The White Hard Snow – A Short Story

photo-1451906278231-17b8ff0a8880
Photo credit: Rob Bye

Maria slipped off her boots and socks, shivering as she plunged her toes into the ice-cold sand. Staring out at the wild sea she realised her neighbour had been right after all. She’d mocked the suggestion at first, but now she could see it with her own eyes. A long ridge of wave was caught solid in its tumble to the shore, frozen, as if time stood still.

It reminded her of the time her mother had told her the story about the frozen sea. A true story. Sometime during the war – she and Aunt Jenny – they’d called it the ‘white hard snow’. A frozen wave just like this one.

Oh, the stories they would tell of having to make do with what they had, no meat, no butter, no coal, but still they seemed to look back on that time fondly – especially the way they talked about the frozen sea. She remembered the way their faces had lit up in the telling and wished she’d paid more attention; the memories were fading now.

Maria walked to the water’s edge. Slivers of ice floated and rocked in the foam, and she bent and dipped her hand to lift a few shards, crushing them between her fingers before flinging them out towards the frozen wave. The tension she’d felt since leaving the house was melting, though she grew colder by the minute.

‘Mum, Mum…’ she turned and saw her daughter racing towards her.
‘Mum, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to break it… I… I didn’t do it on purpose.’
Maria recalled the fragments of glass inlaid with intricate white lace patterns. Swallowing back the remains of her anger, she took a deep breath.
‘I know you didn’t do it on purpose, Annie’, Maria caught a strand of her daughter’s hair as it whipped about her face and tucked it behind her ear. ‘Let’s sit over there on the rocks for a moment…’

‘I only have a few things that belonged to Grandma and that plate was very special to me… some things just aren’t… replaceable.’ Annie nodded solemnly.
‘You miss Grandma, Mum?’ she said, absentmindedly drawing stars in the sand with her finger.
‘Yes, I miss her a lot Annie.’
‘Well, at least you have me and Aiden.’ She looked up with a cheeky smile.
Maria squeezed her daughter’s shoulder.
‘Look, can you see over there?’ She pointed her finger, directing Annie’s gaze to the water’s edge.
‘What is it, Mum?’
‘The sea is frozen, shall we go and see..?’ but Annie was already on her feet and running towards the shoreline.

15 thoughts on “The White Hard Snow – A Short Story

  1. Oooooh, I like this! Despite its short length, you have beautifully conveyed a sense of character, setting, love, loss, and hope. I want to know more about Maria and her family–especially her mother and Aunt Jenny’s time during that cold, lean winter during the war and how it might relate to what is currently happening in Maria’s own life. You are a gifted writer, Kim. Your prose is lovely and you have a natural voice that immediately immerses the reader.

    I really like the second line: “Staring out at the wild sea Maria realised her neighbour had been right after all.” I think you could possibly use it as the first line of the story and use the first sentence a little later in the story.

    Beautiful written story, and the photo illustration is gorgeous! ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This. I couldn’t possibly say it better…
      And I shivered when I read the lines about the story of the mother and the frozen sea. It’s a story I did hear as a kid. My mother grew up near the sea, and when she was a little girl the sea had frozen – and she lost her little shoe in that ice field…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Elvira, thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment. I can picture your mother’s poor shoe lost at sea. I am new at this short story writing, so it is nice to receive such positive feedback 🙂

        Like

    2. Thank you so much for your comments Susan, I really do appreciate them. I was a bit nervous about putting this kind of writing on my blog – not sure anyone would want to read it really.

      I never thought of putting that second line first, but I think you’re right. The story was written for an assignment that had to be around 400 words, so that is why it is so short. Maybe I’ll write more of it sometime 🙂

      Like

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