I stood at the window, looking out onto the snow. My breath fogged the glass, but it didn't match the pristine opaqueness of the snow. I rubbed it off, entranced by the sight of these sparkling mountains. So gentle and pure, no human could resist this. It was simplicity compared to our boiling turmoil. I leaned my head against the cool glass, closing my eyes and soothing my headache.
My parents were still arguing inside, and I heard the clatter of plates smashing into the floor. No matter, this was just as seasonal as the snow. Every few months my parents realized how much they hated the institution of marriage, and snapped. There had used to be reasons, like a lost job or family tragedy, but now it was routine.
The heating was off as they fought, and the house was dark, empty and cool. They were arguing over bills, money, their children. They fought over whose fault it was that they were married, who messed up whose life. Both of them blamed the other for how broken their kids were. Or in my case, how deformed my face was.
But watching the ice drove the chill away, watching the ice helped me find a beauty my parents hadn't managed to tarnish, in this broken, lonely house. And no matter how many things changed in my life, the postal code, my status, the failed attempts to fix my ruined face; the ice remained. It returned year after year, each time more perfect than the last.
Inside, all the surviving cups and plates were mismatched, there were chipped plates and bent forks. There were coffee stains on the walls, and the floors groaned in agony under the weight of furious steps. Nothing was beautiful, just old, damaged and dusty.
There had been a time I had run to my parents when they fought, breathless and in tears. I used to hope my sadness and existence would keep this family together. And briefly, there had been a different kind of beauty, in the sunlight. My parents made promises, picked me up, decided that lost car keys and some stress weren't worth ripping up this family for.
Even after the accident, for a little while, I had mattered enough for them to stay strong. But now the bonds had grown as brittle as icicles and fallen. With the broken glasses in the garbage bin, lay phot frames of vacations with a smiling family.
My mother's mind had begun to give away, like thin ice on a lake, and my father had turned hypothermic, his heart so cold it chilled others through proximity. Any hug was more dangerous for me than him, coupled with a biting remark or observation.
Unfortunately, I wasn't perfect, or a miracle. I rubbed away a new stain of fog and traced the snow with my eyes. It was so perfect, these glorious, tumbling thrones for ice queens who felt nothing. The pale, incomparable light couldn't melt it, instead, it made them shine.
Nothing mattered to me any more than the cold I had learned to make my home in.
My mother began shouting in her wailing way and I heard the baby start to cry. God, I felt terrible for it. Nobody in this house would go soothe its worries. At least I had known the glint of happiness that gave me my personality. This child would never know that, and I began to wish it hadn't been born. Unloved, uncared for, it would soon join the ranks of some heartless statistic on abuse, murder, death, suicide, or something.
Such ugly thoughts, they weren't worth thinking, I mused, twirling the knife in my hand. I considered the cold metal, whether it could help me. The ice called to me, and I looked up.
It disapproved. Look how ugly and cold the knife was, even its shine muted. Imagine the ugliness of blood, it said, a stain for sure, dripping and dripping. Not pristine, not perfect. The sharp fingers of ice hanging against my window stopped me and suggested something different.
Wouldn't a view look better from up close? What would the sky look like if you were a queen on a silver throne?
I agreed, easily opening the latch on my window, and climbing up to my ledge. If I was quiet enough, I could be gone for hours and nobody would know.
Everything felt dreamy in my euphoric state, and I snagged my white dress on the window. I carefully jumped down, grateful that the snow had planned this so well. The snow was just soft and hard enough for me to gracefully land but without a sound. I hated how fleshy and red my skin looked against the seamless, flawless snow. But that could soon be fixed.
Glittering diamonds twinkled at me, encouraging me onwards. The scene before me was stunning: a pond, frosted deciduous trees, and the palace of snow before me.
Tentatively, I stepped forward, speechless because of how untainted, how stunning this view was. Unbroken, light and wondrous. Nobody yelled. In fact, I couldn't hear a sound from the daunting house. I didn't bother turning around, there was nothing there for me.
And I wanted to be a part of this, I wanted to be a part of it so bad. I wanted to be beautiful, and timeless, and capable of making someone happy or sad.
The snow told me what to do, to be wiped clean as it was, to sparkle. To be free of everything that pulled me down.
I stepped onto the ice of the bond, hissing from the cold against my bare feet. I saw myself, my reflection, gently smiling up at me from under the light green glass. She seemed happy, the dark rings under dark eyes gone.
Slowly, I approached the centre, cracks forming under my feet, cool water pooling over it. The ice sounded like a memory of thunder, accompanying my steps deeper. But for once I didn't try to fix the cracks, I embraced them. Shivering, I carefully laid down, hearing the snaps and welcome grumbles of the ice beneath me. The sky was bluer than any sky I had ever seen before, deeper than an ocean.
Welcome home, the snow said quietly, until it suddenly gave away. I was pulled under into icy depths. Swallowed by the beauty.