My Country

I’ve finished another pack of gum again, and it’s getting to be an expensive habit. There’s something about these icy walls and that cold marble that makes me just want to chew and grind my teeth; a constantly moving fortress that has to shift and adapt to the tricky armies and harsh crosswinds. They say “winter is coming,” but I know it’s already here because I was cold in the middle of summer and dressed as if for an arctic chill. There’s no escaping it. There’s no escaping the gap-toothed icicles that are apt to come smashing to the ground in a beautifully explosive moment either.

Actually, these moments are not beautiful: it’s too easy to be caught in the path of razorsharp ice needles and they crack so quietly you never know if they’re about to fall until you’re crushed and killed, a bleeding mass that will be quickly swept up because no one wants to ruin the plush cream carpets either.

Sometimes I like to sit here and design an igloo, reminiscent of snow forts from my childhood. These are the times I stop chewing and can be still as I construct and design the round frame, select the right kind of ice and snow, and perch each block on another quietly, carefully, sweetly. I know a snowfall would be pretty because it twinkles at night, but here it stopped snowing a long time ago. The sky is always white or grey and dead and I can’t even describe the color green anymore.

​I also used to love making snow angels. Lying in the snow outside felt funny, unnatural, unlike lying on the sand at the beach. But it’s one of the few times we actually fall into nature itself​, lying on sand and snow, but since everything has frozen, the ground is too hard for ethereal patterns. It’s hard enough to look at this world the right way up, and to be supine would just be inviting disaster. I tried it once when I first entered this world, when I still expected the summer’s warmth and spring’s soft rain. But now I just read and write about those and chew piece after piece of gum, savoring the artificially biting mint flavor that’s my only connection to that other country.

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