She stares with a heart full of weight out of the window. Every piece of snow that catches her eye is the star of the show for all of the moments before it hits the ground. Before she can dwell on how each piece of snow falls to sleep as its fate is handed to it when faced with the damp ground, another piece catches her eye, and there we have how the evening of twenty-four year old Annie is going to be spent. She said no to seeing her best friend who she hasn't seen for months; she shook her head sadly at her little brother who wanted to play outside with her; she said no because she had a promise to keep. She has the window seat and although the pavement is damp, snow is still layered like it is on Christmas cards and it really is something.
"Our first snow day is going to be the best," Alfie says, stroking Annie's hair with a triumphant smile.
"What if we are busy during the day?" Annie frowns.
"Then we will have the evening, and if we have any supposed plans, I hear you ask? Screw 'em."
Annie giggles and curls into her boyfriend's arms.
The little marshmallows falling from the sky can't see Annie but they're performing for her. They're showing all that could have been and all that is evidently not by doing so. A few children giggle past the window with their parents trailing dreamily behind them. Annie notes that everyone outside seems warmed by all of the fun and smiles, and yet Annie, sat opposite the fireplace, couldn't feel any colder.
"What other firsts have we got to come, Al?" She asks longingly.
"Our first holiday." Annie looks up at him but he's not looking at her. Instead he's looking a head with adoring eyes and Annie's heart smiles with his. "Our first fight."
"No!" Annie almost yells and they laugh at the irony. "Go back to our first snow day. That sounds fun."
"So we will have our first snowball fight... Do our first snow angels!" Annie giggles at his enthusiasm. "And Annie," he turns to her and strokes her face. A tear glistens in his eye, and his thumb touches her lip. "Our first kiss in the snow."
Christmastime was getting underway just over two years ago when Alfie picked Annie up and twirled her around making her giggle. When he set her back down on her size four feet, he lowered his lips to the height of her ears. "Imagine our wedding and our first kiss as husband and wife."
Annie feels her heart lift for a second and her eyes refuse to blink. In the darkness behind the window that is separating Annie from the merriment, Annie lets herself believe that just in front of the big tree sprinkled with white dust, there's a girl with size four feet and a guy with the biggest heart. As there are far off giggles of excitement, Annie can almost see her own arms wrapped around her lovely Alfie. Just as their lips touch and Christmas makes their wishes come true, Annie's head falls into her lap and she cries for him. For her. For them.
It's the second Christmas Annie's celebrated without her best friend since they met ten years before. She brings the last photo taken of them from her pocket and onto her lap. Three weeks later Annie was stood at his funeral, not even daring to let one tear drop. A year and a half later and she's understanding the glisten of the Christmas lights a little more- the sadness to be remembered, and the happiness that can be found. Annie let's go of her quest to find the light in the darkness for one night, and she whispers through her tears, "Our first snow day." She stares out of the window. "We said we'd spend it together, so here I am baby."
Stars & Snow,
The Girl in the Moonlight.