A lot like snow

I could never forget that night. It was the beginning of a new phase in my life.

She was looking so beautiful, as usual. It was already difficult for me to keep my eyes off her, and seeing her dolled up in her new short red dress was giving my eyes plenty of exercise, like they were tracking cameras of some kind. I could live the rest of my life just looking at her. Looking at her sleeping. Looking at her cooking. Looking at her getting mad at me. Looking at her smile. Looking at her so scared crossing the road. Looking at her crying in the movies. Looking at her when she looked at me. I could live the rest of my life just looking at her.

The plan was to celebrate the New Year at a friend’s home. But the fog appeared at 11pm, just when I reached her apartment to pick her up. When we finally decided to not risk a drive in the fog and to stay home instead, I instantly fell into numbness. The thought that I'd be bored as always in her small apartment was killing me, and as always, I moaned.

She cheered me up, cooked two packets of instant noodles, and we watched TV as we ate. I was still angry because I was spending that night watching TV! “How sad is my life.” Those were the last words I spoke in that year.

Suddenly, and at the same time, we realized that the fog was so thick that it felt like it was snowing. Memories flooded me, and I smiled. She smiled too. After all my grumbling, I’m sure she smiled only because I smiled.

My impulsive self took over. I shut off the TV, pulled her upstairs to the terrace, switched on the light, put the cell-phone radio on speakerphone, and we danced freely to all the songs. In the whiteness, I could hardly see her face clearly. For the few moments when our hands would separate, I wouldn’t let her red silhouette out of my sight. Then the count-down started on the radio. 10. 9. 8 ... We kissed, and hugged, and stayed that way for a long period. The songs meanwhile continued to play.

Dew was forming on our faces and hands. We went inside, downstairs, quietly, holding each other, the radio on low volume now. I took her to the kitchen, opened the bottle of Chardonnay that we were to take to our friends, poured out two glasses for us, but set them aside. I hugged her again, and whispered into her ears. “Marry me.” Those were the first words I spoke in the New Year.

[The above is the translation of a story which I had written for an assignment for my French class. I scored only 5 on 10 for it, because I misunderstood the topic and wrote about an “unforgettable” experience, while it should have been about a “relaxing” experience. Anyhow, writing the article itself, was a relaxing experience, while seeing the score, was an unforgettable one!]

Mayur Poddar

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