Dread is crawling down my spine as my eyes are glued to the window. The last time I saw snow was when I died, sixteen years ago. Who would have thought, that such a mesmerising day would turn into the most agonising one of my life? Not me… I still, to this day remember how it felt; taking that cold and crisp breath for the last time.
As the seconds were passing it was less and less cold, the warmth was taking over my body. It sounds strange I have to admit. Usually, as you are dying you would feel cold because the heart starts beating slower and the blood is leaving your body at abnormal speed through the wounds on your body. Less blood, less warm I guess? But not in my case. I assume nature didn’t want to be cruel to me since it was already death cold over a frozen lake surrounded by dense forest. Yes, that is where I died, surrounded by nature, looking at the wide sky.
I couldn’t determine if the sky was closer to me or further than me? Perhaps while my body was fighting I was further, and while it was losing I was closer. Such an interesting view on life... Do our souls ever go towards the sky? I would say not, because I am still here, lingering between life and something beyond me, light? I heard someone close to me saying that when you are close to death that you see some kind of a light that takes you into heaven.
Anyway, that is just a story I heard a long time ago that, in my case, didn’t come to life.
Aw, I would want to come back to life, but any day but this, since on this day sixteen years back I died. Maybe that is why I am here, back after all of those years. I wonder where would everybody be now? Every last person that made my last day amongst the living truly wonderful.
I would start with Amy. As I am seeing these white sparkles falling from the sky I can feel her cold arms wrapping around my body. She was my younger sister, a true friend I should say. She was more than a family member to me since she was born. Those beautiful sparkly eyes looked at me for the first time and left me speechless. My body was numb like her eyes turned me to stone, but still, those eyes melted my heart. Her light blue eyes adorned her youthful skin. She had chestnut-coloured hair that matched her cozy sweater that fitted her like a glove. „You have to see this!“ I swear I just heard her voice inviting me over to see something. False alarm... memories! My mind, like it is projecting her movements, her swag, and her loveliness like she is truly here, before me. She looks like she did that day. Maybe I am reliving that day again? I would love that, but not the end... anyway, there she was. As I came closer she pointed her finger at the map of a mountain we were on. „If we go this route here, maybe we can find this lake and possibly ice skate!“ She beamed.
„I don’t know...“ That was my friend Melanie, she loved adventure but was hard to convince to do something fun as Amy would always suggest. I met her in kindergarten, yes a very long time ago. She was, actually, my first friend. It was really weird and unknown being friends with somebody other than my younger sister. Melanie was the same age as I was so that was new for me too, especially being so close to so many other kids our age. Even though I was a bit scared at first I quickly adjusted to the new surroundings. I remember this like it was yesterday, I saw her standing alone near the lunch table. We just had our meal and the teacher let us play with whatever we wanted in the room. She was too scared to move that she just froze by her chair. Her jaw was clenching. Her nails were carving into wooden backrest. I felt something in my heart, a sting that caused pain. All I could think of was to come closer and help her in any way I could. And... I did that. I came closer and said nothing, instead, I took her hand and just looked at her. „Thank you“ she uttered, but with her eyes, I could see that. Since that day we were inseparable.
„Come on Melanie, it will be fun, I promise!“ That would be Joshua, always excited for anything, really... I would have to admit that I didn’t like him at first... He was giving away a vibe of someone I didn’t want to be close with, and then I ended hanging out with him because he would often stay at my house. Little back story, Joshua was the son of my mom's best friend. We met when we were both nine. His mom left to live in a very far away country before she gave birth to him. But, after nine years she decided to come back because she divorced her then-husband and she bought a house near ours. Of course, our moms would see each other nonstop, that is why we would often be together. Amy liked him more than I did. In the begging, he was very aggressive and would push people away from him. He would be at our house but would not say a word... Until Amy decided that should stop. „When will you start talking with us?“ She asked him, plain and simple. Amy, my younger sister, managed to see his true colours and to lift the shy and unconfident boy who built his gourd up. I have to admit, his father had left him and he had moved to a completely unknown and far away place from where he couldn’t visit his friends anymore, it must have been challenging for him, but he got us.
And that was our little team. Memories, such a precious thing to have... I would do anything just to go back in time and relive every memory I cherish deeply, and every that warms my cold heart every time I think about it. So let’s begin with one another memory, the most important one, my white memory... It was my birthday, we decided, well, actually it was Amy’s plan – of course – that we should go to the mountain for my birthday. The cottage where I am now was the cottage from my grandparents and where we were then, with the map that Amy was showing us. So, after my grandparents had died we inherited this cottage. We would never find the time to come here, and honor our grandparents by taking the time to take care of the place. Someone always had to do something, so Amy took the things in her hands and surprised us all when she told us that she had bought the tickets to come here. We were all very excited about the trip but at the same time kind of scared of the weather. It was heavily snowing those past few days, but fortunate for us, for my birthday, the weather was perfect! It wasn’t so cold like it was a few days before, and also it was perfectly snowy outside!
A few hours later we were discussing if we should go on an adventure presented by Amy or not. Amy and Joshua were extremely excited while Melanie was not. I was somewhere in between... now come to think of it, maybe I would have still been alive if we had decided not to go and instead stay in the warm cottage with lukewarm teas and home movies we planned to watch, but after we would come from the frozen lake. Unfortunately we never got to watch them... I wonder if they watched them without me? Did they ever come back to this cottage, to that frozen lake? I presume some did not, but I believe Amy did. Melanie would be too scared, and Joshua, even though he seemed tough he would not know how to deal with the emotions. But Amy, that crazy girl... she would come back to search for my spirit. I would like to believe that she indeed was coming there every year for my birthday. I know that she loved me, truly.
Everything was fine. The snow was soft and shiny! Joshua surprised us all when he snuck behind us and threw a large snowball at Amy. That is how a war between the two fronts started. Amy versus Joshua. It was so freaky and funny that I couldn’t stop laughing. Just as Melanie wanted to say something – I believe she wanted to say that they should stop – Amy dodged and the snowball Joshua threw landed on her face slamming her red eyeglasses. We all burst into laughter. I know she wanted to laugh too, but instead, she simply said „very funny...“.
The way to the frozen like was so much fun that we all forgot about the time, we forgot our lives and our past; we were just there in the present moment like we never knew anything but that place and each other. I couldn’t wish for a better birthday all thanks to my sister, my first friend, and my other friend that was once alone like I have felt before I met the three of them. They were my family, they were my everything... Not once that day have I imagined that all of that would end and that I would never see their faces again. I am sure that they didn’t imagine it either, especially the person who ended all of it. I forgive you, and you should know that... it wasn’t your fault...
Finally, we were there, looking at the frozen surface above the lake surrounded by dense forest that was covered with a white blanket. Our eyes widened as they met the shiny surface we were all waiting to see. It was even more wonderful than I had imagined. The sky was bright, not one cloud dimmed the light that was all over the snow, making it shine like small diamonds were spilled all around.
We just froze, viewing the place that looked like a magical garden from heaven. Like turned to stone, we couldn’t move until Amy rushed and threw herself on the ground making a snow angel. Then, we all followed, even Melanie who seemed pretty tense about the whole situation and idea. Giggles lingered in the air. We were all alone and we could do anything we wanted. We could scream from the bottom of our lungs and no one would bother us for doing so. We were just kids. We weren’t thinking about anything other than having fun. As we should have, of course. But we... we knew very little. We were reckless at times, and we didn’t give much thought to the consequences of our actions. Therefore I don’t know if I should regret it or not, because we had the time of our lives no matter the actions we decided to take. And, I should mention, that we would never do anything on purpose if we knew what our actions could cause.
„Come on guys! Let’s go over the frozen lake!“ Amy shouted, of course.
„I will just stay here and watch you skate!“ Melanie replied.
She sat in the snow while I was standing beside her. Amy and Joshua rushed and Joshua fell as soon as he had hit the slippery surface. We all burst into laughter, especially Amy who couldn’t get herself together. „Instead of making fun of me, you should consider helping me get up!“ He shouted. He wasn’t angry, it was just a play to make her help him so he could throw her on the ground and laugh at her face. Just friends being friends. I laughed so loud but stopped as soon as I realised that I haven’t heard Melanie laughing. I sat beside her as she was watching them acting like „professional“ ice skaters.
„Why don’t you go with them? I could see you were very excited about the idea.“ She wondered.
„Because then you would be alone and I ain’t going to let that happen.“
„Why?“ She simply asked. I assumed she would say more, but no...
„Because I know how I would feel, and I wouldn’t like to be left alone.“
„Come on, go!“ She shouted. „I would like to watch you, alone. I truly mean it! Come on, let’s go, I’ll join you in a second, I promise!“
As I was making my way to the center of the frozen lake Joshua saw something that caught his attention. He swiftly ran towards that something. „What is this?“ Amy heard him and ran towards him to see what he had found.
With every step I had made, I could hear small cracks under my soles. White lines like branches were spread all across the crystal surface over which I was walking. I made my last step, I was right in the center of the lake. My gaze was directed to the ground when I heard Amy and Joshua. „Wow! This is a gun! Someone must have forgotten it here while they were hunting!“
„Let me see it!“ Amy chimed in.
I raised my gaze to see what they found and that is when I felt a metal piercing my body. Bullet went straight through my abdomen. My lips separated. My eyes widened. Amy was staring at me, frozen solid at the same spot. Joshua ran towards me. Melanie started screaming. And, Amy, well, she fell on her knees and dropped the metal objects from her hands.
My hands were so shaking that I barely moved them towards my belly. The red fluid emerged and soaked my white coat. Dizziness overwhelmed me. I fell on my knees slamming them over frozen solid ground, but it didn’t matter anymore if I would get a bruise or not.
I moved my hands. The red stain on them stung even more painful than the bullet that ended the most beautiful day in my life. “You will be okay! Just hang in there!” That was Joshua. He helped me lay on the ground. “We will find help, you will be fine, I promise!” But he broke his promise. I wasn’t okay.
My skin was paler with every second that was going by. My crusty lips lost their colour. My heart was beating slower and slower.
Joshua was encouraging me to fight. Melanie was crying her heart out and Amy was nowhere to be seen. Even Melanie came closer to me and was crying for help but in vain. No one could hear us… we were all alone.
It started snowing. Guess, even the sky was crying.
One moment I felt no pain, just love. My friends, my everything, they were beside me, looking at me with tears in their eyes and sorrow in their hearts. That made my last day amongst the living the most beautiful day that I could ever imagine. My last seconds were filled with hope that they were giving me. But… all I wanted at that moment was to see her, my little sister, my best friend. I wanted to see those ocean blue eyes for the last time like I saw them the first time when she was born. But I never got the chance, because my eyes closed and my heart stopped beating before I could see her for the last time.
Now, after sixteen years I am here again. I wonder why… Why did nature invite me here after all of those years? Maybe it is time to visit that place for the last time ever.
I left the cottage and soon came to the frozen lake.
It is beautiful as the first and last day I was there. I am not cold like the last time, but now I am alone. I am stepping closer and tentatively placing my feet onto a frozen surface that held me while I was taking my last breath and then I raise my gaze and see her. She is placing red roses over the center of the lake. „Jane, I love you and I still miss you!" She sighed. All I can think is how she grew up and how I just want to see her eyes before I go again.
I had assumed that Amy would come here for my birthday but I never imagined that she would be here sixteen years later, but there she was… My feet, glued to the surface, and her eyes glued to mine. Like she can really see me, but all that matters is that I can see hers, and now I can peacefully go into the light.