The grey wool coat clung to Harrison’s shoulders like a child to its mother. The first snow of the year was falling lightly through the brisk winter air as the last lights of the day arced over the horizon. It was his favorite time of the year.
In addition to his coat, Harrison had bundled himself in three blankets that draped from his neck down past the bottoms of his feet. Still, the cold had set in, and he felt it shiver through him in spite of his attempts at warmth. Up at his mountain house, the temperatures were half what they were down below, and even there the lakes had turned to ice. Still, the view of the pines daunted the grey city buildings he live for day in and day out. Their calm, cool whistle sounded to him like the voice of his grandparents, calling out to him from decades past.
The house had once been their house—though when they owned it, it had been more a shack than the manse he had built it into. The lawyers of the estate sale gave it up for less than a hundred thousand—a good price, but likely not much less than it was actually worth. The first year he had owned it, the roof gave out under the heavy winter snow, and he had had to bring in a work crew to fix it in the spring.
The memory of it brought a smile to Harrison’s face. It was bitter sweet to think of his grandparents, even all these years later. He had broken down crying that first year, after pushing his mourning to the back of his mind for work.
He lifted an arm out of his bundles, and reached for the Earl Grey tea he had brought out with him. It had been boiling when he brought it out, but the cold had swept the heat from the mug, and it hardly qualified as lukewarm now. The cold made the honey he had mixed in stronger, and for a minute he wondered if he had added a second spoonful by accident. He poured the rest of the tea onto the deck, though it simply painted the piling snow a grey-black color.
It was Harrison’s favorite time of year because the sunsets up the mountain turned the sky into a shimmer of yellow-orange diamonds. The light reflected through the snow, bouncing every which way, and from where he sat it looked like the stars had settled above the trees. In all his exotic business trips, he had never seen a snowfall to match the first of those up on the mountain. Eventually, the snowfall would grow thick, and even the highs of the day would become so cold that they would threaten a person if they stayed outside for more than a few minutes, but tonight it was still warm enough that Harrison could stay to see if the moon would be full or not.
He lost track of the days up here. Somewhere inside, his phone was waiting with an alert that would break the silence of his weeks off, and let him know he had to leave the next day, but for the life of him he couldn’t tell you where it was. All he could see were the snowflakes floating across the skyline, and the whispers of a long gone youthful innocence.
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