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Stepping off the grey cobblestone patio, my sister, Mara, my father, and I eased ourselves into the tub. The hot water bubbled around the three of us and steam hung in the air, making the brisk cold breeze around us sauna-like. Mountains weighted down with snow and smears of grey stone lay against the cloudless blue sky before us. My fingers traced patterns into the snow mounds beside the Jacuzzi, tingling in the freeze while my body soaked in the warmth. After five minutes of small talk, my dad leaned in with a smirking smile. “You two should jump in the snow.”
“What!” screeched my 5 year old sister.
“Try it” he insisted as he leaned in even closer.
“Maybe later,” I stated, nervously eyeing the huge pile of icy-cold snow. An Image of a full-bodied snow suit, so deathly cool against my skin, filled my mind with uncomfortable notions of the awfulness of this outfit. No thanks.
“I’ll go first if you two follow,” my dad persisted.
Before we opened our mouths to object, my father emerged from the hot tub and briskly walked towards the snow bank. Pausing for a moment, he turned to us, beaming wildly. He then sank into the snow, rolling around back and forth, screaming with mock pain. He rose from the bank, sprinted to us with the same grin plastered on his face and slipped into the bubbling water with a sigh.
“Your turn, Belle-baby,” my father urged, using my childhood nickname.
Slowly, I lifted myself from the warm water. Scattered thoughts raced through my head as I pulled my body out of the tub. Obviously, he was excited about the sensation. And who was I to judge something I had never tried? Like a coin flip, I did not know the outcome. Reluctantly, I decided to leave the steaming tub to escape the sinking feeling in my stomach and my father’s eager puppy dog eyes. I couldn’t disappoint his jubilant smile. If I did walk away from this experience, it would be with that unstoppable itch to run back, leap in the snow, plop down in the tub, and make this whole experience a memory - good or bad, but in the past.
I stepped away from the heat and onto the cool stones. The icy air sped my pace; I didn’t want it to penetrate my skin and control my shivers. When I got to the snow bank, I stuck my toes in and wiggled them around. A freezing sensation crawled up my leg, sending sharp sparks to every inch of my body. “You have to roll like daddy did!” shrilled Mara.
Fine, I thought, fine. I collapsed, allowing my whole body to crumble onto the snow bank. I squirmed around, moving my arms back and forth so even more snow tumbled over me. The powder became my torn up blanket, allowing for a glimpse of my legs or arms to catch the sun. Never stopping to allow the cold to wash over me, I leapt up and ran back to the tub. My thoughts were consumed with the fear I already was an icicle. I slid in sloppily, causing a splash. My skin began to tingle. At first, it was an enjoyable reaction, but soon, my whole body was on fire, an actual burning, stinging, never ceasing fire. I was paralyzed to the tub walls, unable to move or think of anything other than the mass of stings occupying my brain. It was prickling me, with every second adding more and more needles. I tried shifting around to shake the invisible fire snow off me, but failed. Defeated, forcing a grin upon my face, I sat burning in the water as every last bit of snow turned into melted ash. “Cool huh?” my dad asked.
“Yeah, it’s something,” I whispered.