It Buried Us
children? What happened? Did they grow up like me, or even worse, too cold to talk or move, stuck forever in that time of the blizzard, or maybe, they grew up better, because maybe being born out in the actual snow, their nervous-aunts scooping up the fine white powder to brush it across their sweating mother’s forehead, maybe then they grew up distinguished, wise, superior, ice-castle royalty, beloved and adored?
This was me, as I grew up, as I got older, and I understood that temperature was more than just a measurement, and I understood the love-less-ness of some parents and marriages: First, I was a tiny little nothing of a thing, crouched, tucked-into-myself, cold, lonely, sitting on top of snowdrifts in just a t-shirt, watching my breath come out in elegant, streaming white puffs. Then later, I replaced my cold-breath for cigarettes, grayish smoke enveloping me, snaking around my limbs, arms as skinny as my spider-mother’s, as I sat on over-turned milk-crates, knees up—and I never grew to be more than a tiny little nothing of a thing—in the back of the restaurant where I worked, serving hot food with bare hands. Then still later, in the future, maybe, I will be able to control the coldness inside, be able to understand that ice in my veins doesn’t mean that I am solid, kept shut, and I will understand what it is in the atmosphere that makes blizzards and why they happen when they do, and what it means when you can’t separate yourself from the storm.
Weather is not magical, my mother says, it is predictable. She says: Your father is as predictable as the weather and I expect just as little from him. Maybe giving birth in the blizzard made my mother cold, inside, too.
That is what I will hope for: Not apologizes, or explanations, or solutions, but a change in weather patterns. I will cross my fingers, ice-on-bone, and wait.
Erica L. Kaufman grew up in New Hampshire, briefly lived in Rhode Island, currently resides in Massachusetts, and writes often of the ocean and the woods. She earned her BFA from Emerson College in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and her MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. Her work is forthcoming in the young adult anthology, Things I'll Never Say: Short Stories About Our Secret Selves, out from Candlewick Press in Spring 2015.