It only works with fresh snow. Collect it as it falls or not at all, so the flakes are light as sifted flour, not yet pressed against each other from melting. You will taste the difference. Bring the ingredients outside for mixing—you won’t need much. Half a wine glass worth of liquid, with the milk, sugar, and vanilla already stirred together. Soon it will have the texture you remember, creamy and light, like the dawny clouds overhead, already filling the hole you dug from its white blanket. It tastes like sledding, like watching the local news in pajamas, leaping when you learn school’s closed. Mornings watching cartoons and afternoons in an icy dreamland, with sleds and snowmen, digging to the bottom of snowdrifts to make sure the grass is still there. Mom saying, “Eat it fast, girls,” as she fills two ceramic bowls you painted at a birthday party. It tastes like the gapped-tooth smile that’s always sat beside you for this, licking her spoon. So it’s obvious you added too much sugar, because you’ve only ever made this for two. And suddenly you realize it tastes like a parking lot behind an office in a lonely city, that the paper bowl is leaking and you should have worn gloves. For once, it melts before you finish, but your lunch break is over anyway.
Blake Richardson is a writer based in Washington, D.C. with a background in journalism and an affinity for fiction. Find her on Twitter at @rblakerich_.