Birthdays are hard for me these last ten years. I don’t mind getting older. It’s that my birthday, and the surrounding season, brings back that year. There are so many things I’d rather forget about that winter. But I am not yet so old that my memory could fade that far. I think that if I live to be a hundred, and dementia steals every pleasant passage of my story from me, the last vivid scenes to be erased will be from that year.
November was four weeks of endless, unrelentingly dreary rain. December was unseasonably warm, as well, wasn’t it? I remember thinking it was hard enough to see people walking around with their forced and awkward holiday cheer, without walking out into sunshine and 70 degrees.
The December warmth felt wrong, like a lie, a useless password to a fake safehouse, a placebo given to make you feel secure when you were anything but safe. Sure enough, January saw the worst blizzard in a century. It glazed the city and the surrounding suburbs. The power lines groaned and snapped under the weight of their crystalline embellishments. The glazed trees reminded me of women in the society pages who seem somehow harder, more brittle, and sadder under the weight of their diamonds and their husbands’ expectations.
Every year since, I mark off the season from my birthday when Daisy disappeared to January 5th when they finally found her. Her spirit long departed, her fragile and broken body was immersed in a shallow pond and encased in a thick sheet of ice, like Snow White under a coffin of glass.