Snowflakes of Love

By Linda Muhlestein

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    When I got home from school, Jerry was sitting on the living room floor, cutting pink tissue-paper snowflakes. “Hey!” I said as we slapped hands in our usual greeting. “How’s it going?”

    Jerry held up his hand for me to examine. “Blisters?” I asked, not really surprised. “I’ve been cutting all day,” he said. “Do you think I have enough?” He held up a thick stack of snowflakes.

    “It looks like you have enough there to decorate the gym for the grand ball,” I said. I guess Jerry’s a little young to appreciate my sense of humor. Every time I say anything funny, he just looks at me with his big brown eyes as though I’d just said something profound that he should store away for later use.

    I snickered, not really sure if I was laughing at Jerry’s gullibility or at my desire to tease him. I tease Jerry a lot, I guess. It’s pretty easy to do because he’s so serious and so believing.

    Jerry had been cutting snowflakes almost steadily since Sunday morning. Mom had given him the idea and the pink tissue paper. She had explained to him that even though it wasn’t white, it would be easier to cut through ten layers of tissue paper than typing paper.

    “Besides,” I had added, “just think what the world would be like if it snowed pink snow.” Jerry’s eyes got that trusting, faraway look in them as I continued: “Pink lakes, pink trees, pink oceans. …”

    Mom gave me a warning look, and I shrugged my shoulders as if to say, “Hey, I can’t help it if he believes everything that I say.”

    Jerry had immediately made five snowflakes, and everybody made quite a fuss over them. They were pretty good snowflakes, considering that they were cut by a five-year-old with kindergarten scissors. I even told him that I thought they were pretty neat. But Mom added the clincher. “What beautiful snowflakes, Jerry—snowflakes of love.”

    Well, you could just see the gears turning in Jerry’s head. He spent the rest of the morning cutting snowflakes. He took them to church and gave them to everyone—the bishop, the ward clerk, his Primary teacher, his classmates, the organist. I think that Jerry was trying to make his own personal pink snowstorm with his snowflakes of love.

    He didn’t stop with those, though. He kept at it the next day. I even pretended patient indifference when my good buddies, Mark and Wayne, came over to play basketball and Jerry presented each of them with three pink snowflakes.

    They looked at me, hoping for a logical explanation for the gift. “It’s his contribution to world peace and brotherly love,” I explained and went in for a perfect lay-up. The guys were nice about it and folded their snowflakes and put them deep into their pockets.

    After family home evening, while I pondered some math problems in our room, Jerry was still cutting snowflakes. When I caught him watching me, he’d just smile and keep on cutting. I’d chuckle and nod and go back to calculating. I didn’t think any more about it until the next day.

    The morning hadn’t gone well at all. I had hit the snooze button on my alarm one too many times, and I was going to be late for school. I grabbed my books and folder and bounded down the stairs, trying to put on my jacket as I went. Jerry was sitting at his usual spot at the kitchen table. “Hi, Jer,” I mumbled as I shoved some scrambled eggs into my mouth.

    “I made a surprise for you,” he said.

    “Great!” I said, grabbing a piece of toast and heading for the door.

    I ran the two blocks to school and hit the front door just as the second bell sounded. I dashed down the hall, opened the door to my first-period history class, and in one gliding motion threw my books onto the desk and slid in behind them. But the books didn’t stop. I grabbed for them, but they sailed on out of my reach and across the aisle, bumped against the opposite desk, and flew in every direction. Fifty-four eyes were riveted on my folder as it flew open and released a pink snowstorm of pastel, tissue-paper snowflakes.

    The air currents from the heat vent sent the snowflakes sailing into the air. Everyone watched as they twisted and turned and fluttered down to cover the floor like a soft, pink blanket. I watched in a trance until the last snowflake had fallen. Suddenly, Jerry’s words registered in my mind: “I made a surprise for you.”

    All eyes in the classroom were focused on me, waiting for the explanation that they felt they deserved. What could I say? I threw open my arms in a gesture of helplessness and admitted to the world, “My little brother loves me.”

    And as I bent to gather each gift of love, my heart sang out, “I love you, too, Jer.”

    Illustrated by Lily Toy Hong