Meeting in Winter

January night. 1 am. Metropolitan suburbs.

Large snowflakes are slowly descending from the sky. Both the sidewalk and the road have disappeared under the layer of snow hours ago. Same for the cars parked along the street. A little morning adventure waiting for the inhabitants of the surrounding concrete panel houses on their way to work. But that’s ages away. Now – almost all the windows are dark.

The cab passing by marks traces in the snow. The car stops in front of one of the blocks. After twenty seconds, its back door opens and a tall man emerges. He’s wearing a long black coat, black leather shoes and dark blue jeans. He closes the door and before turning away, he gives the cab two pats on the roof.

The taxi accelerates and disappears behind the corner. The man in the black coat takes a look around. At first sight you would say that the taxi dropped him off in a wrong place. It’s definitely his first time in this area. I’m here, he types on his phone, making his fingers savor the freezing night. A few snowflakes land on the glass. His sight stays fixed on the conversation. Ten seconds. No answer. Twenty seconds. No answer.

“Maybe she’s just in the shower and she hasn’t noticed the message”, he thinks. He puts the phone back into the pocket of his trousers and pulls on a pair of black leather gloves. Stretch the fingers, clench the fists. Stretch the fingers, clench the fists. Once more. On his right hand side, a sound of an engine in the distance. He turns in that direction and… Bang! A hit in his head from behind followed by a freezing sensation on the back of his neck. A snowball. He turns around, but just to get another hit – this time in his chin. He rises his left hand to protect his face from any additional snow projectiles. With his right he wipes the snow from his eyes and off his hair. He realizes a line of parked cars is just a few meters away from him. Five quick strides and he hides behind the closest one.

“Hey”, he shouts at the attacker. From the direction where the snowballs came, he hears a giggle. “You’re late!”, she shouts at him. He takes a better look. She must be hiding behind that tree that’s too thick to be here. He spots her face for the first time as she throws another snowball at him. He ducks. The snowball makes a crater in the fresh snow on the road behind him.

“This must stop”, he whispers to himself. Hidden behind the parked Škoda Octavia he’s safe. It feels almost like at home. There is no hurry now. He pulls off his gloves and puts them in his pockets. He makes a snowball. Second one. Third. He raises his head and calculates the shortest safe route towards her. There it is – along the street behind the cars, turn right behind the white van. Three, two – hollow sound as the Octavia gets a direct snowball hit – now! He spurts along the street.

He turns right behind the van, crosses the sidewalk and gets on the grass. He makes a random attempt with one of his snowballs, just as she looks from behind the tree – and she gets a hit into her shoulder. “I’m hit, I’m hit!”, she cries out – and slowly walks from her hiding, both hands raised above her head and an innocent smile on her face. She probably thinks that smile will save her from his revenge. She’s gravely mistaken.

When he’s just a few steps away from her, he slows down. She walks fast towards him, jumps, throws her hands around his neck, her legs around his waist. “I missed you”, she says, smiles and looks him in the eyes. He does not speak. He’s smiling quietly, his right hand now holding her around her back. Her thighs still around his waist, without a word, he kneels, tightens the grip in his right hand and falls forward into the snow, her back first. “Hey, are you crazy, I’ll be all wet!”, she says, giggling. He, still quiet, light smile on his face, grabs her wrists with each of his hands and connects them above her head. Then he takes both her wrists into his left hand and presses to the ground. Now she’s quiet too. Just her eyes are asking: “What’s your plan, boy?”

He dives his right hand into the snow. When she gets what is about to happen, she tries to wrestle. But he’s too heavy. He feels the pressure from her hands and her thighs. A desperate attempt. His right hand full of snow is now above her face. Slowly, he changes the angle – and snow starts pouring from his hand onto her hair, forehead, and nose. The first snowflakes melt in the moment they touch her soft white skin. Her expression is not entertained anymore. It’s furious. He keeps turning his hand, until all the snow that remained lands on her face.

“I missed you too,” he says.

He releases the grip in his left hand and puts his right under her head. With her hands free, she starts punching his shoulders. But already with the third one, the punches start losing force. He gets closer – and presses his lips against hers. The sensation sparks a flash in front of his eyes. As if the whole moment was not completely real, her hands in his hair and her thights pressing against his waist appear to be somewhere in the distance.

“It’s been a long time”, he says.

“It’s been a long time.”

For another moment, it’s silence that fills the air of the winter night. A silence that says more than a million words.

Suddenly – she pushes him away.

“Do you want to spend the rest of the night in the snow – or are we finally going inside?”

Featured image by Jack Amick, taken from Flickr, under Creative Commons licence.

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