Of Scarves and Snow Days


I nestled into the depression I made in the snow bank by the side of the road, knees pulled up to my chest as I waited for the school bus. I knew it was late, but it was snowing a whole lot like yesterday, so maybe the bus was cancelled again. Still, I waited. Warm in my pink snow suit and new boots with my fingers picking at the loose thread on the mittens Grandma made me, I didn’t mind. I was the only one in the whole fifth grade who had matching rainbow mitts, hat, and scarf. I couldn’t figure out how to keep my breath from freezing my eyelashes, though.

“Hey kid, do you want a ride?” I hadn’t heard the sound of Daddy’s big gold truck pulling up, but he was leaning past the passenger seat to look over the snow bank at me. His newly-shaven head was covered with a dark blue hat, but I could always recognize him by his big square glasses and his rumbling voice. He smiled under his thick moustache and waved me over. I jumped up and stumbled to open the car door and slide in.

“Were buses cancelled again?” I had to pull down my scarf to ask, as I buckled my seat belt.

“Yep. So you’re not going to school today, there’s no point. You want to come to chemo with me?” He reached over and squeezed either side of my kneecap with the hands of a giant, making me squeal and bat his hand away while he chuckled.

“Yeah, let’s go, but promise no tickling!”

I loved snow days. I got to spend the whole day with Daddy again, and we’d probably go to KFC if I was good, but first we had to go to the hospital. I didn’t mind the hospital; I kind of liked it, actually. The room Daddy went to only ever had a couple people in it, and there was always something to do. They had books and a huge TV and chairs that spun. The only thing I didn’t like was how people looked at me on our way in to the room. Like they knew something that I didn’t.

I had been to the chemo room twice before. Once with my brother and sister, and another time, on my own with Daddy. The first time was right after Mom and Daddy told us that Daddy was sick. I cried, but just the one time. Mommy said it was OK to cry, but I didn’t want to anymore. The note I brought to school made my teacher cry and hug me. It was weird.

When we got to the chemo room, Daddy got to sit in one of the biggest, comfiest-looking chairs they had. I looked around at all the other chairs while the nurse bent over Daddy’s arm to put the needle in. I made sure to watch so that nurse wouldn’t be mean like last one and bruise him again. Last time they bruised him so bad that it crept down halfway to his wrist and up past his t-shirt sleeve. Satisfied that he was okay, I found the fastest-spinning chair. I zoomed back and forth along the chemo room, making sure not to hit anybody. There was a lady with the needle going into her chest and a scarf on her head that smiled at me. I pushed myself back over to Daddy.