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Forgetting the Cold

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I lean sleepily on a shovel as the garage door screeches open. I wince as the noise pierces my ears, and stare at the midnight blue sky that envelops the outside world. Snow continues to fall from the sky onto the 6 inches that already line the ground. Feeling like an uncomfortable marshmallow, I take a deep breath and stick my shovel into the snow. The bottom mutedly scrapes against the stone driveway. It moves a few inches before it is full of heavy, pure snow. I bend down and lift it up, tossing it to the side. I sigh, looking at the few meager inches I have cleared of our three-car garage driveway. Starting on the right side as always, I push the shovel with force, attempting to dig my snow shoes into the ground for some kind of steadiness. My foot slips, and I just barely catch myself before falling into the powdered snow. I intake a breath as I stand up, attempting to regain my composure. The cold is already biting at my nose. Both for warmth and in defiance, I scrunch my face up. It doesn’t last long as I move my concentration to the task ahead of me. The snow continues to fall in large chunks, not only increasing my work, but sticking to my hat and gloves and making me cold.
My room is always cold. I reach into my closet, grabbing hold of my warmest sweatshirt and sit down to do my homework. I flip open my agenda to the list that I dread. I reach out for my math book, heaving it with both arms to my desk. As I turn the pages, write down the numbers, they all seem to blur together in my head. I can’t separate one formula from the next. I bite my fingernails and stare at the problem. Getting nowhere, I close the book in frustration and pray I won’t fall too far behind. I figure perhaps history will be easier. I open up to a practice test and struggle to work through each multiple choice. Twelve out of twenty I’ve answered right. I take a sigh, running my hands through my hair, and put the test away. I pull out my vocabulary terms to study some more; I clearly need to know more than I do. I stare at my notes as I put my hands together.
I blow on them, trying to warm them up. The wet snow soaks right through my woolen gloves. They slip on the plastic shovel as I try to lift the next batch of snow. I grip the plastic handle harder and one by one slowly lift and throw each mound away from the driveway. I can see my breath as I exhale with each toss of snow. The bone-numbing cold infects everything. The basketball hoop above me is frozen, and the trees turn an eerie gray with each passing winter day. The skinny stems on the trees above are piled with snow so high they look as if they might topple over at any minute. I pause to admire their suffering beauty. Within my tensely structured boots, my feet attempt to escape the cold.
My toes curl up inside my socks as I look at the text I have just received. You going to the meeting tomorrow morning?! She asks. Yea, why? I respond. I don’t think I can. I still have a lot of work to do and I need to sleep. She responds. I shift uncomfortably in my black desk chair. My arms hang over the sides of the chair as I stare at the white ceiling. I hold a blink for a few extra seconds and bring myself back to the black desk in front of me. I tell her to relax and remind her that we’re all going through the same thing. I can feel my own shoulders tensing at the work that comes to mind. I can feel my post-it lists of things to do staring me down. I stop myself before thinking about what might happen if I didn’t finish. I drown the thought away by filling my head with the useless information from my notebooks. I shift my focus back to the emboldened history terms sitting on my desk. I absorb their neatly lined pages, all the while trying to forget those never ending lists.
The snow falls endlessly. It adds itself to the thick layers on the ground. The driveway now has a snow wall lining it. Uneven lumps of snow loom in what should be beautiful green grass. I tread with little steps atop the thin, clear ice that was hidden beneath the snow, my snow shoes gaining no ground. I have finally finished, but already a white dusting builds on the icy brick stones I’ve worked so diligently to clear. As I stand inside the garage, I can see my hard work being slowly erased by the minute. I lean the shovel up against the wall, take one last look at the ever-lightening sky, and head inside to try to forget the cold.





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