I don't like winter.
At least that's what I thought when I was a human.
I didn't like the cold that seeped into my bones, my dry flaky skin, the nosebleeds.
So one night before bed I did the only thing a logical human being who hates this season could did: I wished I was snowman. If I were a snowman, I figured, I would actually like the cold and snow and winter.
Now it wasn't any formal wish, there weren't any official chants or incantations or spells, I want to make that clear. It was just one of those things you say in your head, and sure, when I said it in my head, yes, I did really mean. I absolutely meant it.
But I've also said things like, I want to be a cat, or, Wouldn't it be nice to be a giraffe? But I certainly didn't wake up the next morning either of those things.
That's why it was so confusing when I woke up in the middle of that night and I was, for once, absolutely toasty and overheated.
It felt like I was in an oven. I seriously thought there was a fire in the house.
I got out of bed, blurry eyed from sleep, determined there was no fire, and turned off the heater and opened the windows to let in that sub zero windchill.
With that, I went back to sleep. It snowed during the night so when I woke up, there were piles of snow on the carpet and flakes still coming through the window.
I was about to jump up and close the window, but I realized, it felt good. The temperature felt normal.
It didn't make any sense. I figured I must have really mentally embraced winter.
But when I looked in the mirror, I realized, no, I was a snowman. All my normal human features had turned to tightly packed snow and ice.
I didn't know what to do, so I just followed my daily routine and went to work. The subway was actually just the right temperature, absolutely frigid but to me it felt wonderful.
I got up to my work using the freight elevator. Luckily I could avoid most people as my office is a maze and people don't like talking to other people so I sat at my desk and opened the nearest window. The building kept the temperature in the office low anyways, and I had some chilly breezes blowing right at my face.
I did my work without anyone bothering me, though my hands melted a bit on the warm keyboard.
My boss did email and asked me to fire Sean though.
We'd been going back and forth all week about whether we were going to fire Sean and who was going to do it and now that my boss was in Australia, it was left to me.
Usually I don't like confrontation but I called Sean into my office and fired him quite easily and I didn't feel bad about it all, even when he started crying.
I don't have a heart, I realized. That's why I don't feel any emotion. It's just not in the DNA of a snowman to feel emotion.
This made me happy, but it wasn't the happy feeling that I had when I was a human but more of just a pleasant buzzing. A moderate buzzing. This is what happy must feel like to a snowman.
This went on for a week.
I realized that even now that the cold didn't bother me, there were some downsides to being a snowman. I couldn't go to the bar for after work drinks, I would melt. I couldn't go to movies or out to eat and no one wanted to come to my apartment now that it was about thirty degrees inside. Also when I walked around the neighborhood children and dogs chased after me.
That night before I went to bed I said, Okay, this little experiment as a snowman was interesting and all, and I think I've gained some perspective on life and learned to be happy in whatever situation I am in, but I want to be a human man again.
I said this with all sincerity and hoped the snow fairy or whoever it was that turned me into a snowman would hear me.
I took the liberty of closing the window and turning the heat back on since I knew my transformation back into a human would happen during the night and I didn't want to wake up freezing.
But when I woke up the next morning, instead of being a human I was melting. My bed was soaked and I was still a snowman.
I realized I might die. I was mush all round and I could barely move my mushy limbs. I had to drag myself out of bed, an emaciated snowman and go out to my patio and start packing more ice and snow onto my body.
Well, it turns out that it's difficult to stay gainfully employed when you're a snowman and I was soon let go for reasons unrelated they said to my being a snowman but I knew, I knew.
I couldn't pay rent but it was fine, I was happier outside in the cold. I stayed in Prospect Park. But spring was coming. I was getting nervous.
Each night I wished to be a human, but when I woke the next morning I was still a snowman.
So I took off north for cold weather. I began to walk.
I walked upstate and I probably passed into Canada, I don't know. All I know is that I kept walking.
I came to a forest of pines and it was quiet, I didn't hear a sound but my own breathing. Snowmen still breathe, if you listen closely.
There, in the middle of the pine forest, I came upon a snowwoman.
Hello, I said.
Hello, she said back.
That's how it started.
I've never talked to another snowman before, she said.
Well talking comes very natural to me, I said. I used to be human.
I've always been a snowwoman, she said.
From that time on we were together. We went running through the forest. We held snow hands. We threw snowballs at hikers and laughed when they ran away scared. We made out under the pine trees.
I realized that I would have never found love like this if I hadn't turned into a snowman.
Let's be together forever, I said.
We had a little snowpeople wedding. Snowmen came from miles around. The pine trees swayed around us as we recited our vows.
The next morning I woke up freezing.
I was absolutely shivering.
I looked at my hands and feet and they were very human hands and feet.
I turned to look at the snowwoman but she was the same.
I've turned back to a human, I said.
I was shivering and wet all over.
You have to go, she said. You'll die.
I don't want to, I said.
She carried me to the nearest town and left me by the hospital before knocking on the doors and window and calling for help.
I was in the hospital for weeks. I lost two fingers and two toes.
When the hospital released me, the weather had turned.
Spring has come early this year, the nurse said.
By the time I could make it back to the pine forest, the snow had almost melted.
I found her, melting into the ground.
I love you, I said.
I love you too, she said, before she disappeared.
There just before she melted, she turned into a human.
I live in that town now. The winters are hell, but I've learned to deal with them.
I tell my children that story to explain how I ended up here, how maybe the winters are really cold but if you look closely enough, there's magic.
Or you could just move to Florida, my son says, if you don't like the cold instead of being asked to turn into a snowman.
Yeah, I could have, I said. But I have no regrets.