Old Man Winter. Jokul Frosti. Father Frost. Spirit of Winter.
Jack Frost is standing before you. The spirit of myth upon myth is in your living room, staring happily at you, arms crossed.
He’s not just a myth after all, you think to yourself. There’s no way this is a hallucination. No amount of rubbing your eyes and blinking can make this go away. You pinch yourself. This is real. You begin to feel lightheaded and slink down to the floor, sitting Indian-style and staring at the carpet.
The fantasy from your books that you always get lost in has finally come to be a reality. You’re in your own fiction story, now.
It’s not nearly how you had expected it to be. In fact, you never expected your wishes for a fantasy-filled adventure of your own to be fulfilled. You’d imagined it, but always knew that it was impossible and would never happen.
And yet, fantasy embodied was standing a few feet from you.
“You said,” you choke out, “you never thought anyone would be able to see you.” You raise your eyes to him. “Why can’t people see you? And why can I?”
A sad smile replaces the happier one. “You see, people…spirits…like me, we can’t be seen unless someone believes in us.” He looks over at the fire, which pops in sympathy. “I’ve been around for a very, very long time. Close to 300 years, I’d say. And let me tell you, I’ve tried everything in the books to try to get people to believe that I exist. But nobody saw me, not even the children, who usually believe in all the characters of fantasy…y’know, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy.” He lightly pats the nearby tray as if fending off feelings from surfacing. “Nobody believes in Jack Frost.” He sighs, then turns his bright blue gaze to you once again. “Until you. And people your age aren't even supposed to believe in people like me.”
You ignore his last comment. Almost 300 years, huh? That explains the clothes.
“Hold on a second,” you say, putting your elbows on your thighs and leaning forward. “You’re saying I can see you…because I believe in you? That you exist?”
He nods, the cheery look returning to his eyes. He points at you momentarily, hand bouncing from the point back to his side in a split second. “Exactly.” He turns around and begins striding around the room like he owns the place, inspecting each element.
You hold up a hand. “Wait, wait, wait. That’s impossible! I didn’t believe in you. I kept writing you off as some prankster or hallucination. I didn’t…not that I can…” you trail off. He looks briefly back at you, smirking.
“Well, you must have, at least for a few moments.”
You remember wishing to be able to thank someone for the winter and all the beauty that comes with it.
And associating the little snowflake with Jack Frost as you sung “The Christmas Song.”
You realize that you believed in Jack Frost strongly enough, just for a few moments, to be able to hear him and see him perched on his staff out on your porch.
And scare him so badly that he knocked himself unconscious.
You smile a little at remembering that. He must have been as surprised as you. Imagine, going invisible and unseen for hundreds of years for someone to suddenly be able to see you, and yell at you at that.
Anybody would have been caught off-guard.
“H-hey, what’re you smiling at?” he asks, laughing ever so slightly and his eyebrow raised.
“Hmm? Oh, nothing, nothing.” You get up and take a seat on the couch, putting a cushion or two back before you do so. It’s still a bit cold from his abnormal body temperature. “Why was I able to hear you those times before? Like you laughing and saying you’d see me later. I really didn’t believe in you then.”
He shrugs. “You must have. Not completely, otherwise you would have seen me. Probably a subconscious thing.”
You sink back into the couch. Makes sense, you determine. I’ve always kind of believed in legends and stuff. I do have a pretty active imagination, too. So I guess I believed in the possibility of Jack Frost being real…just enough for me to hear him.
Jack puts the other couch cushions back, mumbling an almost-inaudible apology. He swings around and takes a seat beside you, behind the tray of food. He takes a look at it. The soup is still emitting a bit of steam. He looks inquisitively at you. “This for me?”
You nod, smiling. “Yeah, I thought you had frostbite.”
He laughs. “Good one! Jack Frost, having frostbite.” He gives you a very apologetic look. “I’m sorry, it looks great, but I can’t eat this.”
“Huh? Why not?”
“It’ll just turn cold and freeze. I’ll touch the spoon, and it’ll freeze solid to it. Touch the bowl and, well, same result but with the entire bowl.” He catches the concern in your eye. “D-don’t worry though! I don’t need to eat. I’m immortal, after all.” He smiles, hoping to get you to do the same, which you do. You can’t seem to help yourself. He’s just so carefree and…fun.
“Aha!” He exclaims, causing you to jump. “There it is!” He gets up from the couch, seeming to forget completely about you, the one person in the entire world that can see and hear him.
You follow him with your eyes to the corner where you put his staff.
“Good to see ya, old friend.” He turns back to you, grinning mischievously from ear to ear. The fire dances in excitement, illuminating the frost on his vest and pants. “Now we’re going to have some real fun. I’m going to teach you all about Jack Frost.”
A twang of fear courses through your body. There’s more to the myths? you wonder. The fear is quickly replaced with a sense of adventure. You stand up from the couch. He reaches for his staff.
Oh man, what am I getting myself into?