It was cold and blustery as Alex walked out of the front door with his head down, trying to avoid the snowflakes on his spectacles, and began ambling down the street to work. Snow and sleet were on the pavement, covering what the dogs had done the evening before – a veritable minefield temporarily closed due to weather. The cars had changed colour to become white as had the morning light turning to a lackluster and dull grey.
The snow was falling heavily and he had not prepared for it, the wrong shoes, toes getting increasingly damp. Despite it being a Friday morning, the weekend seemed further away than at the beginning of what had been an arduous week. The tunnel of work was darker in stark contrast to the bleached white all around him.
He looked up to see where he was going and saw a young boy, wearing a furry ushanka, a winter jacket and trousers that were one-year-too-small for him, flapping around his ankles like sails. His father was labouring ahead, the weight of the world on his shoulders. A briefcase and a lunch box in one hand and over his shoulder, his son’s backpack brimming with books. The other hand was struggling to hold a phone to his ear and concentrate on the voice over the airwaves, while trudging closer, day by day, step by step towards retirement.
The father’s discomfort was compounded by his winter hood, protecting him from the elements as well as his phone, resulting in a desperate struggle to get the phone close enough to his ear to hear, his arm extending like a crane that was about to topple over, while the other arm was weighed down by work and lunch. The effect became compounded by the slippery slush and snow that was beginning to fall more heavily making everything rather discombobulated, and his movements marionette-like. A puppet whose strings were being pulled by Love.
The Sailing Skipper was walking behind the Crane, with the snow having an opposite effect… glee framed his face and white cars presented an opportunity: every car would now have a scar running through its new white “paint”, where he had collected the snow, compacted it and hurled it at the Crane. The snowballs were flying through the cold air with unnerving accuracy and hitting his father in the back. Skipping and hurling snowballs, skipping and hurling snowballs. The Sailing Skipper followed the Crane down the street.
Suddenly, Alex forgot the weather and the snow, the minefield and working week. A smile appeared on his face that remained through the day. The Skipping Sailor and the Crane disappeared down another street, and left him with the gift of a memory.