The Christmas Blizzard

The+Christmas+Blizzard

Annika Dauer

“Dear diary,” I mutter to myself as I fumble desperately with the door handle. “Today I got trapped outside during a blizzard, and, like an idiot, I grabbed the safe key instead of the house key, and I can’t call my friend for my emergency key. I can’t get in. This may be the last entry.” The cold wind nips at my fingers, which are slowly losing color. Cursing angrily, I shove them back into my coat and lean against the door.

An hour ago, I had wandered into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had stupidly decided to go out to get more milk. A snowstorm turned up, while I was downtown. This is a disaster… I think numbly. I didn’t even get the milk. It’s Christmas Eve. None of the stores were even open.

I don’t know what to do now. I could probably break a window, but repairs are costly and I wouldn’t be able to get it fixed until after this blasted storm passes. I already tried to pick the lock, but remembering I replaced the mechanism a while back to prevent it I gave up. I left my phone inside as well, so that’s out of the question. I have two choices, both of them bad. I could walk a few meters and knock on my neighbor’s door, but I don’t want to bother them on Christmas Eve, not to mention I can’t stand them. The only other option I can think of is the Hotel two blocks away. They’re still open, I passed the on the way home. I gather what’s left of my half frozen wits and slowly make the trek.

The snow is knee deep on the sidewalk as I trudge in the general direction of the Hotel. Snowflakes cling to my eyelashes, impeding my already poor vision. I’m so cold Antarctica sounds like a warm and exotic vacation. I can see the old bookstore that marks the half way point, which is both exciting and depressing simultaneously. I’ve made it this far, but it feels like I should have already reached the destination by now… Still, I wrap my coat around myself tighter still and keep on moving. The snow pelts my face as the violent wind whips the flakes around. After what feels like forever, I can see the twinkling lights on the outside of the Hotel like stars, and I give one final push toward the entrance. Yanking the door open, I stumble inside the homely interior.

The Hotel is heavily decorated for the holidays. Christmas lights are wrapped around every possible pillar or tree, and there’s a few stray boughs of mistletoe dangling from the lights. The scent of cookies wafts in from the kitchen, but I’m not worried about that. All I see is a warm, crackling fire. I carefully extract myself from my soaked coat and drape it on an empty hanger, then make a beeline for it. Slowly but surely, feeling returns my fingers. I sigh in relief. It’s then I notice a concerned looking employee standing nearby. Faint circles have appeared under her eyes, clashing with the crisp uniform and white purse. I clamber up to my feet.

“Um, hello,” I awkwardly greet her. “I was wondering if I could hide out here until the storm passes? I locked myself out of my house. I only have a ten dollar bill, but I can wash dishes or something if you need. Please?” There’s a beat, then she chuckles.

“How far did you have to go in this weather?” She asks.

“Roughly two blocks,”

“In this weather?”

“Yes ma’am,” I say. The employee shakes her head.

“Call me Rachel,” Rachel gestures to her name tag, then to the fireplace. “You sit tight, I’ll be right back.”

Five minutes later, she returns with a cookies, tea, and a few blankets. I try to hand her what little money I have, but she refuses it.

“It’s Christmas,” She says. “It’s on the house. Stay as long as you need.”

I thanked her profusely as I devour the cookies and tea. She offers me her phone so I can call my friend, who tells me she put it in her mailbox for me. In hindsight, my friend probably would have let me stay the night. She lives a few doors down from me, right next to the bookstore. I figure it’s for the best that I stay here, though. Her parents are over, and I don’t want to intrude.

I don’t know when I fell asleep, but I woke at about three o’clock in the morning. The lobby was a ghost town, and the fire had nearly gone out. A glance out the window tells me the snow has stopped and the streets plowed, so I can safely make it to my friend’s house to collect her key. Rachel must’ve gone into the break room, leaving her purse on the counter. Quietly, I folded the blankets and piled up the glassware. As I put on my coat, I finally remembered the emergency cash. Maybe this isn’t an emergency, but I can’t think of a better use of the cash. There’s a notepad and pen on the counter, so I write a small note:

Rachel,

Thank you for your wonderful hospitality. I know you said

“On the house”, but this is my little Christmas gift to you.

Thank you for everything, and have a great Christmas!

Entirely satisfied, I fold a fifty dollar bill in with the note, slip it into her purse, and start the long walk home.