The blizzard was raving all night. Snow fell from the sky as from a gigantic thrower. The morning was brisk and crisp, the sky cloudy. I dragged a blue plastic sled with two pairs of skis behind me, my feet sinking deep into the fluffy snow. My brother was happily plowing through the huge drifts, creating tunnels. The wind was blowing up high, rapidly changing the cloud’s formations, occasionally revealing glimpses of the cerulean blue sky.
We were going sledding and skiing at a local hill, used by all neighborhood kids in the winter for the exactly same purpose, in the summer for rolling down in dizzying circles log-style on its grassy slopes.
I was prickled with sweat by the time we reached the designated place (my brother had insisted on being dragged up, along with the skis a whole half of the way). Panting, I collapsed onto the ground, wiping frosted hair off my face. Somehow the snow had penetrated my thick layers of clothing, so my whole outfit was slightly damp. I felt unpleasant chills.
My brother, with some help, managed to put on his little blue Snoopy Dog skis, I, after several clumsy attempts, managed to fasten mine.
I cleared my throat, preparing for an instructional speech. "Herm. So. Today I will teach you the basics of skiing." I learned that from a quick TV commercial years ago, passed through my brain, but I didn’t want be hard on myself. How difficult could skiing be, anyway?
"The most important basic is to learn how to stop. You can do this by either leaning back, or thrusting your skis into a V shape. It's just that simple."
My brother gazed up at me with adoration. "You sure know a lot”. I shifted uncomfortably from side to side. Truth to be told, I felt very nervous. Maybe we should have just brought the sled.
"So, uh, do, um, you want to start?" I stuttered, my face growing pinkish. Wait, how do you stop, again? I totally forgot.... Maybe we have to put our skis into a C or D…”
My brother nodded enthusiastically. We waddled over to the very edge of the hill, and…. Go!
Cold wind was blasting ice flecks into my face, I could see a streak that was my brother flying beside me, my scarf was digging into my mouth and flapping around my face in the form of a mad, red butterfly. A giant snowdrift was looming ahead, and I, of course, forgot how to…
"STOP!!!" I yelled over the wind, my words tearing through the flying snow. "HOW?" Came the reply. How do I stop? How do I stop? "JUST PUT YOUR LEGS INTO A W…”
Both of us plummeted headfirst into the pile of snow. I waved my arms and legs frantically, skis and mittens dangling wildly. My brother started to dig out, the palms of his hands were stuck in the drift, snow pancaked his face.
"Hey, hey, look..... An alien." I stopped struggling. People were coming to the rescue us. I was saved!
"WE'RE HERE! WE'RE HERE! HELP US!"
"Look, it has eight limbs and two weird black green eyes! Is it a Martian?" The voice of a little four year old came closer, my brother got his glove-clad hands delicately poked. "Oh, oh, oh it closed its eyes! It's the close-eye-need-no-glasses-alien!" (The mittens were quickly withdrawn) "So do you want some food, alien?"
"HELP, HELP, GET US OUT OF HERE!"
"The alien is stuck.... Does it need help?"
It slowly dawned on me that WE were being called a need no glasses marsian. My insulted ego was getting to boiling margin. "WE ARE NOT ALIENS, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!! JUST GET US OUT OF THIS MESS!"
"It spoke, it spoke! This alien spoke!" The voice gleefully laughed. I thrust my arms and head forward, breaking out of the drift in combusted indignation, blinking at the suddenly bright landscape before me.
Lots of people were sliding down the hill in sleds. A few were curiously eyeing us. Before us stood a tiny puzzled figure wrapped in a purple coat with matching pants and scarf and neon pink mittens. "The alien is not an alien. It is a little girl and a little boy."
A little girl? I let that insult slip and stood up, brushing myself off. "Well,"
I turned to my brother, ignoring the exclamations of the child. "Let's get going. Want another run?" Just don't let him say yes, not yes, not yes.... I prayed silently to myself " Nah, I think I prefer sledding."
I was somewhat relieved, shaking my head, and smiled.
"...Yeah, you don't seem very good at it!" This floored me, but I quickly regained my feet. "It takes a lot of practice, you know."
We both trudged uphill. It was hot. The landscape was beautiful. The rays of the sun broke through the clouds, lighting up piles of sparkling diamonds. The trees were bending over in crystal clear glass casings, lightly powdered with snow dusting. Icicles, reflecting the sunlight, were perfect decoration of rooftops, and the humming sound of snow blowers was resonating in the distance. Sleepy neighbors were coming out of their houses to shovel the snow.
I slept soundly that night, especially after a cup of strong ginger tea.
The next morning, I rushed to the window and stopped aghast. Most the snow had melted away, leaving tiny, dirty piles. The road was muddy and sprinkled with acid green salt. A huge, ugly puddle stretched right next to our house.
Looking down, I saw several green shoots peeking out of the ground, as a loyal herald of spring.