I love winter because it makes me feel small. Not in the fragile, insignificant way like thunderstorms or ocean waves make me feel small. But still small, wispy, like if I put on enough long sleeves and socks I could crawl under a blanket and dissapear for hours, existing only enough to blow the steam off frothy hot chocolate or breathe on my tingly fingers. It makes me feel like a little kid, just because of the cold. It's all excitement and magic; the air is so dead it's alive and it transforms every square inch of you into something giddy and surreal. Then you fall asleep with the contentment of warm on your scrunched-up body and the edge of cold on your face form the pillow.

I remember staring up at the ceiling as a little kid, looking at the little speckles on the plastered paint. I used to squint up my eyes and pretend that the running-together lines made up a map, leading past the smoke alarm and around the air vent and out the corner of the window. I could never see the end but I knew X marked not treasure, really, but somewhere far away with snow and naked trees and maybe even fairies, if I was lucky.

Then when I got a little older the specks stopped being a map and started being stars. I don't know which one's more grown-up, really.

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