Christmas morning whispered into my ear.
I wriggled and turned on my back, and though my eyes were still kissed down tight with delicious sleep, I let myself rise. Sat on my bed, I stretched and grinned, a grin made of home and comfort and Amma’s old hands. I must have been smiling like that for a long time, because soon I felt the edges of my room wanting to come apart, releasing me and everything in it into the air.
My eyes flickered open.
Something had changed.
I glanced around the room. Even in the grey dimness I saw that an immense stillness had entered the heart of objects. My copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the brass figurine of Horus, the bells from Nepal, each and all, now gazed at me in perfect pause. When I picked up the bedside clock and pressed it against my ear its ticks came out muffled, as though it had lived its previous life somewhere on a deep seabed.
With a sharp turn I eyed the chink between the curtains.
And there I saw what my heart had desired all year long. I knew of that rareness that glittered between the drapes.
Overnight, the world had grown a skin forged of starlight.
Leaping up from my bed I rushed to the curtains and opened them wide.
Snow! It was snow!
As far as the eye can see.
It was so thick and fresh and crisp, that I was certain that the whole world was covered in it.
I must have jumped a few times in excitement, then darted out of my bedroom door, and ran down the stairs, missing three steps at a time, before dunking my feet into my Wellington boots and pulling on my duffel coat.
‘Moni, where do you think you are going?’ Amma had one hand on her chubby hip whilst in the other she held an open box of cornflakes.
‘Amma, please –‘
‘You can’t go like that!’ She waddled over to the wooden chair and from under her shawl she grabbed her red woolly scarf and flung it at me. ‘We don’t want you catching a cold now.’
I caught the scarf and swiftly wrapped it round my neck. ‘Thank you, Amma!’ I beamed a smile at her.
She shook her head, chuckled and swung back to prepare breakfast.
Sliding the latch off, which seemed to take forever, I finally pulled the door open.
The air was clarity itself, laced in ice and quiet, as if history had not found it yet. Chimney tops and the tips of the highest branch, and even the sky itself, all sparkled pristine white.
I drew a long breath in and stepped foot onto the garden path, the sharp crunch under my boot the loudest sound for miles. I took another step and this time I dug my boots down further. I was curious to know if my other world still existed, whether it remained in slumber underneath the white.
As I was about to walk on I discovered that I was not alone. A robin redbreast dipped and dived overhead. It finally perched its tubby little body on the snow-cloaked needle of the spruce tree at the bottom of the garden. He looked in my direction and started to chirp, and with each note a few flakes, like chippings of stars, scattered down below.
I giggled and hopped over to the tree, my woolly red scarf bouncing along, and only once did I glance over my shoulder, just so to admire my trail of deep-set footprints.
The robin sang its sweet song.
And the scarf and I twirled underneath him.
Two red voices in a new world.
Words & Image by Masufa (‘Mazzy’) Khatun | Winchester | UK 2016