Ring-a-round the rosie
Pocket full of posies,
We all fall down!
Little wide eyes,
Faint rays of the sun,
Bursting with joy.
Then we stopped.
Something in the forest.
Jenna’s mouth is wide open.
Emma is shivering.
Joshie is bleary eyed.
Five heaps of shivering bundles,
A frigid chill hanging over me.
Finally, Annie speaks.
“We’re going in.”
Collection of gasps.
We’re staring at Annie.
Finally, she started to shuffle towards the forest.
Finally, we’re wading.
Big, steady steps in the snow.
*NOTE: This piece was previously submitted as an essay for Euro Lit class. Many thanks to the editors, Veronika Kowalski, Bernard Wang, and Mr. Grossman, who contributed to this work and made it as polished as it is. This essay is based off of the novel Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, so if things feel out of context, that's why.
Il neigeait doucement, mais j'étais entre ses bras. Slow, rhythmic dove-white splotches scattered the bitter wintery sky. My heart was fluttering, a deep murmur of the soul. His arms, slipped around my shoulders, enveloping, and emanating warmth. Through a dreamy haze, deep empathetic sea-blue eyes stared back at me, his electric blond hair slightly ruffled, his smooth, porcelain skin slightly paler in the frosted air. His cheeks also had small blotches, rosy red, a faint brush of colour against an empty canvas. I could even hear small bits of his dialogue. His voice, a velvet-coated croon, soft and slippery, could slide smoothly against my ears. He would talk about art—yes, art was certainly romantic—he would be rambling on about The Birth of Venus painted by the masterful Botticelli. “Cette peinture est très romantique!” he would proclaimed, expressing his burning passion for the piece, and he would stare up at the wintery gray sky with his eyes flung wide-open, the sea-blue eyes: smooth, sunken, curious orbs.
And then he yawned. My dreamy eyes fluttered in a flattered surprise. His pink-red lips parted and slowly revealed his cheese-colored teeth. As he was lightly salivating and letting out the cry of a fallen mule, I was falling in love. But suddenly, the blinds started shuddering, a slight rattle against the window. A light gust gently blew through the pages of my copy of L’Amour Sous La Neige. Every chapter always contained a poetic phrase about the charm of his voice and the sensitivity of his soul.
Books. Sometimes, I would be tearing through one, enveloped in the black-and-white words, and I would turn the page—albeit lost in a foreign world—and my mouth would form a small ‘o’ in surprise. One time especially, I was walking through lands you imagine you can see. I merged with the character; my heart beating so hard within the clothes he was wearing. I was weeping in the streets of Yonville, my heart torn in the tragic storm of the words into a thousand-and-one pieces, my tears tiny droplets on my peasant garbs, when all of sudden, a disregarding arm yanked me by the back of my shirt, and then my eyes were greeted by the four blank walls of my monotonous bedroom. I sulked for a brief period of time, staring out through the window, gazing at the starless urban sky. I slowly placed my foot against the cool, wooden floor and slipped into bed. Eventually I dozed off, consumed by the warmth of the silky white sheets. Today, however, was different. After reading L’Amour Sous La Neige, I rolled around in my bed, thinking about him. I forced my eyes shut, trying to force sleep to slowly slip across my mind, but to no avail. I always had wanted to be in love with someone like him. I had always believed that love came suddenly, with loud thunder claps and bolts of lightning. Maybe, one day.
I felt the tepid warmth of the morning sun against my eyelids, and slowly, I opened my eyes. Through my window, broken rays of sunlight, filtered by my blinds, trickled into my bedroom from the December sun. I slowly climbed out of my bed, and slipped on a wool cardigan, my favorite skinny jeans, and my pink knit scarf. Soon enough, I was out the door, headed for the town square.
In Willow, a small suburban nook in the evergreen forests of New Hampshire, the town square was definitely the place to go if one wanted to hang out with their friends. In a sleepy, boring town like Willow, where you can find worst seafood of the Northeast, where even old Bertha’s art, the town ‘aspiring artist’ is without expressive emphasis--the town square has all the posh boutiques, the town bank, Willow High School, town hall, and all other essential facilities. Snow scattered the sky as they fell atop houses, lawns, and great taiga trees in the forest surrounding the town. Somehow, the scene from L’Amour Sous La Neige bestowed me an unfamiliar appreciation for the typical lackluster snow of Willow—as if the monotony of the town had somehow contributed to that. I marched through the snow in my leather boots and eventually reached the square.
My boots sank softly into the freshly fallen snow, crisp soft plop-plops in a silent winter morning street. After a short walk of 5 minutes, I reached the square, and I immediately let out a small gasp as I stopped in my tracks. The benches looked normal, albeit covered with a crisp velvet layer of snow; the boutiques, closed for the weekend, were normal as well. But standing in the center of the square was a lone figure, painting on a somewhat dingy canvas. That electric blond hair, slightly ruffled and coated with airy fluffs of snow, seemed a bit duller than I had imagined. For a moment, my mouth hung open, until he turned to me. I gasped as I looked at his face—big, ambitious sea-blue eyes stared at me, in confusion—but on further inspection, his eyes were instead a stormy gray. It was him from L’Amour Sous La Neige—except...worse? He walked slowly towards me, and then, arriving about a meter from my foot, he stopped.
“What is your name?” he said, softly, in a half whisper.
“Kara” I said, my voice, also a half whisper.
And the next thing I knew, I was lost in conversation with him. I was babbling on about the wretchedness of earthly affections and the eternal isolation in which the heart remains entombed. To show himself to good advantage, naturally imitating my melancholy, he declared that he had been prodigiously bored throughout his studies. By the end of our conversation, my eyes were tearing up, moved that he had been so bored going to school. Deep inside me, I had an epiphany—I was so bored about my studies too! How romantique!
Hands were shoving me around, I groaned as I opened my eyes, and stared around, and saw my mom manically shoving me to get up. “What are you doing, Mom?” I screamed, frantic, confused as to why I was in my room again.
“You weren’t getting up, honey! I was so scared! Are you okay?” she asked, her eyes lit with concern.
My head heaved in confusion, as I gasped to grip some words to answer my mother. “Yea, mom. I just was really tired.” I said, thinking of the safest reply.
“Okay honey. School starts in 30 minutes, you better start getting ready,” she said, as she walked out the door.
And I looked, an empty gaze staring back from the vanity. My dreams, were certainly only dreams. And then, I laughed. I flung my head back and burst into laughter, horrible, frantic, despairing laughter, no doubt re-experiencing the lost ecstasy of my first mystical yearnings.
 It was snowing softly, but I was in his arms.
 This painting is very romantic!
 The Love Under Snow (Fictitious Novel)
By Andrew Ng
Moonlight? Why “The Moonlight”? That’s a good question. It was a leap of the heart. A beautiful, ambitious cry for a name of a specific inspiration. The words just slipped through my lungs out into the air, raw, undeveloped, rough-edged. And as the words slowly crept across my eyes, I stared in awe. Gradually, the pond in the park began to melt into an enchanting lake lit by a glowing moon. The trees were suddenly enveloped in a sort of dusk-purple lacquer. And under the nooks of moonlight was a faun. Lavender eyes lit with passion, head poised in a regal pride.