I walked into the bathroom rocked like Gibraltar and stoned like Mary Magdalene only to see what I can only describe as a brown demon peering at me from inside the toilet. It was a definite spooker if you ask me, but I’d seen demons before, if you know what I mean. The solution was two-fold. First, not finding George C. Scott or a suitable exorcist nearby, I did the next best thing and flushed the john. Then, I took the piss I walked into the bathroom for and flushed it again.
My father would have said, “Beta, you have to clean up.”
He wasn’t talking about Lysol, or restocking the toilet paper. His advice is worded like, “Hinduism frowns upon this – be moral and flush your friend’s herbal pot down the porcelain one.”
My friends would have said, “You paid good money for this!”
I shook free of the daydream and walked back outside to my friends, looked out the porch windows and saw a sight to make DARE and TRUTH commercials ecstatic. For months over the winter, we’d flicked cigarettes out into the snow and watched as they sizzled their way down to the dead grass somewhere underneath, only to be covered by more snow in the long cold.
Now, it was April, and the snow had melted, leaving all the cigarettes at the dead end of their long-gone trajectories.They were everywhere – a graveyard for cigarettes and they died long before they ravaged our fragile bodies.
The six of us stood on the porch, watching the snow rush down again in deranged spirals. It felt as though our deep drunk breathing was swirling the flakes around before they laid themselves down ever so gently. They lived for a short few seconds, fighting in howling bursts of speed – upwards, sideways, eventually acquiescing to a quiet death accompanied by nothing but grass, watchful indifference and silence. The snow doesn’t love gravity just like babies or old people with brittle bones. The snow doesn’t love the plummet or the filth walking hand in hand with its mass-grave; the unforgiving dirt that mars its pristine white innocence in rude splatters.
It tolerates people because we ooh and aah at its natural beauty – and only until we do. We noticed how we tended to slip and fall when we tired of living inside a gray ping-pong ball, when we began to wish for cloudless, sunny warm days. That was old news, though – this was the last snow, filled with all the exuberance of an marathon runner sprinting the last hundred feet.
As we sat there smoking, watching another season roll into town like a beautiful white carnival with the first snow making everything innocent, we felt our bond growing stronger. We didn’t have to look at each other. Another year now, another year again, another year of survival in a hell swarming with hedonism and tricky excesses while attempting in futility to remember the schedule of the next day’s classes. I could almost taste the brotherhood we’d molded out of nothing but situational friendship and rolling seasons in each other’s company. In that moment we just sponged the feeling up, saved it for warmer days because there would never again be so much love in the world.
Goodbye, Winter. We miss your chill and mourn your melting – wherever we may be now.