Stars and Snow
She should feel cold. She’d been sitting in the snow for an hour now. She really should feel cold, but she didn’t. She felt…love. She felt peace.
Her life hadn’t had an abundance of those feelings and she had to wonder why she felt them now, sitting in the snow under a sky so filled with stars it was hard to see the darkness through the sparkle.
It was hard for her to accept love from those around her and easy for her to push people away. She knew why it was so. She knew it was because of “him”, because he pretended to love them and then walked away and started a new family. Ever since she was six she had known how fickle love could be.
How could something, so long ago, still be affecting her life now? That was one of the answers she sought out here in the snow.
She was 19, hardly a child, but not really an adult. For the first time in her life she felt like she had real friends and a real grasp on what life was supposed to be. She didn’t think that she was supposed to feel so unhappy and so unloved so often, but it was familiar. It was what she knew. It was who she was.
Her roommates had become sisters and had shown her what friendship and love was supposed to be like, but she still struggled. Especially when there was a disagreement about anything, even if it was small and petty, it made her feel like they were standing on a cliff awaiting destruction. She just knew that once the wrong thing was said it would be over. They wouldn’t love her any more than he had. He’d left, so would they, if she did or said the wrong thing.
That’s what had driven her out on this chilly night. Some minor disagreement, but she felt the hurt coming and had to escape. It was her turn to run away. She had to get out and away from the emotions, so she took her coat and a scarf and she walked out into the snow. She felt they wouldn’t care what happened if she left.
They did care. They didn’t go after her. They had seen this before. She had shared with them just a little of the pain she carried. They couldn’t totally understand, but they knew she was broken and they would love her even broken. They knew that this time they shouldn’t follow, not immediately. She needed time. She needed to think. She needed the stars.
She’d done this before. She did it from time to time when the emotions became too strong. She’d go outside and visit with the stars. She would talk to them, but not actually them. She used them to talk to God. For some reason, not entirely known, even to her, she felt closer to her God when she talked to the stars. She thought, maybe, He listens more when there are no ceilings in the way to block the words. She felt closer to heaven under the stars.
She wasn’t even sure where she was headed when she left the house. She knew it was too cold outside and going out in the dark, in the snow, was stupid. She wasn’t stupid, but she needed to be outside. She needed the ceilings to be removed. When she did this at home she didn’t have to worry. California never got so cold. She had never run away in the snow before. She thought she should go inside, but she couldn’t. The tears running down her face were embarrassing. She didn’t want anyone to see the weakness on her face. So she walked, outside, in the snow, in the dark. Her face tucked low into her jacket collar and her scarf, hiding her face from those she came across.
She walked for a long time until she came to a spot she hadn’t really been to before. There was a small hill, near a class room building so she could go inside if she got too cold or if she felt threatened. There were some steps she could sit on so she wasn’t really sitting IN the snow, just surrounded by it.
She picked her spot, turned her back on the building and looked into the sky. She sat on the step and wrapped her arms around her shoulders, pulled her scarf a little higher and felt the warmth she had to offer herself.
She started talking, out loud, but softly so no one would hear except for Him. The ceilings were gone, she was under the stars. Surely He’d hear her now. Surely He would send the comfort she needed and comfort her soul. She talked for a long time and then just sat and cried. She let the tears run down her cheeks, thinking that surely the tears would freeze in place, but they were warm. They didn’t freeze they just ran down her cheeks leaving red tracks behind.
Then the tears stopped and she just sat some more and looked at the stars. She marveled at how many there were. They didn’t have this many stars at home. She sat and looked and felt the warmth come down from the stars. She felt the peace she sought and a warmth that didn’t come from the air around her. She wasn’t cold, but after a time she knew they would be getting worried and she really should go home.
She stood, said good-night to the stars and slowly walked home. She knew exactly where she was going and found pleasure in the walk this time. She wasn’t wandering aimlessly, this time she had a destination. There were more tears, but they were not the sad tears from before. They were tears of hope. Hope that this time she would learn to trust and believe in the love others showed her. It wasn’t the same as his love, the man who left had loved only himself. She was loved by some and that meant something, even if it wasn’t him.
Still, when she walked to the door she felt some trepidation. They would be mad, they would yell at her. They would judge her for running away. They would want to finish the stupid argument they’d been having when she left.
She opened the door slowly and looked inside. They were all there, all three, sitting in the comfortable living room. They looked up as she came in and one asked “Feel better now?”
Another said, “We were worried about you, but we didn’t know where you went. One went to look, but you were well hidden this time. You weren’t in any of your normal places and you were gone a long time. It’s cold out there tonight, you could have stayed here or one of us would have gone with you.” No judgment, just concern that she would get sick or have frostbite or be hurt while out alone.
“I was okay, I wasn’t cold.”
“Okay, as long as you feel better now. Welcome back.”
She smiled the soft, shy smile they knew meant she was slightly uncomfortable with their attention, but they knew she had found what she was looking for under the stars, in the snow and were glad she had come home. While it went unsaid, each one knew that it was the love that was shared under the ceiling of their little student apartment that had brought her back from under the stars.