A Town with No Cheer: part 2
Ed was waiting for me in the other room. It was a blue room full of crystal decoratives. He was cloaked in blue sparkling light, a nervous smile on his face.
After another quiet, rickety ride, we arrived at what Ed announced as ‘the shop’. I recognized the bench I had rested on earlier. High above the small wooden building enormous antennae towered high enough to be obscured by the grey midday clouds.
What’s that antennae for?
Glenn, I get it, you’re mad at me because I dropped a hood on your head, but you’re just gonna have to get over it already.
No, I really want to know what that thing is for. It’s huge.
Are you going to act like this every time something happens around the shop now?
He couldn’t get the door to the shop open. He grumbled and cursed as he continued to test the knob and jiggle his keys. Finally it reached a violent height, before the door burst open.
The shop was littered with old tools, dusty shelves, and dented soda cans. Off in the furthest corner of the small building was what appeared to be some type of equipment hidden under plastic.
What’s under there?
Come on, sit down. Have a soda.
I turned to find him sitting on an old stool with his elbow up on a work bench, sipping his soda. Another old stool sat nearby.
What do we do here?
You know, what we do here, now cut it out.
Ed, you have to help me out here, because I don’t remember anything.
You’re here every day. Don’t tell me you forgot.
I don’t remember.
Well, this is where we work. We come here and work, and that’s it.
It doesn’t look like we do a lot of work.
Well, those new ice drills and electric sleds they’re making are so cheap, people are more likely just to go buy a new one rather than have them fixed.
So, we fix ice drills and electric sleds?
No, we’re scientists. We just help out and fix them once in a while for a little extra money.
Glenn, maybe you need to sit down.
I finally eased onto the old stool.
So, what is it we do as scientists?
You really don’t know?
This is the last time I’m having this conversation with you.
He put down his can of soda, and leaned in closer to me.
We’re the two schmucks tasked with figuring out how to make it snow around here.
So wait, Martha was going on about snow earlier.
Don’t you listen to a word Martha says. You gotta finally learn not to let her get you in trouble, Glenn.
But, she said the same thing. We’re scientists trying to make it snow. I remember her saying that.
Yeah, but…..just don’t listen to her.
Okay, so why aren’t we working on making it snow? Why aren’t we doing scientist things?
I better go home.
No, I’m not having this conversation with you again. You have to learn just to let go of some things.
What are you talking about?
I’ll see you in the morning, goodbye.
He was gone with a bitter breath, and before the echo of the door slamming subsided, my eyes were on the mysterious equipment under the plastic.
The floor boards winced with bated anticipation as I crept towards the dusty junk in the corner.
Just as I was close enough to feel the neglected equipment brace itself for its unveiling, a sliver of light cracked the shadows, suggesting someone had walked through the door. This person had me frozen in their sight.
That’s all your snow making equipment.
It was Martha. I could feel the amused look on her face.
Yep, and it’s all hidden away, just the way he wants it.
his is a very strange place.
Come walk with me.
She led me into the hills. We weaved through the soft bedding of a pine forest. The tall red barked trees seemed to whisper to her as she passed.
Why are you surprised it’s always cold here?
Where are we?
When I told you it’s always winter here, you didn’t look at me strange like the others.
I do think it’s strange that it’s always winter here. I guess I didn’t show it when you told me.
It’s okay, because later on I realized you thought I was crazy. But, the word ‘winter’ it didn’t mean anything to you.
Why should it?
Because no one knows what it means.
You don’t have seasons?
Oh, we have seasons. We have the white season, the blue, the grey, and the black.
What the difference?
The color of the sun through the clouds.
The sun is blue sometimes?
It appears that way through the clouds. I’ve determined that our blue season is the equivalent to what you might call spring.
I don’t know what this is. I think I’m on Earth, but it feels foreign.
This is earth.
Okay, so, where are we?
Where is that?
Where is here?
There is nowhere else?
Nowhere else, just here.
I didn’t think I’d find myself in a place like this.
We came to a break in the trees. Before us was a large patch of knotted and tangled grass. She stood still and whispered, as if she were in a house of worship.
This is a special place in Glowersville.
Look at the grass.
What about it?
I looked closer and narrowed my eyes, and slowly I began to see each blade of grass sheathed in crystallized water. If you looked at it just right, the faint reflection of the sun made it almost appear like a fresh blanket of snow.
The air is really heavy this time of year. The moisture collects on the grass and freezes. Some say it looks a little like snow.
Why hasn’t it snowed here in so long, Martha?
No reason, it just stopped. But it’s been so long now everyone thinks it’s a sign of our doom. They’ve all become so sad about it. They think with the snow everything will be right again. It’s like all those memories you have from when you were a kid. They just keep getting better with age.
You don’t believe that.
No, and neither do you and Ed.
And that’s why all that junk is just pushed off into the corner.
Everyone pretty much knows you guys don’t do anything anymore, but no one says anything.
Because they’d rather live with the dream of what it was, than the reality of what it is.
Then maybe someone should show them the reality.
Maybe you should.
How do you know so much?
When I was about 15 I started having memories of experiences I’ve never known. I started remembering places and people I’ve never seen before. It used to be warm here a long time ago. We used to have all the seasons that you know of. I have no idea how, but I’ve seen it. When I started telling people about what I’ve seen they all thought I was crazy. My mother hasn’t even had a conversation with me in 11 years. Now I know you’ve seen these things too.
What exactly are we talking about?
You’ve seen the blue rippling water in the lake. You’ve felt the warm breeze against your face. You’ve had to cover your eyes because the sun was so bright. You’ve smelled the grass in your hair, you’ve even tasted it. You’ve felt the little insects tickle your bare skin. You’ve heard the whispers of the wind brushing past all the green around you, as you stare up at the most peculiar sky.
I wouldn’t say I’ve seen that. But I have experienced moments like that.
So have I.
No, I mean I live there.
I know. You have no idea how happy I am to know that I’m not crazy.
She threw her arms around me and squeezed my tightly. Her deep sigh of relief warmed my cold neck.
You are definitely not crazy.
I knew one day you’d see I was telling the truth Glenn. All those other times you said you believed me I knew you were just being nice to me. You thought there was something wrong with me. You thought like the rest of them. But now I know.
Why would keep talking to me if you thought I was just being nice?
Because you were the only one that would at least listen.
I’m sure I never thought anything was wrong with you.
Thank you, but it doesn’t matter. Nothing that happened before matters now because I know I was right, and more importantly, you know I was right.
I don’t think you are having the same experience as me, and if I told you the whole story of my experience you would think I was the crazy one. But, I do believe you, because I have been to places just like you’ve described.
I delivered that speech with all the bravado of a leading man. I expected the music to cue up as she tightened her arms around me, and pressed her lips against mine, making us, for a moment, look like the cover of a romance novel.
But what I received was the warm touch of her brownish red gaze, and a gesturing smile of understanding. She was not looking for love.
We have to make it snow.
Her eyes seemed to flash with anger when she said it.
Why do you care about the snow?
I don’t care about the snow. I’ve already seen it. But I want them to see it, especially my mother.