It was the best Christmas break of my life.
We spent most of it in her bed, but we did take the occasional trip off-campus.
Under cover of darkness, lest anyone still lurking around after finals see us together, we’d sneak out to the store for ice cream; or to the gas station for the cigarettes we only smoked together; or just to drive, smoking and listening to music – Pink Floyd, show tunes, Beethoven – without talking much.
It snowed one night; the image is burned into my brain.
The flakes fell fat and slovenly, coating the windshield between each swipe of the wipers, building quickly into drifts as I maneuvered the winding mountain roads.
“It’s really snowing.”
She didn’t sound alarmed. She sounded buoyant, like someone with dopamine flooding her synapses.
I drove and fretted and bit my nails and gasped at every slight slip of the tires. She turned up the radio louder and sang and cracked her window so the snow blew in. The moon announced itself in slivers through the branches of the trees, the wildlife hibernating or frozen, so that a deathly stillness pressed in on the Faraday cage of our car.
The woods looked unfamiliar and ominous under their blanket of snow; I was not familiar with the route.
“Are we close?” I asked anxiously.
She had an uncanny sense of direction, a stunning foil to my complete ignorance of all four compass points. Smiling, she reached for my hand, snowflakes melting on her sleeve, pointing out our next lefts and rights, knowing intuitively – as she always did – exactly where we should be.
We pulled back into her parking spot in the staff lot at midnight. The empty university was blanketed with powder, a ski resort for Lilliputians, the table laden with coke in front of Al Pacino’s “Scarface.” We stole across campus, back into her house and her bed, the world so quiet I could hear the rush of blood through my veins. Her face was like porcelain in the moonlight.
I was so in love.
With her, it was like going back in time; like we were the only two people alive in the whole world. She brought me serenity in a way that therapy never did, or yoga, or mood stabilizers, or sex, or drugs. Being with her felt like waking up.
But no Christmas break lasts forever.
Shannon Frost Greenstein
Shannon Frost Greenstein resides in Philadelphia with her children, soulmate, and cats. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, a Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine, and a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy. Shannon served as writer-in-residence for the Sundress Academy for the Arts and was selected as a NASA social media intern for an official launch from Cape Canaveral. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, Cabinet of Heed, Spelk Fiction, Scary Mommy, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @mrsgreenstein or her website: shannonfrostgreenstein.com. She comes up when you Google her.
Twitter: @mrsgreenstein twitter.com/mrsgreenstein
Facebook: Shannon Frost Greenstein facebook.com/shannongreenstein
Instagram: zarathustra_speaks instagram.com/zarathustra_
Malarkey Books, “KidsPeace” http://malarkeybooks.com/
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, “An Open Letter to My Anorexia” https://www.mcsweeneys.net/
X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, “It All Started When the Challenger Exploded” http://x-r-a-y.com/it-all-
trampset, “Praying for a Miracle, Praying for Absolution” https://trampset.org/praying-
Cabinet of Heed, “TODAY” https://cabinetofheed.com/
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