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It would usually start the night before. The flakes would fall under the streetlights, the plows would start their rounds early, trying to get ahead of the drifts. We’d watch the news after dinner, waiting for the weather, and hoping to see some schools already scrolling across the bottom of the screen. The flakes of ice would spatter against the skylight above my bed. I’d hide under the covers, praying that it’d all fall fast and hard. Thick and heavy.

In the morning, I’d desperately turn on the TV in the darkness, squinting through the glare, looking if there was school or not, cursing that your town started with the letter ‘H’ as the list scrolled by with excruciating slowness in alphabetical order. Then, there it was, and I’d look out the window to see the sparkling blanket of untouched snow covering the neighborhood in the gray morning light, and then I’d burrow back under my covers for a few more hours, getting up lazy and heading down into the kitchen in pajamas as the storm raged. A warm breakfast at the kitchen table, and then it was back upstairs to get changed and add layers on layers, then back downstairs for snow pants and boots and coats and hats and mittens, and then down to the garage to grab what – sleds? shovels? things to build a snowman or a fort? We took off into the neighborhood, down the street to the neighbors and rang the doorbell. Sometimes our friends would come barreling out of their houses, sometimes their parents would answer, telling us they were already out in another part of the neighborhood.

We built jumps for sleds, we made forts and dug tunnels through the piles of plowed snow on the corners of the streets with escape slides down the back of them and out into the woods. Eventually the clouds would pass, and our fingers were wet and cold through our mittens, and we’d trudge back home to empty our boots of slush in the entryway, and plod into the kitchen, humid and rosy-cheeked, and throw on sweatpants and collapse into a pile of blankets on the couch for the rest of the day.

 

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