1st Prize Winner
It was possible to resist falling in love with Jonathan Small in the summer.
Something about that boy in the summer prevented the heart from yearning too deeply or with excess fervor. He was quick to sunburn. His skin would freckle on the morning of Memorial Day and those freckles would cover his body until Labor Day. His hair would lighten until it appeared to be nothing but golden wisps ready to float off on the next breeze. When school let out in June every year, Jonathan went off to his job at the clam shack and we all knew he was going to smell like low tide for months. Nobody in Great Marsh, Michigan was worried about their daughter falling for Jonathan in summer.
Winter was another story.
You see, every winter, Jonathan Small would set out in front of his front yard building snowmen. He’d start the day of the first snow, and before that very first nightfall, he’d have twenty or thirty snowmen and snowwomen filling up his front yard. Jonathan’s father had purchased a petite house on Belleford Street, and even though everybody said he got shellacked on the deal, nobody could argue that his front yard was a thing of beauty. That was before Mr. Small knew that his son would have a talent for creating citizens out of snow. Whether Jonathan was simply making the most of what he was given or whether the Universe was making the most out of Jonathan Small was up for debate.
What was not for debate was that every teenage girl in Great Marsh loved snowmen. Why, even their mothers would find any excuse to bundle up and walk past the Small house just to wave at Jonathan. A wave back would be cause for jubilation.
I had loved Jonathan Small since the third grade, but never had the nerve to tell him even as we neared high school graduation. It was Valentine’s Day the morning I walked by his house on my way to school. It didn’t even occur to me to wave, because every girl in town was always throwing themselves at him and he never seemed to show any interest. He was standing next to what appeared to be a snow-daschund as I passed by with my head down.
“Stop,” he yelled.
I froze. We eyed each other for a bit. He moved over to what looked like a blank pile of snow. Not yet formed. He began shaping parts of it. Soon, I could see a face, then an expression, then a smile. Finally, he walked over to me and motioned to my hat.
“May I,” he asked, meeting my approval instantly.
He took the hat and placed it on top. It was then I could see that I was the model for a Jonathan Small original.
“Well,” he said, a look of uncertainty crossing his face, “What do you think?”
I thought it could never last, but it was beautiful all the same.