Jasmin's Prompt:

Internal chill. Melting water.

How has frost entered you? How have you embodied ice?

Respond to the prompt in poetry or prose.

Writer: Y Nhi Ngo

Instagram: @ynhistagram

Y Nhi Ngo is a college student who has always enjoyed writing, and uses it as a medium to express herself. Inspired by the little things in life, there is never a dull moment, especially when there is a pen in her hand or a keyboard laid out in front of her.

the origin of a star

Stories long gone, people who’ve went far, tongues that have tasted water and ice sometimes never make it to the star. Though footprints remain, and even a story of origin, no matter how long ago, is worth telling.

 

You see I never knew ice. I was born in a land where the sun scorches the earth, only allowing the monsoon rain to revive it when the time comes. I ran underneath the sun, drenched in sweat or soaked with rain. I didn’t know ice. I didn’t know how it fell from the sky or how it refused to melt into the ground for months on end. This heat, this rain-- they were gracious, too. They took my mind off of the chill within my home, to someplace polar opposite to the harshness of the words thrown like daggers between people who are supposed to be warmth. Distracted by the contesting of the temperatures, I could say then, that I didn’t know ice.

 

Stories are carried by storytellers, and storytellers have their origins to share. Be it the sun or be it the rain that weren’t satisfied with my rapture, I traversed across the seas to a place that saw the four seasons come and go like a never-ending story. When I went, I flew, and when I arrived, I landed. With my eyes open wide, the frost greeted me and tickled my nose. Snow was a thing of wonder. Enchanting. But where did my Sun go?

 

Without the sun, all I had was frost, all I had was chill. Outside of me, and in me and all around me. I felt freeze while running my fingers through the soft tendrils of my black hair, and biting ice was the eyes looking back at me in the darkened windows of a school bus. It laid underneath my tongue, frozen with a language I did not know, and it slept deep in my ears, numbing me from words meant to paralyze my soul. If I breathed into the air, I would now see fog. Can I say now, that I knew ice?

 

Lovely as it was, I never yearned to burn as the sun burned. I didn’t want to melt as ice melted and I didn’t want to freeze to be something harder and colder than stone.

 

“Be stronger than what you fear or learn to hide between its legs.”

 

The ending approaching was neither tragic nor joyous, but it was one that I chose. So away I went: to sleep and to slumber in a coffin of ice, an encasing prison of my own making.

 

Not so unlike a sleeping princess, not so unlike a grizzly bear, not so unlike a restful dragon. My storybook ordained that I was not be unearthed until the time was right. Not until the stars aligned and my heart beat a fast pulse of life will I awake. Without needing the sun nor the chill as protection, not until I yearned to live the way I was kept alive by forces not even I knew desperately clutched onto my soul-- wishing for me to become the star of a galaxy they never could reach.

 

Stories travel and stories unravel. The hot and the cold coexisted with each other everyday. In the wind blowing pass soft, sunburned sand, and in the glowing bonfire as snow fluttered all around it. As the ice melts around my body, once a prison, once a coffin, morning dew greets my bare soles once again, inviting in something fresh, something alive. As the time came something came back. Something like me, just as I had chosen.

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