Prose – “March”



March // by Jennifer Patino


March comes when you least expect it to. You are still recovering from January’s freeze. There are icicles left in your eyelashes from all the crying done in February.

Crows start gathering in the garden below the picture window. The winds blow, but they are no longer howling. There is a tickle in your nose. Spring allergens. They’ve come to roost.

The sun holds on at high noon. It beats down on the suburbanites shuffling to lunch. It pierces your retinas when you head out to the garden for afternoon tea.

Bees buzz, replacing the wood splitters’ saw. March has its own frequency. You feel it just under your skin’s third layer. You can feel change crawling its way out. You can’t stuff anything back now like you did all winter because it’s melting now. Higher temperatures, lower mood. This is how it overtakes you.

It’s always going to be odd to others. Who can be sad in spring and summer when there are so many colors about? When you wear lighter and brighter fabrics? When you can swim and tan and barbecue and socialize and all of these things that so many others like to do? Everyone except for you.

The heat hurts. It stifles you. It makes you feel as if you are encased in needles and there will never be any escape from it. Your eyes are not like others. Yours see so much better in the dark. Yours shine in the cloudy grey of an Autumn day.

Your eyes can often see past that which is right in front of you. Sometimes this sight is fear driven. Sometimes others have convinced you that you’ve imagined some of what you see. Some of what you’ve seen. Other times, you believe God is showing you things. These are the things that make the most sense. These are the things you’ve stopped sharing because the whole world thinks you’re crazy enough.

Your body and mind both go through a transitional phase in March. There is a sense of cocooning that occurs. A shunning of all social graces. A tightening of muscles. A shortness of breath. A farewell to snowfall. A grieving of the longest nights.

You are a bud blooming too. Your brain starts to sprout, its own memory patch becoming overgrown too quickly by sinister and staticky weeds. There are beautiful colors inside your mind as well. Technicolor poms. Fireworks. Sizzling trails that start to manifest in waking life. These streaks of celestial whispers form auras around everything that lives and breathes. They cloud around inanimate objects. Man made luxuries. Rocks. Stones. Streams. You are entombed in a day glo dream but only during daylight. In sleep, you live a different sort of nightmare. You remember too harshly the summers that have passed.

You know you have no control over this. You’ve tried to get your grip on it. You’ve tried to wrestle it away. You’ve tried forcing yourself to feel as others say you should. You have taken every pill. Every potion. Done every breath exercise. Inhaled or ingested every remedy for forgetting recommended by everyone with something to forget. You have tried running but you never get very far.

It is no surprise to you that there are others out there, hiding, just as you are, who feel as you do. It is no surprise that those closest to you can often make you feel the most lonely. It is no surprise that most of your time spent is wishing you were someone else.

Daylight is saved during March. You become lost in March. Parts of you go missing. Parts of you return.

There is no butterfly that emerges at the end of this metamorphosis. There is no prize winning indigo rose emerging from the soil. There is no makeover happening. March is not your prepping time for your summer debut.

March is a signal. A warning sign. There are electric storms on the horizon for you. There are blackout shades on the windows. The crows peck at them from time to time.



Flash Fiction- “Snow Angel”

“Snow Angel” // by Jennifer Patino


The grass was wet and the steps were slippery, yet the fear of falling wasn’t with me. All I could think of were rats and the story my mother told us when we were younger about the boy in school who died from rabies.

My breath came out in fog wisps as I made my way to the barn. The last snow fall had melted away and that saddened me because I loved the snow so much. The moonlight shined down on the trees in the dark and made dripping icicles look like crystals.

I liked to be outside at night, especially in the winter, but the cold was so unbearable that my little bench under my favorite tree was not a place I could sit for too long. The barn (although most likely filled with diseased rats) was my best bet. I’d sit in there until just before the sun came up and read or write and think about things, usually things I didn’t quite understand.

I reached the barn and opened the door. I was careful to do it slowly so that I wouldn’t wake up my Aunt and Uncle. Our horse, Bessie, whinnied softly but she knew it was me so she didn’t fuss too much. I climbed up the ladder to the loft and hung my lantern up on a hook embedded in the low ceiling. At first I listened for the rats because they scared me so much. I couldn’t hear their scratching so I soon put them out of my mind.

I settled back in the hay and imagined the stars were painted on the ceiling. I missed my mother. She always took care of my sister and I no matter how hard it was. She loved winter too so whenever it came I would think of her. It wasn’t that my Aunt and Uncle were mean or anything. I just missed my mother.

I felt myself start to cry and before I knew it, I had sobbed myself to sleep. I dreamt of her then. Her and my sister and I.

I was very small and my red boots seemed huge on my feet. We were running through the snow and she was laughing. Her knit cap was a flash of color against the white. She gathered up a snow ball and threw it at me. I giggled as more flew at me and I struggled to make my own weapons of retaliation. Then there we were, lying on our backs doing jumping jacks and creating marvelous snow angels that God Himself would even have admired. Then we just laid there and talked for hours.

“Do you think real angels in Heaven make snow angels, Mama?” my sister’s small voice echoed.

“Of course, dear, ” she said. “It’s winter all the time in Heaven. And you can guarantee that the real angels see our snow angels and love them very much right now.”

Then she was in the hospital and angels were talked of again.

“Snow angels, Jessie,” Her voice was croaky. “Whenever you need me, make a snow angel and I will be there…”

I awoke instantly and gasped when I didn’t realize where I was at. The dream and the memory of my mother was still fresh in my mind. The oil in my lamp had died out but the light from outside shone on me through the tiny barn window. I couldn’t believe it was morning and that I had fallen asleep.

I climbed down and stepped into the dawn and noticed the snow gently falling. The ground was covered in ivory. The icicles on the trees were back. I felt a tear forming in my eye as the smell of my mother entered my heart but I brushed it aside. My mother sent me more snow. I knew it. There was no doubt in my mind.

I walked a few steps into an open clearing and laid down upon the white, cold dust. I made a snow angel all the while closing my eyes and telling my mother over and over again that I loved her. And when I was finished, I opened my eyes and saw her smiling face in the sky.

My mother was a snow angel and winter was all the time in Heaven if that’s the way you wanted it to be. And then I knew I would always be okay. Today and every day.

Written: July 4, 2005