The air is cold and heavy and with the tantalizing clear taste of finality. The Canadian winter has set in early this year; atleast, thats what they say. This is my first Canadian winter so I wouldn’t really know. My old, grey hoodie works adequately though and I’m warm even if my unclothed hands and bare face are numb from the cold and feel alien to me like some vestigial extension of myself that should not be. This is my first snowfall ever. Fresh snow is so very pretty and pure. I found that out first-hand last night. The tiniest bit of dirt you spread on it sticks out like a sore thumb and when you try to rectify your error, it just disturbs the layer more, leaving behind your insignificant attempts and your ugly hand-prints as irrevocable, concrete evidence. Scanty, inconsequential futility imprinted  in mocking travesty. Sometimes, you just have to learn to let things be. Do you know what else fresh snow is good for though? For walking on. The flakes provide sufficient friction for you to walk surely on. Once it is condensed and compacted though, the same turns icy and slippery and difficult. A couple of days later, when the sun finally peeks out, the remnants of the same picturesque snow is nothing but ugly, half-melted, compacted ice mixed with dirt and bits of grass.

The boy from the adjoining Unit 39 had been earnestly at work and sculpted a huge snowman just outside his door. Attention had been concentrated solely on the size of the project and not its caliber. The afflicted result was a gigantic, unshapely, artless figure that would slowly melt off in the next few days and blame its engineer, the grey-eyed boy in the green sweater, during every stage of its inevitable, prolonged dissolution. The boy would, in turn, wave his plastic shovel in one hand in fury while the other smashed the plastic bucket into the cold, frozen ground and call the snowman a snake. The cycle would be complete; snowmen are not built to last albeit their alien carroty nose escape the torment of the ensuing heat.

As I step out and lock the door behind me, the unadulterated cold soothes me. Subzero temperatures have an anesthetic effect. The few footprints that have already been etched into the snow lead away, confident and unwaivering. I ignore the sets going in the opposite direction. There isn’t much to do and I follow them relentlessly away from the door until I reach the first crossroad where the prints diverge. The roads have already been cleaned of all the snow and traffic flows on smoothly on the wet road unhindered by the sudden change in the weather. I stand at the crossroad contemplating the three ways into which the footprints have split. My foggy breath is the only proof of my transient presence as I stand motionless in the white expanse of suburbia. There is nowhere I have to be and I cannot be bothered with decisions right now so I turn around and make my way back.


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