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June 03, 1941 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1941-06-03

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Page Three

________________________ By Emile Gele

Snow drifts are banked loose on
her window and in the old oak's
crotches where she could see. The
hills are thick with white, and the wood-
house .roof. She watched the window
toward the last and wondered when the
snow would come. Sometimes, I think,
near the end she prayed for snow. And
now the snow is falling slowly, softly
and slowly everywhere, in the dark it
comes, comes down. Not everywhere, but
Shenever mentioned letting you know,
but that I felt. Somehow when she spoke
of other things I felt in her hand and
saw in the glow of her face that you had
to know. She lay tired in the bed and
smiled as she whispered, "It was beau-
tiful. I wish you could know." I could
not see how it was beautiful but I did
feel she wanted you to understand. Other
things were beautiful and when she told
me, I could know. As when in summer
we rolled in the meadow, and she showed
me how to make chains of flowers and
she wound them around my neck and
head till they streamed from my tangled
hair. She said we were princesses and
the flowers were jewels, but much rich-
er for their odors were living and better
than stones. And she said the brook, and
all the trees as far as our eyes could
see, and the hills with the horses and the
woods with the squirrels was all our
kingdom for now and forever. She said
it was beautiful and ours. That beauty
I could smell and touch; that I could
know though a child. Somehow not this.
Those last few days we talked as when
children, as in the meadow. She told
me of new kingdoms I never had seen.
of things beautiful as flowers, of strange
adventures and you. We never had
secrets apart before, but many between
us two. In spring the feel of stiff new
grass on the bottoms of bared winter
feet was a secret our own, as the damp
tickle of clay oozing between our .toes.
Most things we never spoke about but
felt in a touch and a tilt of the head;
like when the cow we thought was a bull
scared us up a tree where girl-like we
giggled ourselves silly as the herd boy
drove her away. No one knew and we
never told but she held my hand tighter
as we skipped home through the dusk,
What she knew I knew though she was
the older. Till now I could understand.
She told me about you and how she
stood on the bridge in the snow looking
at city lights that sparkled down from
above and up from the river below. You
came up beside her and must have stood
there long. Then suddenly you said,
"Cold, isn't it?" She started, then almost
smiled at you but quickly turned away.
You waited a while and said laughing,
"Colder than I thought." Anyone else
would have walked away, but not her.
Too much she had wandered in forests,
caught glow worms at twilight, and
played silly games with me. So she smiled
up at you and said, "No. It's not so cold.
Look. At the lights, up and down. See
how warm they are." And you looked
and must have seen things in the city
you never had seen before, and other
things from out of the city. You under-
stood what she understood and to her
there you must have been me, but more.
What, I can not know.
I thought we did all the things there
were. Autumn pulled us always to the
woods, where weird colors and patterned
leaves were goblins and gold-armored
knights. We gathered an army of princes
and kings and warred on the red-coated
giants, stabbing them with knotty twig-
swords and piling them high on a funeral
pyre. They crackled and groaned, beg-
ging for mercy, but we were cruel; and,
besides, the musty smell of their burn-
ing bodies-made us dance with joy. And
once we- found an old can of tar that

we held on a stick to the fire. It bubbled
and gurgled and smelled better than all
the fiery giants. Sometimes after the war
we threw all our swords onto the fire
and put handfuls of nuts we had found;
and we sat there burning our tongues
with a roasted feast as tears wet our
faces from the swaying smoke and we
stared at the flames. Like two smutty
witches we stared at the flames. All the
world was there complete to me, and to
her, then.
And there was an old lumber yard we
called the Dead Forest where trees lay
cut flat like coffins made of themselves,
where sometimes they brought new wood
that outsmelled all the old and we would
scrape clean resin off pine boards to
chew. But the old wood was best for what
was under it, and we found many strange
things. We would be goddesses as ruled

prizes throwing a ball while you could
not hit a thing. You made her carry
them all and threatened to go to a
show just for men; but she promised to
tell everybody the prizes were yours so
you took her riding through a dark tun-
nel and all the prizes were lost when
you came out. Then there were side
shows with monkeys and clowns till you
both were sore from laughing; and on
the way home in a bus you told her
silly things she laughed at and believed.
Things that were nothing and said half
in fun, but made all the difference.
There was a Sunday afternoon you
event on a picnic with a crowd of others.
You played games with the rest, ran
one-legged races, and rowed on a lake
with those lilies that change a dead
stream to a Chinese garden pool. Though
the rest were around shouting and call-

poor girl who sold matches on streets
and burned them all up trying to keep
warm, but she froze and went to some-
where and her grandmother who loved
her. There were other stories. Then she
did a queer thing. She kissed me with
her cool lips-and said she loved me and
would always. This wasqueer for she had
never said it out; we had done things
together for each other, and we never
thought of saying it out. She said it
then and all we had ever done or said
or seen together piled up in me at once.
They must have piled up in her too;
because after they found us and we did
usual things again she always said she
liked snow better than fall leaves burn-
ing, better than spring grass and summer
flowers more beautiful than jewels.
SNOW WHIRLED through all those
years, through the night she wore
those first slippers. High heeled and
shining, they made sharp prints in the
snow as she trailed her dress down the
walk. I peered at those prints from an
upstairs window long after she had gone.
I watched the little heart-shapes and
spiked holes close behind fill up with
snow, and tried to feel what they meant.
And later there was a white calm at the
funeral when they buried the old form
cf a man not so old. We wept again
differently when they gave her a paper
in the middle of winter saying she was
finished with school and then she left
for the city. Snow looks queer on the
black of a train. Sooty smoke pouring up
through snow-flecked sky. the pure and
the filth, the white and the black. She
left for the city on a black train in
the snow.
And there was snow that night in the
park. As she lay in her bed tossing
and barely able to whisper, she remem-
bered that night best of all. A flowing
curtain of midnight flakes closed out
all the irrelevant world, closed in that
something between you two more power-
ful than ever I understood. And as
you both sat there lost as once we were,
you kissed her and told her a story
more beautiful than I ever heard. The
things that piled in her then must have
much more than happened before, and
to me. I do not know. Than I cannot
During those last days she told me
the other things, the many other things.
And in telling them there was no sor-
row, only joy at living them over again.
Once I was fool enough to blame you
and it was long days before she forgave
me. Now I remember only those last
hours when she tossed in the bed moan-
ing and perspiring in the cool room,
and when the drug would wear off she
would scream till the doctor came in
again. She would mutter bits of things
you had said and grab my hand as I
came near, begging me to understand
you and how she wanted me to. I prom-
ised over again, and then it happened.
The drugs did no good just before, so
she screamed and T had to help the
nurse hold her while the doctor worked.
And all for nothing. The thing was
She was unconscious a long time and
could not get things clear for a while
after she waked. They thought she was
better and told her the thing was dead,
so she just lay there smiling, not car-
ing. Then she began to talk of snow,
asking why the snow did not fall, and
saying it had better come soon. She
said no more about you or us, but just
stretched out tired, sometimes squeezing
my hand and we felt together without
speaking like we used to do, but not
quite because something else was there.
She kept wondering why the snow would
not fall, asd she would speak softly
alone; then I thought she was praying
for snow. Toward the end I knew as
(Continued on Page Twelve)


over Troy; and when under a board
we found armored bugs and nasty brown
roaches and always ants dashing madly
about carrying white mites that were
something to them, we judged if they
should live and if they went free or
should be put in bottle captivity. We
were cruel and killed nsany as all gods
should, but some went free and it made
us happiest to see them scurry off to
places even gods could not coe. Then
there was the day my foot caught a
splinter. Though it was not deep, I
shrieked to see my own blood, and she
pulled out the splinter, trying ,to show
me how small it was. But I yelled and
knew I would die till she took the splin-
ter and stuck it in her own arm to show
me how little it hurt. When I saw her
-blood and the smile on her lips, I
no longer felt a hurt, no splinter pain,
but others, and she too somehow and
that day we killed nc more bugs.
you, she said. On the night you went
to a fair she won arm-fulls of foolish

ing your names, there were only two
and they were off the earth in the land
I used to share. You were never alone,
you were alone the whole time, but she
did dot speak and you said nothing,
just felt things the way we used to
do. It was later in the snow that things
were said.
Once we took our sled up a hill, not.
caring for the big dark clouds above;
and we found us a place that was just
right to sail down through spraying.
snow past trees, under fences and down
to the tight frozen brook. But hills
turned the wrong wvay and stumps scared
us aside, so that while we skimmed over
the snow, shrieking and laughing at
ghost dangers, we headed toward a place
we did not know. And the clouds dumped
their ice-feathers while we hunted the
path. We were lost. She made me sit
down as some one had told her, to wait
till searchers came, and we sat there
shivering, chattering our teeth from
cold, not fear. For she told mle beautiful
stories of a girl lost in the woods who was
found by dwarfs and another about a

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