Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Winter has been Erin and Jack's favourite time of year since they first saw snow when they were four years old. Twelve years on, a sudden snowfall on Christmas Eve starts off the best Christmas either of them could hope for.

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1. First Snow

 

  The sky is a strange colour. It is filled with white clouds, but tinged with pale greys and yellows. The clouds are heavy, and slow-moving: only a faint breath of wind stirs the wintry air. Still, there is a certain crispness in the air, and a feeling of expectation. It is as though the world is holding its breath, waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen. Then the stillness is broken as something begins to swirl down from the clouds, dusting the fields and the village below with icing sugar.

  It is snowing.

  It is the first time the boy has ever seen snow, and he is awestruck. He presses his face to the window, his breath making little fog patches on the glass. His eyes are wide, following the trail of a snowflake as it dances to the ground.

  He runs out into the garden and turns his face to the sky, beaming at the clouds and the falling snow. Snowflakes land on his eyelashes and he blinks them away, giggling in delight.  

  His mother shouts for him to come in, but he does not listen. She sighs in exasperation and rushes out to bundle him in coats, scarves and gloves. But the snow has awoken something in her, a childlike desire to stay out in the snow and play, so she goes into the garden shed and pulls out a sledge she had when she was little.

  They take the short walk from their house to a sloping field on the outskirts of the village, the boy being pulled along in the sledge by his mother. The field is already filling up with children and parents, all determined to make the most of the snow, so they go through that field to a smaller one just behind it. The snow is unbroken here, at least until the boy throws himself face-first into the snow, then rolls over and starts making a snow angel. His mother goes to stop him, but pauses: his happiness is contagious, and she finds herself laughing along with him.

  The two of them fly down the hill together on the sledge, then the mother pulls her son up the hill and they go flying down again. Another family with a little girl joins them, so the mother lets her son go down alone while she talks to the girl’s parents.

  The boy walks slowly back up the hill pulling his sledge up behind him, his little legs struggling to get back up to the top. But the girl is going down the hill in her little plastic toboggan, and she hurtles into him. The girl shoots into the air and knocks him over, and they go tumbling down the hill together, rolling down and down until they finally come to a halt in a snowdrift.

  For a moment they lie in the snow, too stunned to move. Then they push themselves up and look at each other, mouths open in shock. Slowly, the little girl’s mouth widens into a smile, and the boy’s does too.

  “I’m Erin,” she says, holding out a mitten-clad hand to the boy.

  He takes her hand gently, not really sure what to do with it. “I’m Jack.”

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