At lunch, the little boy squirms, impatient to escape from the dinner table. He pesters and pleads with his father until at last, worn down by the endless complaining, his father sets him free.
His gleaming new toys beckon him from underneath the Christmas tree, and the TV guide lies open, slyly showing all the marvellous movies that are currently on. The boy ignores them both.
He sprints upstairs, switches on the clunky computer and goes on Skype.
As promised, she is online, waiting for him. He double clicks on her name and her face fills the screen, smiling at him from the other side of the world. He hasn’t seen her for seven months.
Her khaki uniform is covered in dust. She smiles like a star in a distant galaxy, distant but warm.
“Merry Christmas, Mommy!”
The snowflakes swirled peacefully, clean and white against the coal-black sky. All was silent. I just let myself stand there, drinking in the simplicity of falling snow. I stood as still as an ice sculpture, just watching and admiring as the world became white.
Gradually, the dirty yellow slush was covered up, washed blank, made new. Churned mud slowly disappeared under the soothing hand of snow: fresh, remade. Dirty grass; dying plants; naked trees; all were washed clean by the pure snowflakes. Everything was an innocent white.
As I watched the world being rewritten, I felt an odd sort of peace. A peace that had been desperately lacking from my life. It was as if the snow was rewriting me, as well as my surroundings. The entire past year, with all its disappointments and resentments and arguments… all those terrible things, the guilt that weighed me down, broke my spirit… that was behind me now. It was in the past, no longer a part of me. The softly falling snowflakes were scrubbing the pain of the past from my soul.
The sensation of peace grew, strengthening my limbs. I felt a vigour I hadn’t felt in years. A new year. A new start. A new beginning for myself. The snow would wash away my sins and I could start again. Build a new life.
I will make my next year a happy new year.