You long for the cold wet snow of winter, preferably one set in the harshest of New England conditions. Instead you are stuck in a stupid oasis in the desert with a box of disposable razors and numerous bars of white soap to make pretend snow in your air conditioned bathroom.
You sit there on the cold tiles of your bathroom floor, completely naked, bar of white soap in one hand, razor in the other. Your hand tremors slightly as you inch the razor closer to the bar of soap. You press the razor into the soap and watch the first flakes fall onto the floor. Perhaps later you can build a snow man. For now though, you have to shave the soap. You repeat the process, watching intently as the soap flakes away.
The razor clogs up. You wipe the blade with your finger. That wasn’t very smart; you are now bleeding. You discard the razor and pick up another one.
Bleeding, you continue shaving the soap, making it snow in the air conditioned confines of your dingy bathroom. Luckily there isn’t a window in here to spoil the illusion. Two of the three bulbs in the overhead light are gone too, completing the feeling of a dark winter’s afternoon.
Even with the air conditioning turned up to full, your nude body is at no risk from hypothermia. But you can pretend it is.
You continue shaving bars of soap, making it snow on your bathroom floor. It takes hours. Your hands are sore and bleeding but it doesn’t matter – there’s snow in your bathroom, that’s the important thing.
Now it is time for phase two. You leave the cold claustrophobic confines of your bathroom. The light in the corridor is blindingly bright after hours of gloom. You shield your eyes with your arm and run in the direction of the spare bedroom.
Someone opened the blinds in here while you were busy. Your eyes still haven’t adjusted to the light but you require the old desk fan. You set it out early this morning; hopefully whoever opened the blinds hasn’t moved it. Nope, you nearly trip over it, but at least it is found. You pick it up and head back to the gloom of the bathroom. You put it down on the floor and trail the cord into the corridor to plug it in.
You can’t re-enter the bathroom just yet, you require something else. Back to the spare room. You move your arm from your face and allow your eyes to adjust to the light. Your still bleeding hands drip crimson splotches onto the creamy white carpet. You don’t care.
Eyes ready, you turn around completely and slowly taking in the entire room. You don’t know where you left them. You should have looked this morning and left them with the fan. You take a deep breath trying to recall where they are. You walk over to the wardrobe and open the door. You don’t even need to switch on the light. They are right in front of you, safe in their bucket. You grab it and go back to the bathroom switching off the corridor lights as you do so.
You sit down on the floor next to the fan, ready to switch it on, but not yet. You open the bucket and look inside; tiny plastic people stolen from playgrounds and front gardens from all over the city, collected over the course of ten months and saved for this moment. You take one out of the bucket and place it in the soap flakes. You repeat this action setting up the most beautiful of all winter scenes.
You’ve saved the little green soldiers for last. You arrange them in a circle around the other plastic people, guns pointing at the crowd. Perfection.
You switch on the fan. The soap flakes slowly rise off the floor. Your spilt blood has caused some of the flakes to clump together, but it doesn’t matter that much. It is still very beautiful. The first of the plastic figures falls over.
You wait. And wait. More plastic people fall. The soap flakes blow around. Nothing else is happening! Bitter disappointment overwhelms you. You followed the instructions exactly. Your winter scene should be coming to life.
You reach up to your head and firmly grasp two handfuls of hair. You rip it out and throw it into the mix. You’re probably bleeding as a result but you don’t care. Nothing matters! Tears cascade down your face.
You wanted to watch the green soldiers shoot the innocent townsfolk. You were assured that this would work. You don’t know what could have gone wrong. You cry.
You hear movement to your side. You don’t know how long you were out for. Something stings your thigh. You are under attack. The last bulb died so you can’t even see what is attacking you.
Groggy and disorientated you get up and clumsily make your way into the corridor, switching on the light. Your scene is alive. You shut the bathroom door hoping the soldiers can’t fit through the crack at the bottom.
You shake and tremor and naked make your way to the front of the house and outside. No one is around to help you. Your spouse should be home but isn’t. You need to find a place to hide and wait. In the bushes by the window. Hopefully the police won’t drive past in the meantime.
Danielle Brown, December 2011