Flakes of white float down from the sky, collecting on my shoulders and clinging to my hair. It covers the ground in a thin sheet, marred by the track of footprints I’ve left behind me.
I’m trying not to look back. I already know what it looks like– still and quiet, dusted in white and gray.
There used to be such noise. I think normal volume was never quite loud enough for us. Squirrels used to wage warfare in the trees before the sun had a chance to wake me. My neighbors would always be shouting, laughing, working. Dogs would fill the air with their excitement and play, ceaselessly working to scare away the stubborn squirrels.
Now . . . silence.
My home, turned into an echo of what had been. Buried under the flakes that continue to fall.
A phantom breeze brushes across my neck.
It’s time to move on. I know it is. Somehow, knowing that doesn’t make it easier. There is a part of me that is clinging to the past and refusing to let go, no matter how impossible it is to go back. No matter how many terrible memories I have, the good ones like to shine brighter.
I tell myself it doesn’t matter now. The good and the bad, it’s all in the past. It had to be, before I could leave.
That’s why I’d done it. Why I’d buried my home behind me.
I take a deep breath, looking at the path before me. The trees are reaching out their branches, green buds peeking out from beneath the white flakes. The air is still cool enough to see a faint puff of fog as I breathe out. It looks for all the world like winter is still clinging to the earth, refusing to let go, as I once had.
But that’s something I’ve learned over the years. Looks can be deceiving.
A small smile grows on my face.
I look back, peering through the softly falling flakes. My whispered goodbye is barely heard, only reaching my ears because of the blanketing silence around me. It’s strange to look back like this, and I can almost imagine something peaceful amidst the dusting of white and gray.
In fact, if it hadn’t been for the smell of smoke, you’d almost mistake the ashes for snow.