My vacation was miserable after that.  I had to sleep sitting up, keeping my nose elevated.  It was swathed in a bandage fitted to its shape.  Daily I had to take it off, clean myself up of dried blood and mucous, and then apply a new bandage.  I took Tylenol with codeine for the pain, which made me feel groggy.  All I could eat was soup and crackers.

            Because I had to sleep sitting up, it meant I hardly slept.  I watched movies and tried to keep my mind active.  Unfortunately, being up late at night, isolated from my family, gave me too much time to think.  My thoughts turned toward my solitude and to missing Faith.  I tortured myself with memories, and wishes.  I missed church and most of the family Christmas festivities because I was too ill.

            I wandered the house at night in the silence, feeling isolated.  I would watch the snow fall through the windows, painting the world in white.  Nights seemed almost mystical, the world washed over in blue and black silence.  The worst part of being so alone was that I could not feel the need to care.  I felt no anticipation for Christmas, none of the wonder at the holidays that had been taken for granted in years past.

            I thought about how I hated school, and didn’t want to talk to my friends, about missing Faith, and basically just wallowed in misery and self-pity.  I even took to writing more depressing poetry.

The Snowflake


A snowflake

Falls to earth

Unlike any of the others, yet exactly the same

Distinct, and individual descending to join the masses

Where it becomes impossible to distinguish one flake from another

There’s just a blurry white blob of snow on the ground

Not a group of separate snowflakes

And when the weather warms they melt together

Forming a rushing current that flows far and fast

The idea of “one snowflake” suddenly has no meaning

There is simply the flow of water running downhill

For water always runs downhill

Rushing until it hits rock bottom where it gathers and grows

Drowning the snowflakes and their individuality

Turning them into a pool of stagnant water

Part of a whole with no direction

And the pool keeps growing

Swallowing the snowflakes

Just to feed its growth.


            Which meant that I was severely depressed by the time I had to return to school, an individual being swallowed by the institution. 

I no longer had to wear bandages, but I had been told to avoid physical exertion for at least a month, or risk tearing the healing tissue open.  I packed a duffel bag of clean clothes and my father drove me to the bus.  I sagged against my seat and looked outside.

            The world was covered in snow.  Tree branches were laced with dangling icicles.  I loved winter, the simple beauty of white blanketing the world, like a blank page before you draw or write.  Like God erased the world and then in springtime brought everything back, a fresh start.

            On the subway, I half dozed.  These windows mostly showed just concrete walls and the occasional light.  I felt closed in.  Halfway through the ride I glanced over and saw a girl trying not to watch me.  I realize that sounds odd, but that’s what she was doing.  Trying not to get caught for having watched me when my attention was elsewhere.

            I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye and tried not to be as obvious.  She had long black hair and deep, dark eyes.  There was a sparkle of mischief there.  She had a white winter hat and thick white coat, and a red scarf.  I had to struggle not to stare.  She was beautiful.

            I was hunkered into my seat wearing a navy Toronto Maple Leafs toque and a thick black coat that hung almost to my feet.  I had a thick growth of beard, having shaven only for my surgery three weeks before.  I felt like I must look like a vagrant.  She looked like she just fell out of heaven.

            Nevertheless, she stood in front of me as the doors opened for the next stop.

            “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.”  She said, and then stepped off the train.  The doors closed.

            I sat there flabbergasted.

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