"The Last Snow"—A Short Story Based on a True Story
By Richard Luo
Today marked a very special day: the last snow day of the season. With my right sneaker inside the house, and my left snow boot refusing to step in, I turned around and took a deep breath, inhaling as much of the refreshing winter air as possible. It crossed my mind that unfortunately, it would likely be another 9 months before I would even be able to hope for snowfall again. But luckily for me, this realization spurred me into action. So this morning, I resolved that I was going to enjoy the snow as much as possible.
The alarm clock began wailing bright and early at 6:45 am. I’d grown to loathe its high-pitched screeches but was always too lazy to do anything about it. As I desperately reached for the shrieking alarm clock with my eyes closed, I suddenly remembered that it snowed overnight! I bolted out of bed immediately and peaked out the window; turns out I didn’t even need an alarm clock.
Outside my window was a landscape that could only be described as breathtaking—snow neatly strewn across acres of fields, snow flawlessly outlining the contours of every single branch no matter the size or thickness, but best of all, there was still more snow incoming. I’d always enjoyed watching a snowstorm because it intrigues me how all those little flakes of snow can accumulate into such a significant force—necessitating schools to close and thousands of dollars in clean up fees. I wish I was just as cool. In the midst of my admiration and obsession with the stunning snow, however, I remembered why I was waking up so early on a Saturday: I had to take the SAT.
The drive to the test center was a crisis. On one hand, I was trying to calm myself down in preparation for the upcoming boss battle. On the other hand, I was daydreaming about leaping outside the car, skipping the SAT, and enjoying the rest of the day in the snow. Yet, I stopped myself, because “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” While I still deeply regretted my decision to partake in this abomination of a test, it had some positives. For starters, I could see the snowstorm from a perspective other than my house. Viewing entire forests covered by a blanket of snow was fantastical, something you would only ever expect to appear in movies. As I was ogling at the marvelous landscape in front, however, an unwelcome, undesirable, obnoxious substance entered my peripheral vision: Northwest High School.
“Finally,” I sighed as I stepped out of Northwest High School. I was incarcerated at that jail cell for 4 entire hours; if you ever want to throw your life away and waste time just take the SAT. As I rushed to the car door, bursting to get out of that hellhole, I felt the numbing wind flaring behind me, which is the sole downside to snow storms. During this time, the snow had layered to the point I could no longer see my feet while walking. Just as I got home, I slipped on the first shoes I could find, random gloves, and skedaddled. The world had changed during my 4 hour sentencing, and I was determined to face it. But instead of making snow angels, or having a snowball fight with my only friend (my cat), what I like to do deviates from the norm. I like to play snow basketball.
As I put up shot after shot, I couldn’t seem to make a single one. I followed a consistent pattern of bricks and air-balls until 10 minutes later, one finally rattled in. But this led me to a second problem, my ball was stuck in the basket because the net was frozen rock-solid. I leaned in for a closer look and found icicles dangling on the ends of the net (I probably knocked a few off with my air-balls). And no matter how hard I jumped, prodded, and slapped at the net, the ball remained perfectly in place. I then began my search for a stick in the hopes of poking the ball out. But after vigorously attacking, swinging, and looking like an absolute chimpanzee for nearly 20 minutes, I had a solid assortment of over a dozen failed sticks tossed around the court. I had finally hit rock bottom. Then a little angel caught my eye (it was a stick), and it was perfect. If I were to make up a few measurements, the fallen branch was exactly 3 feet long and wielded a magnificent 3 inch radius. It was rough enough that I could maneuver the stick efficiently without hurting my hand. But best of all, it was coated in ice, so it seemed like I was holding a lightsaber-sword hybrid. I thrust the ball out on the first try, and decided to call it a day. I could no longer feel my right foot because I was wearing a running shoe, my hands were cold, and in my scramble to skedaddle, I forgot to bring water.
And so, this brings me back to the beginning of this story . I took one last breath, closing my eyes to fully sensationalize the winter air, and walked in the house dripping wet. The moral of the story is to appreciate the things we take for granted. For example, many people in my community go about their lives groaning at the prospect of snow (most namely the Board of Education), but if you were to ask them how they would feel if it never snowed again, they would likely react differently (unless it’s the Board of Education). Nevertheless, being grateful for what you have is not just about snow, it applies to all facets of life. Remember to always appreciate not what you gain, but what you’re given.