Madeleine Richey

Cold December

I sit still and utterly silent, submerged in darkness. The heat warms the house, comforting me as best it can. Outside the window I can see the snow, brilliantly white and soft as feather down. Without even closing my eyes I can imagine the way it feels against my skin, achingly cold, sucking all the warmth from my body like the cold fingers of death probing at my soul in the dead of winter. The December cold taps at the windowpane, vying for my attention. I ignore it, pulling my sweater closer about my body and snuggling down into my chair. The faint scent of pine needles fills the air, sharp and refreshing, mingling with the smell of the fading cranberry candle on the scrubbed table. The flame begins to dwindle, the light slowing fading away until it is snuffed out, consumed by the melted wax. Closing my eyes, I sigh, glancing up at the Christmas tree. The multicolor lights shine brightly in the darkness, scaring away the evil creatures that lurk in the shadows. The tree is like our star of Bethlehem, leading my family closer and closer to each other, until we are all gathered here on Christmas Eve night, staring at the Christmas tree in all its splendor, together for what may be the last time. For time ticks on, and the clock never ceases. Even now, in this twilight hour when the world falls prey to silence, I can hear the steady ticking of the clock like a heartbeat, reminding me that I am growing older.
Midnight draws closer, and still I sit beside the Christmas tree, bathed in the glow of the lights as they dance across my face like flickering firelight. Outside the cold December night beckons, calling for me to step outside and dance in the cold snow, my bare feet crushing the delicate snowflakes and slipping across the ice. I want to feel the snowflakes as they fall softly down on the earth and rest in my hair—I want to taste them as they land on my tongue—want to see the white mist of my warm breath in the cold air. But I don’t step outside. I know that what I desire is just a fairytale, something told to children as they lie safe and warm in their beds. I open my eyes to glance once more at the Christmas tree, my only comfort. It scares away the shadows, wards of nightmares, and dims the worries of life, everything dwarfed by its splendor. For now I am safe, but the minute I step outside I will find myself in a cold December wasteland, the landscape barren, all the light and beauty stripped from the world by winter’s icy hands.


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Madeleine Richey.
Published on on 03/11/2013.


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