Two weeks ago tonight, Jack moved out. It was one of the hardest goodbyes I have ever had to say. It hurt like hell. It still hurts like hell.
Last week’s snowstorm in Atlanta had me reminiscing with my mom about previous southern snows. We laughed about how school would get canceled for a dusting, or how we usually got ice storms instead, which while pretty, usually caused loads of trouble. One particular storm came with a story that we both remember with vivid clarity.
It was 1993. I was in the third grade, and Atlanta had been hit with what the city still calls “The Blizzard of ‘93.” We got dumped on. I mean, there must have been a foot of snow, and to my child’s eyes it was INCREDIBLE.
After a hearty breakfast, my mom bundled me up and sent me out into the front yard. We had a flat wide expanse of grass where snow had accumulated and it was the perfect setting for my artistic creations. My mom watched out the window as I slaved for hours. I had decided to build a snow chair, ottoman and table, complete with a bowl on top. (I know, it’s ridiculous, most children build a snowman or make snow angels. Me? A snow chair. Ridiculous. But I had a vision.) It took awhile, but I finally completed it. It was amazing. An actual snow chair. I could sit in it and rest my snowy feet on the ottoman, pretending to watch a make believe television.
Feeling rather satisfied, I decided to take a break from my snow castle creation and go have some hot chocolate and a snack. I sat in the kitchen, excitedly recounting my architectural tales to my mother and sipping hot chocolate.
That’s when it happened. I looked out the window to admire my creation and I froze. Hot chocolate halfway to my mouth, I stopped—horrified. The boys that lived on the street were in my front yard. MY front yard. With MY snow chair.
They looked at it for about .5 seconds and then they began kicking it. They kicked it, knocked it down and tackled each other into it. They were a whirlwind of destruction. 11 year old boys, wreaking havoc on my painfully constructed snow living room.
Well. That was it. I didn’t even wait to put on my coat. Like a lightning flash, I was out the door. I hurtled the bushes to get there as fast as I could. Yelling all the way. I can only imagine the creative curses of a 9 year old as she tells off the older boys. I wish I could remember the verbatim exchange.
According to my mom, who watched from the window, I was shaking my fist and telling them off with the passion of an artist scorned. The boys didn’t know what to do with it. They stood there, staring at me, jaws slack, as I railed against them.
How could you do that? This is MY yard, I MADE THIS! HOW DARE YOU!
A mumbled apology and they shuffled off down the road, no doubt to terrorize some 4 year old’s snowman. I was left, standing alone in the wreckage of my efforts, realizing that they would never regain their former glory. I left the collapsed pieces as a testimony to what had been.
My mother still believes to this day that that moment sealed my fate. I never dated boys at my school, and we are pretty sure it’s because I told off the popular kids. Maybe they told everyone I was crazy—“dude… you should have seen it… she went ballistic over a SNOW CHAIR…”—and maybe I was crazy. It certainly wasn’t my personality to confront people, and certainly not to yell at them.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I worked hard on that snow chair, and it deserved it’s moment in the sun (until it melted, at least.)