It’s difficult to say what “qualifies” as snow, as someone who hasn’t seen snow falling from the sky before.
I see flurries and my mind thinks of the word snow already.
I see sleet and it’s snow.
I see soft hail falling on the pavement, bouncing against my clothes—snow.
And then the thing that seems to be proper snow, those perfectly shaped snowflakes that could almost be fake. That’s most certainly snow. I’ve seen them all by now: felt the ice against my face, seen it stick to my clothes, my boots, and either melt instantly or staying there for a while, resting. I’ve also felt them against my neck. when the tiny, icy balls find a way between my scarf and my coat, the perfect spot to bounce against. Sometimes they don’t even bounce; sometimes they slip all the way into my back, sending waves of shudders through my spine. I’ve also had snowflakes on my eyelashes, and it hasn’t been nice (although you did tell me it looked quite aesthetic). I’ve stood in the middle of a street at night, showering snow falling all over my non-rainproof clothes, and almost feeling it melt and sip through the layers. Just like rain.
Flurries are the ones I like the most, I think. They simply hang in the air around us, floating like cotton pieces, not too watery, not too solid, not too invasive. They give me the impression of being frozen in time, forever falling but never reaching the ground. Not even me. They move around my hair, around your hair, around your beard, and your beanie. But they never touch you, or me, or anything really. Do they? We are all frozen in time. Perhaps that’s why flurries are magical. There’s something whimsical about them, about the way they move around you, so aimlessly. The way they eventually rest in your brown leather coat, in your mustache. In my pink scarf and my gloves. Because they eventually reach us, as everything does.
I have this theory that snow is even more like proper snow when it touches you. When it sits on your broad shoulders, protected by three layers of clothes because winter is cold here, colder than it is back home. Colder than it is in my home as well. It’s also more real when it’s resting on your cheeks or your nose, and it melts against your burning skin because in this cold anything is warmer than snow. I wonder if it is real snow for you, when the snowflakes tangle up in my hair the way I told you I like them to. Maybe snow feels like proper snow to you when it’s been on my hands, forming small snowballs to throw at you for no reason whatsoever. Or when you delicately shake the accumulated snow out of my scarf and it falls from it, becoming one with the rest of the small particles that now form a soft white mattress on the ground.
Maybe if you had told me when snow was snow for you, I could have told you that it was always snow for me, but more so when I was with you.
Siham Lee is a Chilean writer living in Glasgow. She’s currently doing an MLitt in Creative Writing while writing short stories to keep herself alive and mentally stable in the midst of working on her first novel. You can also find her funny little columns in The Daily Drunk, where she explores all the silly things she usually can’t write about.