Max suddenly wasn’t tired. He was ashamed of himself. He had used Nathaniel, and was leaving him to be melted away. Max sighed, and rolled over to try to sleep. Half an hour later of hard thinking, it came to him. The North Pole!
He ran outside to find Nathaniel standing in the same spot. “I’m waiting for the sun to come” said Nathaniel. “I wonder if it will hurt, the life leaving me. Have you come to say goodbye? You already did, and I thought you were tired.” Max was panting from running so fast over to Nathaniel.
“I, I had a great idea! Trains run through the woods behind my house all the time. If you hide, the sun will not reach you, and you can eventually reach the North Pole! I would come with you, but my parents would get mad at me.” Max waited for Nathaniel to praise his plan and his brilliance.
Nathaniel turned to look at Max. “Master, if it is all right with you, I would rather melt. It is unnatural, what you have made me. Please, let me stay, Master.”
Max was shocked. “Don’t call me Master. I want a friend, not a servant.”
“Please…Max. Please let me go.” For the first time, Max could see the emotion on Nathaniel’s frozen face.
“Okay, okay Nathaniel. I will let you go. Thank you for being my friend.” To his astonishment, Max felt tears welling up in his eyes.
“Goodbye, Max. Go to bed, you are tired and you need rest. You also need a human friend. Promise me; promise me Max, that you will make a real friend, one who can be with you.”
“Bye, Nate” whispered Max. He ran back inside and went to bed. In the morning, he woke up to the sun streaming through the window. He raced to the window, and climbed out of it without even changing. Had last night been a dream? No, it had not. There stood a snowman, without moving. The snowman had a huge smile on his face.