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  • annedouglas8

I AM A CHILD


It is winter, I am a child and I am happy. My head’s on my pillow I peer out my bedroom window and watch as the heavy snow falls. To me it appears we’re in the middle of a major snowstorm and I hope the weatherman agrees. My neighborhood’s under a blanket of pure white. I lean over and whisper into my sleeping cat’s ear, please be a snow day, please be a snow day. My am/fm radio sits on my night stand and I turn the volume up as high as it will go. I’m afraid I’ll miss something. A man with a deep, gravelly voice is slowly announcing today’s school cancelations. He lists them in alphabetical order and I will him to pick up the pace. I’m waiting for him to call out the P’s, as in Providence, where I live. “Barrington, Cranston, East Greenwich, Foster-Gloster, Hopkington, Johnston, Pawtucket,” please, pretty please with sugar on top, just say it. Say Providence. I cross my fingers on both hands for good luck and it works. “All Providence schools are closed.” Before my feet even touch the floor my brother figure is in my doorway. He’s euphoric. In case I haven’t heard for myself he passes along the good news. “Annie, schools are closed.” Together, we race downstairs, squealing as we enter the kitchen. My mother’s making pancakes,

“Slow down.”

“Mom,” I blurt out, “Schools cancelled, I need my snow gear?”

“Both of you, sit at the table. You’re not going anywhere until you’ve eaten breakfast.” I don’t bother arguing, it’s pointless. My brother and I obediently sit down, inhale a few pancakes and chug a glass of milk.

“Mom, I’m done. I need all my warm clothes. My long underwear and snow pants.”

“Give me a minute,” she says, “I’ll be right there.” I’m sitting on the bottom step of the staircase in the front hall trying my best to be patient. My mother sure is taking her sweet time.

“Mom, are you coming?” She appears in front of me, hands on her hips.

“Anne Beatrice, the snow isn’t going anywhere!” I watch her lift the heavy lid of the oak chest in the front hall. My mother hands over my brown boots, puffy blue jacket and matching ski pants. I dress in record speed.

“Anne, check the closet for warm mittens and a hat.” I reach the front door but before I can make my quick escape I hear my mother approach from behind. She pulls a scratchy wool hat over my head and says.

“Leave it on. You know you lose most of your body heat through your head.”

I’m caught. Finally, I’m outside. A blast of frigid air hits me straight on. Maybe I’m just a tad bit grateful for my hat. My wooden sled, a Radio Flyer, rests against the railing of my porch. I wrap my mitten around its rope and take twelve steps to the end of my driveway. I glance back and admire the sled’s precise, clean tracks. I spot my best-friend in the distance and wave in her direction. I’m trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue. mouth wide open and stick out my tongue. I let myself fall backwards into the cushiony snow and begin to move my arms and legs in unison.

“Jules, pull me up.” She extends her hands and gives a quick tug so not to disturb my snow angel. Side by side we walk the short distance towards the best sledding hill on the East Side of Providence. In the distance there’s laughter, the thrill of the hill. On the horizon there’s a sea of colored parkas floating over the snow on circular saucers and wooden sleds. I’m timid and position myself as the passenger, wrapping my arms around my best friend’s middle. I begin to quiver, debating the danger. Tress in the distance pose a threat. Where’s my courage? An audience of my peers look up, staring in anticipation, all eyes are on me. I whisper in Julie’s ear, “Let’s do this.” I trust my best friend.

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