The snow felt as if it were erupting from inside of her, piling up into an avalanche that would overtake the world, crush even the white light of the day.
Why was this threatening the whole world? It was just a separation of the two of them, not more than a heartbeat skipping. Jimmy had not died; he had merely left and there was a hole. She needed to sew up the hole. She needed to tramp along on snowshoes, move toward the mountain and beyond it. She belted her coat more tightly around her waist. The snow crunched beneath her feet; the air cracked open and whistled.
She couldn’t get the song out of her head: she couldn’t remember it entirely, but it wouldn’t leave. “Frosty the Snowman.” When she was a child the lilting tune about a snowman coming to life frightened her.
She sat down on a paint-scabbed bench and drank water from the bottle she had carried out of the kitchen. She hoped it would not make more snow. She turned her gaze back to the warehouse that used to be their school: St. Christopher was where they met when Jimmy transferred there in eighth grade. He chivalrously offered to lift her across an ice-patch once. She was taller and said she should carry him. As they slid along the ice, they slipped and fell and laughed. Jimmy was her darling.
Jimmy carried her books, brought her a daisy, built a snowman with her. He used a shard from a broken phonograph record for a nose, acorns for eyes, with two dried leaves at the corners, so that the snowman seemed to be weeping. There was no mouth. Jimmy said this snowman would be quiet. She joked that it could sing through its nose.
Above her a helicopter, its engine roaring, flew to the hospital across town. The roar made her head spin. She covered her ears until the helicopter disappeared.
She stood up from the bench and trudged to the corner. The intersection was slippery. She’d asked him if there was someone else. He said no, he wished there was, he was unhappy, that’s all. He was leaving Minneapolis for a job in Seattle, and she should not come with him. She had, in her bones, known about this for a long time. She shivered.
A teenager with ear buds walked by. His hands were in his pockets. He was listening to “Frosty the Snowman,” she was sure of it. Car tires squealed around the corner. Nobody was hit.
On the other side of the warehouse was a lopsided snowman, with sticks for arms and a carrot for a nose and coal eyes. This snowman had a line of pebbles for a mouth, but he did not talk to her. He laughed.
She threw water at him. But he did not melt.
Cezarija Abartis‘s Nice Girls and Other Stories was published by New Rivers Press. Her stories have appeared in Foundling Review, Underground Voices, Waccamaw, and New York Tyrant, among others. One of her flashes was included in Wigleaf‘s Top 50 list of flash fiction of 2011. Recently she completed a novel, a thriller. She teaches at St. Cloud State University.