When I was young, every snow day was better than the last. I would run to my parent’s room at 6am and beg them to call the Silvestris. My best friend lived less than 5 minutes away and living so close to Olivia was the best thing in the entire world that could happen to a girl my age. Of course my parents would tell me that I wasn’t allowed to call until 7, but I was already busy putting on my snow pants, because what else would Olivia be doing anyway? Hearing her parents say that I could come over was more exciting than anything else I could imagine at the time.
I would run as fast as I could to Olivia’s townhouse through the frosty air and excitedly ring her doorbell. Hearing the familiar ding-dong meant that it was finally official. I was at my best friend’s house and we didn’t have to go to school today. As I stepped into her warm home, the overwhelming smell of freshly baked gingerbread enveloped me like a warm hug. Olivia would always be standing at her kitchen counter, mixing two hot chocolates just for us. They were a different flavor every time, whether it be peppermint, salted caramel, or original, they were always so delicious.
After we finished our hot chocolates, we would run out into the snowy wonderland that was our city and beg our babysitters to take us to Central Park. Once we got there, we marveled at the beauty of the freshly frozen ponds, icicles hanging from frosty bridges, and the gentle crunch of the soft snow underfoot. Our laughs would echo through the nooks and crannies of the park as we sledded down our favorite hills.
Looking back now on the ridiculous selfies we took with our snowmen or slow motion videos of us kicking snow hurts a little. It’s not because we have grown apart (because if anything we’ve gotten closer) but it’s because we have physically moved apart. In 6th grade I got the news I was moving. It was less than 10 blocks away, but it meant that the 5 minute walk to Olivia’s house turned into 20 minutes. The first thing I asked my mom was how long it would take me to walk to Olivia’s cozy brownstone on a snow day. She told me it wouldn’t make sense to walk 15 blocks on a cold winter day anymore and that I’d have to find new friends to play with on snow days.
I was distraught. Gone were the days of snow angels in Central Park, buying out the whole candy aisle at CVS, and sipping on all different types of hot chocolates. There was nothing in my new neighborhood except tall glass buildings as bright and shiny as ice. My new neighborhood was all the wrong type of cold and it had none of the warmth of my old traditions. I suddenly hated the shiny new buildings I had once admired and brightly lit supermarkets that had once been so fascinating. But when you live in a city whose neon lights glow brighter than all the stars in the Milky Way combined, you are forced to adapt to the constant change.
I didn’t end up moving until late August of this year. So I savored every snow day I got with Olivia. We would eat cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery until we felt sick, sled down every possible hill in Central Park, buy every type of candy from CVS, make snow angels in her backyard, and burn our tongues off of every flavor of hot chocolate we could get our hands on. Now I live in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a lot of memories to offer. Everything here was built in the last 10 years and it’s all hard, shiny, sharp edges, just like the type of snowball that hits you a little too hard in all the wrong places.
We haven’t had a snow day since I moved, but I can only hope our traditions will adjust themselves with the city. As New York City grows, adapts, and changes, I can only hope that we will do the same. Even if we may be further apart, I know the city will find a way to bring us together on those cold and snowy days.