Fiction Park

Snow

  • Out of his window, he looked up towards the distant horizon and saw few birds changing their shelter from that part of the world to another which was warmer, and he remembered his own migration from his homeland
- Shiva Bhusal
He came to the United States in tuition scholarship, and a low GPA in the first semester meant the scholarship was denied and also that he had to leave the university and return to his homeland Shiva Bhusal

Dec 2, 2018-Winter arrived in no time. The trees, once green and charming, turned yellow, brown and eventually red, and fell off the branches onto the ground. A cold, violent wind blew the leaves across the other side of the road, and it started to snow.

It snowed like the downpour of the cotton flakes, and within a few hours, the surrounding turned into a land of white colossal masses. Even the empty roads were now covered with snow, and one could no longer spot grasses in the meadow or the dust on the road. Rabin turned on the heater in his apartment to 80 degrees, and to prevent the heat loss, he barely opened the windows or the patio doors, and seldom went outside without pullovers, jackets, mufflers and snow boots.

He was excited to experience snowfall for the first time in his life, and for the first few days, he frequently came out of his room, held snow in his hands, played with it, threw it in the face of his friends, wrote his name in it with beautiful letters, even took a photograph keeping the white colossal masses in the background, and posted the picture on Facebook and Instagram. After a couple of weeks, the weather and the surrounding no longer fascinated him, and he mostly spent his time inside his room reading books. He went to the college not to learn, but to complete the necessary class hours so that he would not be penalised for low attendance.

In the second week of December, the first semester would be over, and he would have three weeks break to read all the books he had listed in his To-do app and to write all the stories he had planned. Before coming to the United States, he had already dabbled with words and published few stories in the magazines and newspapers, but he had not produced anything substantial. His main intention of coming to the United States was to devote himself to writing and produce pieces which many readers would read and admire.

But, most of the times, he struggled writing even a simple sentence without grammatical errors. He referred to grammar books and online manuals to find out the correct usage of preposition--a thing he always struggled in his writing. He had started writing very late in his life and lacked inborn rhythm, craftsmanship and talent to turn the set of words into beautiful sentences. He often relied on hard work, patience and perseverance, changed the structure of the sentences many times, revised and rewrote them multiple times and decided about the best possible combination.

He came to the United States in tuition scholarship, and a low GPA in the first semester meant the scholarship was denied and also that he had to leave the university and return to his homeland since his family was not able to pay the entire tuition fees. His father rather expected him to earn some money. His sister wanted a tablet, his mother a camera, and his cousins wanted pen drive that could also be used as a wristband. In his mind, he had plans to work in the gas stations during the summer, earn some money and visit Nepal sometime in the month of July.

He knew that if he returned to his village for a short trip, he would not be considered the same person again, he would be considered an American--a sort of celebrity in the entire village. It was the third week of November and Rabin realised it was the season of Dashain and Tihar—the time of the year when it was neither cold nor hot in his homeland. It was the time of the year when he spent a long vacation at his home with his family and when all of his relatives gathered at a single place and took food, drank, laughed, danced, and shared sorrows and happiness; it was the time of the year when he bought Nepali books from the nearest Sajha Prakashan stall at a cheaper price, and stayed inside his room reading them.

In the suburb of North America, he did the same amount of reading he used to do back in his homeland, but unlike in his homeland, here, he woke up very early in the morning, prepared for the classes, often hired a caband went to the grocery (as he didn’t know driving), worked late-night shift at the university dining to support his livelihood, and in case of spare hours, wrote stories and read books. He was so occupied with his own tasks that he was not able to call his parents back home. It had been ten days since he didn’t talk with his parents. Winter, to him, arrived with an excitement at the beginning and with utmost boredom after a week. He even lost his interest in reading and writing and often stared out of the window.

Out of his window, he looked up towards the distant horizon and saw few birds changing their shelter from that part of the world to another which was warmer, and he remembered his own migration from his homeland to this boring suburb. He remembered the days when he roamed aimlessly at the streets of his hometown at midnight and never worried about anything, and compared the freedom with the confinement he had to suffer here inside his narrow room on the ground floor of an old building beside a lifeless street of a boring suburb. The same night, one of his friends called and asked him about life in the United States. “It is damn good,” he lied. His friend said, “I am also planning to apply for the next fall.” The same night, he remembered his lost love, thought about the failed promises, and he couldn’t sleep.

The next morning, he woke up, sleepless and anxious and realised that it was Friday and he didn’t have classes. He pulled off the curtains, opened the window and felt the morning sunlight gently touch his cheeks. He took out his phone and decided to call his father. It was an evening in his homeland and his father was just back to his house after a whole day of work at the farmhouse. Rabin, after talking to his father for about ten minutes, was now tempted to call his ex-lover, but he stopped and promised that he would never call her again in his entire life. He rather started to worry about the assignments he had to submit before midnight, but then he felt sleepy again. Rabin looked out of the window and saw the snowflakes slowly melt with the heat of the morning sun. He was no longer interested in snow and thus closed the window and pulled back the curtains to the usual position. He took a long breath, covered his whole body, including his face, with the blanket, and fell asleep.

Published: 02-12-2018 08:00

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