Li’l ‘no-boy

01a81974bb45c8ea5aaf8732963ae160c7e5dfa549Photo credits: Mira Kempoainen, Unsplash

There was a bright light coming in through Alicia’s drawn bedroom curtains. She sat up on her bed and looked over at Chuckie. With her face turned toward the brightness her feet found her rabbit-slippers. She picked up the stuffed rabbit and together they drew close to her window to investigate. Then she saw it — Snow!

Dragging Chuckie by the ears Alicia ran down the hall passing her parents bedroom. She got under the long curtains of the porch door and looked out. She saw lots and lots of snow. It blinded her. The snow stretched, thick and white, across her yard and covered every house and tree like a thick layer of white cupcake-frosting.

Still holding Chuckie, Alicia crawled out from under the curtains and dashed to her bedroom once again.

Minutes later she stood by the locked front door. There was a trail of clothes from her bedroom to the door.

“Good morning Alicia,” her mom chimed from the kitchen, “and where are you and Chuckie off to this fine morning?”

“Mommy, mommy there’s tons of snow outside. Chuckie and I need to go outside to play.” Her mother looked at her and smiled.

“I know,” Mom said, “but you’ll need more than snow boots and jammies if you want to go outside,” mommy kneeled next to Alicia. “And you’ll need breakfast to warm up your insides too. It’s cold out there.” Alicia looked down at her favorite Beatrix Potter pajamas and leaned into her mommy.

“But I’m warm already,” she demurred. “Chuckie and I just wanna go outside to play.”

“Aunt Rebecca is bringing Brianna over to play in an hour. The two of you can go out in the snow then, but first, we have to get you ready.”

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When her aunt and cousin Brianna arrived Alicia was dressed in her blue and green snowsuit, boots, scarf, knit cap, and mittens. She ran out to meet them.

“Look at my snow,” Alicia boasted, “it’s the prettiest snow I’ve ever had.” Brianna, who was already in second grade looked at her and rolled her eyes.

“Nah ah,” said Brianna, “it’s not your snow. It’s everybody’s snow.” She held three-and-a-half-year-old Alicia’s hand and led her slowly through a heap of snow to the nearest tree in the yard. Alicia’s feet moved slowly as they threaded down the path to the tree. With every step she took Alicia looked back at her footsteps. When they arrived at the tree Brianna kicked the trunk gently with her boot and a light shower of sparkling flakes rained down on them.

The girls took turns kicking the tree,  giggling when snow sprinkled down on their faces. The girls’ mothers stood by the front door watching them and talking with each other.

Brianna and Alicia circled the tree and continued kicking it from all angles until all the snow around the trunk was flattened.

Slowly, Brianna picked up a handful of fresh snow and rolled it up into a ball. She flung the snowball at Alicia who paid her no mind as she continued kicking the tree, content with the sprinkles that landed on her face.

It would be more fun if I had someone to — Brianna was thinking to herself when — Plop! A snowball landed at her feet. She looked over at Alicia but her cousin was leaning against the tree trunk; her mittens were off and she was sucking her thumb.

Plop! Another snowball landed at her feet. Brianna spun around. Plop! Yet another snowball. This time it hit her in the arm.

“Hey!” Brianna shouted. Alicia pulled her thumb out of her mouth and ran up to her.

“Wanna go back inside?” Alicia asked. Just then Brianna saw a figure in a purple snowsuit like hers peek out from behind another tree. The figure waved shyly.

Brushing the snow from her sleeve Brianna stomped her right foot in the direction of the other tree. “That’s not nice,” she said, “you can’t go around throwing snowballs at people.” Not understanding, Alicia looked at her cousin with big eyes.”

“Wanna go inside?” Alicia asked again. A snowball whizzed past Alicia’s head.

“Hey,” Brianna shouted again. This time their mothers came closer to see what was happening.

“Oh, that’s Luna, the new neighbor,” said Alicia’s mother, “Luna is seven, she can’t hear.”

No wonder she didn’t stop, thought Brianna, but she sure can throw a snowball.

“Go over there and say hello,” suggested Brianna’s mother. Alicia ran ahead in her hurried little steps. Brianna walked slowly. Luna picked up another snowball – she had quite a collection of snowballs at her feet – poised her arm back, ready to throw it.

“Stop!” Brianna called. Alicia stopped running and looked back at her cousin. “Stop,” she said again, but his time Brianna used her hands. She smacked the inside of one hand down quickly on the inside of the other hand.

Luna stopped mid-throw. “It worked,” said Brianna as she caught up with little Alicia. The cousins clasped hands. Luna lowered her arm and came out from behind the tree with eyes peeled wide.

“No ‘no-ball?” she asked in her frail voice. “No figh’s?” Luna’s fingers danced as she talked.

“No.” Brianna pressed her thumb and two fingers together.

Luna’s eyebrows disappeared under her cap in surprise. She shrugged.

“Wanna play in my snow?” said Alicia. She walked up to Luna and stooped down to touch the snowballs by Luna’s feet.

“Wait,” said Brianna, “I have an idea.” She searched with her squinting eyes and found a stick. She picked it up and with it she drew three circles, one on top of the other in the snow. She looked up at Luna. Luna smiled.

“ ‘No-man,” Luna said fluttering her gloved-fingertips like falling snowflakes. All three girls clapped and laughed. Luna and Brianna set to rolling snowballs; Alicia took to transporting all the snowballs over to her tree.

The new friends rolled and laughed until their snowballs almost reached their waist. With much giggling the girls managed to get one snowball on top of the other.

Alicia copied them and placed one snowball on top of the other too. She made a row of snowmen. She delighted in kicking the tree and seeing the sprinkles fall on them.

The two girls studied their snowman. “Li’l ‘no-boy!” said Luna. They slapped their knees laughing.

Alicia’s mother approached them. In one hand she had an old sombrero and a scarf; in the other a carrot and a small box of raisins. Giggling happily the girls tied the scarf around snowboy’s neck and placed the sombrero on his head. Brianna and Luna took turns twisting the carrot into place on snowboy’s face.

The girls divided the box of raisins. Once again they took turns pressing raisins on his face. First, they each inserted an eye, then together they worked on his mouth.

Luna held on to two raisins which to Brianna’s surprise she pressed on each side of the snowboy’s head. Once complete, she looked at Brianna and said, “Ears,” and she tapped on her own ears.

Brianna thought for a moment then decided, “sure, why not! This snowboy has ears.” The girls jumped with glee. Alicia went over to them and clapped when she saw the happy face on Snowboy.

“How about these for arms?” Brianna’s mother offered them sticks. The girls chose two good looking ones and set to twisting them in for arms. “Now gather around snowboy you three. It’s time to take a picture.”

**This article was previously published in Medium as ‘Snowboy’. Perhaps you’ll choose to leave me a comment here? Perhaps you’ll choose to share? I hope so. Thanks for reading. Blessings, Selma.

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