He hadn’t been expecting anyone and with the roads all blocked by several inches of new-fallen snow he didn’t know who could have come to the front door. Jon lived some distance from the nearest neighbor. He appreciated the quiet. Nevertheless, Jon went to the door. It opened onto the snow-dusted form of a woman, bundled in a puffy marshmallow of a white winter coat from which popped a scarlet scarf and black earmuffs that didn’t match the rest of the ensemble. Suzanne had moved to the neighborhood not long ago. A grown woman with streaks of white already in her blond hair, masking some of the snowflakes, Suzanne beamed now with her cheeks blushed by the cold like a child of seven. “You,” she said without preamble, “have lived her a long while.”
“Yes,” Jon confirmed.
“Where is the best place to go sledding?”
“Sledding?” He hadn’t been sledding in years. High school had ended and college had begun and work had counted the hours between classes and study. Friends had moved away. The rare winter snowfall had become a time for rest or a time to catch up on what hadn’t been finished the day before. Still, the elementary age delight in the snowfall had remained in traditions like putting a spoon beneath his pillow and wearing his pajamas inside out as he’d done the night before, the subtle childlike rituals that could be easily hidden from a world demanding a scripted adulthood.
“Yes. Sledding. And have you got a sled?”
Did he? He looked past her at the snowflurry beyond the porch. “There might be one in the shed.”
“Perfect. Get it. Get dressed. Take me sledding.”