The Most Beautiful Gift

The Most Beautiful Gift by Jonathan Snow

Book: The Most Beautiful Gift by Jonathan Snow Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jonathan Snow
The
Snowflake
     
    M ark was sitting in front of the fireplace. Holding a crayon in his hand, he was trying to color a hopping bunny rabbit in
     his coloring book. The choice was rather difficult: a beautiful sky blue? “Bunnies don’t exist like that,” whispered a little
     voice from somewhere nearby, although it wasn’t clear just where. “Not even on Mars?” asked the little boy. Talking to himself
     made him feel more comfortable, if for nothing else, because it seemed as if someone was always near—perhaps another boy just
     likehim. At eight years old, you can never have enough friends.
    “No, not even on Mars!” His invisible companion did not want to concede.
    Mark raised his can of Dr. Pepper and examined its bright red metallic color. That might be the right color. Before the little
     voice could protest, Mark pressed his crayon several times across the figure of the bunny. After a few minutes, the animal
     was transformed into a big, fat, ripe cherry.
    “Not bad,” said the boy, studying the drawing in the dim light of December. “Not bad at all.” Now he had to choose the color
     for the rest of the picture: for the pine tree with its big big eyes; for the badger wearing a mountain cap; for the stars
     that twinkled high in the sky and almost seemed to smile.
    Looking for inspiration, Mark turned his gaze toward the window. The sky was gray and the air seemed to stand still. Here
     and there, what looked like dandelion seeds floated by. But they weren’t seeds. Spring was still a long timeaway. Christmas was already knocking at the door. There were only two days to go.
    “Snow!” yelled Mark, pushing aside his coloring book. He narrowly avoided spilling his can of Dr. Pepper. If he had, the mess
     would have caused his mom and dad to change into two crazy people, yelling and screaming, deafening him with their scolding.
    Mark quickly put on a pair of boots, grabbed his coat, and hurried outside. The snowflakes fell over Spring Valley like tiny
     cotton puffs, like small tufts of the sweetest cotton candy. There weren’t many flakes. The snowfall was little more than
     a dusting of cinnamon over an apple pie, but the boy didn’t seem to mind. It was the first sign of Christmas. Who knew whether
     his parents, shut up in their offices in the city, were also enjoying the show? No, they were probably bent over their work,
     over page after page to read, approve, sign. They would come home in the evening with weary expressions and the worn-out look
     of people who rushed around all day doing things they would gladly have avoided.
    Mark craned his neck skyward to discover where the snow was coming from. Surely somebody had to be scattering it. Maybe there
     was a Snowman, just as there was a Sandman who came very quietly at night to put you to sleep by sprinkling your eyes with
     magic dust. But no matter how far he stretched, Mark wasn’t able to see anything. Perhaps the mysterious little man was hiding
     among the clouds with his snowmaking machine—a kind of enormous ice grater churning out the world’s largest Italian ices!
     It was probably up there somewhere, hidden from prying eyes.
    A snowflake landed on Mark’s nose. The boy stared down at it intently. It was beautiful. It looked like a minuscule glass
     star, made by the most talented artist in the world; or a diamond, discovered deep down in the earth and brought up into the
     open air for the very first time, finally free, and expressing its joy with vibrant rays of light.
    Mark took the snowflake between two fingers, careful not to melt it, and placed it in the palm of his hand. The tiny crystal
     flake almosthypnotized him with its iridescent colors. With extreme care, as if he was holding in his hands a priceless treasure, he
     headed for home. He opened the door and aimed for the kitchen. Everything was immersed in a silence that only snow can bring.
     From the next room drifted the snores of Grampa Gus, who was taking his usual

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