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The white stuff was everywhere.
But wait a minute. The falling white couldn’t have been the phenomenon known as snow; this abnormal weather was happening in New Orleans after all. My classmates and I were immediately possessed by a rapture only a flurry of ice could cast. We all peeked through the windows: we all thought, on top of the almost unbearable cold, an even chillier rain would follow from the thick, packed clouds—we were happily proven wrong.
In an explosion of euphoria that shattered many an eardrum, we scattered everywhere. Our teacher’s shouts become faint echoes in the vast school building as we ventured outside. It seemed like the whole school entered a joyous chaos, with almost every other class—from eighth graders to seniors—pouring into the yard like an avalanche.
Five or so minutes passed in the slowly emerging winter wonderland, and I had already lost seventy-five percent feeling in my fingers and in my face. The frosted flakes floated onto the main grassy field and the faculty parking lot. Girls whipped out their phones without a second thought and took snapshots of each other in this rare moment. Others started scooping up snow in their eager, bare hands from the hoods of cars, bushes, any surface that had collected enough snow for their ammunition. The first snowball I saw—more of a hastily made, polygonic snow structure than a snowball—saliently flew across the field and hit its victim square in the butt.
Looking at all this merriment behind an imaginary window, I suddenly thought of all my friends who were probably somewhere on campus, somewhere in the white distance. I moved from my place and, dodging projectiles as I went, started running through the snow.
In my happy haste, my nose started to feel nonexistent, despite the thawing warmth of the school buildings I managed to enter unscathed and the empty hallways I dashed through easily. I caught my reflection in a glass exit door, and the tip of my nose resembled a cherry on top of a caramel sundae. Through that glass door, I re-entered the winter wonderland outside, and sure enough, the first things that greeted me were a band of smiles and an onslaught of snowballs. I guess I couldn’t dodge them all.
I was then assaulted by something else entirely—a killer hug attack by my good friend Jennifer. Her long, brunette hair was tied in a ponytail sprinkled with ice. Her exposed ears and were even cherrier than my nose. Her cheeks turned even redder with the even wider, scintillating smile she gave me. Kellie, second-in-command in their spontaneous snow patrol, wore a flowing black cape, fluttering like a bat wing in a blizzard, and two, frozen, light brown pigtails; the dramatic, superheroic pose she struck seemed very fitting with her outfit. Tabatha, their cadet, crouched behind some bushes. She was armed with a snowball in her hand and a deceptively innocent grin on her face. Nevertheless, Tabatha broke her façade and shyly emerged giggling from the bushes; stray ice shavings fell from her black curls and beaming, tan face.
We all burst into laughter. In the midst of the cold, I felt warm where I stood.
The four of us stumbled along like French Quarter revelers on a Saturday night, as we slipped and slid on the slick blades bathed in white. At one point, I gave up and let myself fall onto the seemingly endless sheet of perfection. The sky continued to churn somber clouds of gray, while the whiteness descending on me continued to spread joy with every drop. I felt the frolicking footsteps and lighthearted laughter of my friends reverberate in the ground.
The sounds gradually drew me away from the sights, and so I got up—and I slipped right into Jenny’s arms. She propped me up, but she kept me still a few seconds longer—why, I did not know. I wanted to trip over more frozen grass with my favorite snow patrol; I wanted to feel the icicle oxygen rush into my excited lungs.
“Wait—stop, stop,” she sighed, breathlessly.
I pulled against her wishes, but I did stop to think. My friend has always noticed those certain somethings everyone else would skim over—like me, for example. I was a book, and Jennifer never skimmed through my pages. She was oddly and completely engrossed by the multi-genre mystery that was me, and she hasn’t put me down since she found me in the back of the shelf in eighth grade. Maybe she found another “book” now, noticed a different kind of story.
So I stopped.
Our heavy shoes sunk into the ground; the crunching sound our chunky soles made was eclipsed by our awestruck silence.
Tabatha and Kellie slipped behind us, but Jennifer hushed them. Their footsteps were even quieter when they came toward us. I felt a damp hand squeeze my shoulder.
“Wow,” one of us uttered.
A sea of virgin snow sat atop the remaining yards of the back field before us. The bed of white continued to grow with every plop of every flake; the delicate sheets became whiter and whiter to a point no bleach could reach.
“Let’s go back,” Jenny whispered.
Kellie and Tabatha retreated gracefully and clawed more snow for their arsenal. Eventually Jennifer and I returned to the war-torn battle zone, but I glanced back every now and then at the untouched field, and I realized they were made from the same white stuff.