I stare out onto the vast blanket of white before and it glares back at me with the sun’s piercing rays. I rub my eyes and blink a few times. My foot taps on the slippery wood beneath me. It provides a backbeat to the lengthy nothing that floats on the wind like an invisible paper airplane.
I steady my foot as it gives a final, grandiose tap to end its performance. Its impact creates a few small cracks in the ice. I sigh. A small fog appears in front of my face. As it dissolves into the air it floats towards me in the wind.
The wind slips between the tears in my jacket and caresses my body with its tendrilous fingers. I shake it off, rejecting its frigid advances. It reaches the conclusion that somehow I’m the problem. After rolling its eyes it dissolves into a cool breeze and wanders off to pursue a warmer reception.
Having less company than a college party has rational thoughts and less warmth than a mediocre writer has analogies about college parties, I lift my foot towards the snow. Before setting it down on the frozen wood that lies before the snow, a speck of dust finds its way into my eye.
My eyelids shut and my eyes instinctively and start to water. A stray current brushes past and spills its drink on me. Sorry man is what it sputters out while gulping down some corn chip and beer stew. Despite the apology, the breeze continues shoving me forward as if not regarding that I exist.
My foot lurches forward and sinks a deep hole into the snow. I lean on my back foot and use my hands to try to climb out. The process is tedious. I claw at the icy surface to try to grab hold of anything I can. With each movement, I gain little progress. Each time I advance, my dry hands slip off the wood and return to the snow. My hands redden as the cold infects them with its stale breathe. They stiffen and lose their utility as my body climbs towards the wooden surface.
As I’m Inches away from freedom, a stern breeze marches up to me. It looks down at my cracked and bloody hands and asks me what I think I’m doing bleeding all over his nice ice and good wood. It pries my fingers off of the surface. My stomach drops as I fall back into the pit.
The wind kicks me further into the ground and seals the entrance. It smiles and laughs all the while, pointing imaginary fingers. Snow pours down on me from all edges and cements me in an icy prison. I jerk my arms and legs around trying to create some wiggle room. With each movement, the snow only gets heavier on top of them. Each time my ribcage rises and falls to take a breath, a frigid five-pound weight suppresses it.
Unseen suns swim through the sky and reach the opposite side. Underneath I rest. Frost covers my face and a family of icicles grows from my nose. The wind dances above my head and seems to have forgotten I lie here. It kicks the snow around above my head before doing the same to some snow a few feet over. This process results in little, if any, net difference. Its constant clamor fills my eardrums.
The bitter cold has long since seeped through my torn jacket and turned my blood icy. My skin has turned blue and rubbery. Movement has become impossible. My fingers and toes are now remnants of better days. Each shallow breath inches me closer to the light.
I open my eyes.
My feet rest before the brilliant sheet of unbroken snow. I take a deep breath and with my exhale a cloud forms in front of my face. As it dissipates a small breeze stumbles by. It drags the cloud with it for a few inches, muttering something about sobriety, and their expertise on the subject.
My hand jumps to my face and feels the skin. It's cold but soft. My fingers rub against the rough edges of my cracked lips. My nose is cool. I twist a hand around in front of me inspecting each side. Areas on the back are coarse and dry. My palm is a light shade of red. My fingers wiggle around in front of me, each intact and no darker than the red of my palm.
My hand finds its way into my pocket. It pulls up its covers and lets me know it wouldn’t be available until it feels like being available. I stare out into the snow in front of me.
It looks like nothing. As if I were dead and now in heaven, but heaven wasn’t done loading yet. It appears unassuming, and yet so vibrantly white that looking at it for too long strains the eyes. There is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing right with it. There is nothing with it. An endless sea of white, so perfect and yet so absent of anything that makes it that way.
I look down at my feet. A thin layer of ice coated the wood beneath me. With a deep breath, I pick up my foot and hover it above the lower step. Its icy surface brings a vivid image into reality. The sound of my faint heartbeat thumping and fading with each note rings in my ears.
For a moment I consider standing there forever. My foot returns to its original position beneath me. I look back up at the pearlescent white sheet. My heart races in my chest.
I close my eyes and take a breath. The wind tugs at my jacket. I pull it closer to me. I decide that if my mind isn’t going to cooperate, it might as well stuff it. With another deep breath, my foot drops to the frozen step below and the wind hardly notices.