A child formed in the snow

6-in snowman on a porch
Photo by Nortina Simmons

Two inches of the powdery stuff packed underneath a tenth of an inch of sleet and freezing rain was just enough to build my snow baby.

Her lips were red as pomegranate juice, and I used holly berries for her eyes, the pointed tip of a carrot for her nose, and rosemary stems for her arms. I slid the beaded bracelet I’d won in a gift basket from a long-forgotten charity event over her head to make a necklace.

She wasn’t the one we’d lost, but she was perfect, and she was mine. I brought her home with all the love I could manifest from my half-empty heart and made our house her home.

That was, until my husband returned late from work.

Before even acknowledging our presence, he demanded. “Why the hell is it so cold in here?” Instinctively he headed for the thermostat on the wall.

“I want Norma to be comfortable,” I said.

“Who?” Finally, he turned to see me lying on the floor by the patio door next to Norma, nearly a foot tall and made of snow, who gazed out the window. He crouched down in front of us and slowed his speech as if speaking to a child. “Honey, why do you have a snowman in the house.”

“She’s our daughter,” I said with a smile.

“What?” He furrowed his brow, curled his upper lip, looked at me as if I disgusted him. I didn’t expect him to understand, just as he couldn’t understand that getting over the grief of a miscarriage wasn’t as simple as “making another one.” Though, I was sure he enjoyed himself all the times we tried, while I lay stiff as a board, dead on the inside, waiting for him to finish.

“I really need you to understand—”

“Regina, we talked about this,” he said sharply, biting back the urge to shout at me the way he did the night before, when I told him our baby was there in the bedroom with us, that I could feel her little eyes following us.

“Not in front of the little one,” I said when he pressed for sex.

His frustration with me put him out of the mood. He assumed I was lying to get out of having to perform my wifely duties, but the truth was I was so disappointed he didn’t see her.

“Why can’t you just open your eyes?” I cradled his face in my hands, caressing both cheeks. “You’re so determined to replace what’s not dead. Why can’t you see she’s right here with us?”

“Because it’s a goddamn snowman, Regina!” He jerked away from my grasp and then kicked Norma with such force, she disintegrated into a million tiny water droplets.

“No!” I screamed. I slid my hands across the wet floor, trying to push the pieces back together, but he squeezed my shoulders and yanked me to my feet.

“Get a hold of yourself, Regina,” he said in a deep commanding voice as he shook me. “I don’t want to have to have you committed.”

He let go, and with the weight of the world, I dropped to the floor. My palms slipped in the puddle of what remained of her so that my head and the rest of my body splashed into it too. But it wasn’t water. Not to me. No, all I could see was blood. On my hands, on my face, on my chest, between my leg.

“Why is it so hard for you—” but interrupted by the door slamming behind him, I realized he’d left me again to mourn in my loneliness.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons


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