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An Ice Crystal

Robert E. Kearns

Above the Arctic Circle a crystal of ice came into being and for three hundred years it hovered in the atmosphere without once bonding to another of its kind.

Day in and out it searched for a partner through the frigid haze except that with each instance he came near to coupling, his potential opposite repelled. After fifty revolutions about the sun he supposed he should never discover a mate; yet what else was he to do?

At a mile in altitude he drifted on air currents, in figures of eight or for an alternative, in patterns of the elliptical, circular or plain irregular. He endeavoured at all shapes and movements – from high to low besides all in between.

Wherever the winds ferried it, he travelled. Regardless, he stayed interior to that zone they term The North Pole. Year after year for that half century he trusted and dreamed but still, the wish never came true. No matter his belief and faith that it endured the destiny of all crystals to match, the situation for him was he stayed alone, isolated and friendless.

In the period that followed he gave up.

“I’ve not wavered until now. I remained of the mind-set that in time and with the passing seasons I’d leave despair behind. Throughout the perpetual darkness of winter I persevered even when it was just starlight that guided me. When the sun again rose in spring, my heart lifted and so, I announced this shall be it.”

“But that pleasant spell transferred to summer and succeed I didn’t. Then, the bright orb began once more its decent and with it set my hopes until it again showed on the horizon. Year upon year this continued and with each of those it dashed my confidence. No longer do I look to the inevitability of a marriage.”

For decades and centuries he prevailed in dormancy; asleep to hide from the wounds of solitude. However, in December of his three hundredth year a sensed disturbance wakened him. A shift had occurred. Where before he lingered in orbit over the ocean, here a force akin to gravity dragged him from that arrangement and shunted him south.

Adrift from home he sailed on thermals where underneath he noticed a flowing sea. A week on and it was land that revealed itself – an island of promise. There he stalled, swirling in a loop where more crystals gathered then bunched together. Soon, they clustered tight – a party of excited dancers in a crowded ballroom.

One caught his eye, but he presumed not to expect. This crystal though, impressed as having liked him too. They skirted around in a waltz and as the tempo sped up; they joined in an embrace - in step and in time with one another.

The wait of forever was over. On Christmas Eve they dropped in a flutter of pure white and this fulfilled the longings of children everywhere to witness a postcard on their doorstep and an outcome to aid Santa Claus with his annual present giving expedition.

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