Georgia was finally home. It was time to relax, just her and a new book and a cup of the best cocoa ever. It would be the ideal evening. The only thing that would make it better would be a nice purring cat and a warm crackling fire.
But, Georgia was allergic to cats and didn’t have a fireplace. Rather than set things on fire and sneeze as her eyes grew red and puffy, she would settle for a fleece blanket. Sometimes happiness is knowing when to compromise.
She changed into her comfiest pajamas and slid her feet into her fluffy slippers. She set her blanket and book on her chair and marched into the kitchen. It was time to make cocoa.
She heated the milk and added vanilla and chocolate and cinnamon, stirring slowly and humming to herself. She poured it all into her favorite mug and rinsed the pot and left it in the sink.
She opened the cupboard. There were no marshmallows. She stood on a chair and pushed aside bags of raisins and nuts and pretzels and chocolate chips. They weren’t there. How could she be out of marshmallows?
It seemed so petty and silly, but today had been so stressful. She had only been able to make it through by imagining her pajamas and chair and book and blanket and cocoa with marshmallows.
She could change out of her pajamas. She could leave her cocoa cooling in its mug and drive through the rainy streets and wait in line at the supermarket. She could come home to cold cocoa and toss it out and start all over.
Or, she could stay in and pretend she had never wanted marshmallows. Like she didn’t want a cat or a fireplace or so many other things that she couldn’t have. She would sit in her chair, all wrapped up and drink her cocoa in her pajamas, and it would almost be just like she imagined it.
She didn’t really want to get dressed again and go out. Georgia sighed and picked up her cup. Compromises, right? She looked out the window into the dark night.
The streetlight outside was reflecting off the rain. But the rain wasn’t falling quite right. It was slower, softer. Was it snowing? Georgia took her cocoa and shuffled outside. She didn’t even change out of her slippers.
Huddling in the edge of the dry concrete under the eaves, she held out her mug and caught snowflakes in her cocoa. They landed softly and dissolved, beading up the surface for just a second. She caught another, and another. She laughed.
She stepped out of her slippers onto the cold, wet concrete and tried to catch a snowflake on her tongue. How do you tell if you succeeded? The snow was coming down more thickly.
Snowflakes fell into her mug in clumps. She took a sip. Cool and then too hot. She caught more snowflakes. She set the mug down and held out her hands. When the snowflakes landed it was the faintest brush of something cold and wet. She tried to catch another snowflake on her tongue. There, she’d done it! Georgia laughed.
She twirled in the snow, like a ballerina in a snow globe. She balanced on one toe and tried to lift her other leg just a bit. She held her arms up in a circle. For a moment she felt beautiful and graceful.
Snowflakes clung to her fleece pajama bottoms. If she looked closely, she could see their tiny, intricate shapes. They were lace doilies for ants. She shivered. Her feet were starting to sting with the cold.
Georgia brushed the snowflakes off and picked up her mug. She slipped her feet into her slippers and took a last look at the snow drifting down in the light of the streetlight. It was beautiful.
She went back inside and wrapped up in her blanket and set her cocoa on the table by the chair. She smiled. She sipped her cocoa and felt warm from the inside out. Cocoa with snowflakes was much better than marshmallows any day. She opened her new book and started to read.