I started this Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge in plenty of time to finish on schedule - the following Friday - and then, well, Christmas happened. And now, even though it is after Christmas, everyone is home and I am lucky to have gotten on the computer long enough to get this posted! Fortunately, I had most of this piece written before I got sidetracked, so I can make the most of the few minutes I have before everyone come rushing back in, demanding hot chocolate. I'll be writing more once school starts again.
Walking in the Park on a Snowy Evening
I love this picture. I'm a northern ice maiden - make that ice matron now, actually - so I know this kind of scene very well. Just looking at this picture makes me feel the bite of the air, the way the snow feels underfoot. the way it sounds - the wet spot on the seat of your pants if you don't make sure to brush the bench off before you sit down.
In fact, I was so into the tactile nature of the scene that I had a hard time thinking about what was happening here beyond a simple walk in the snow.
Sitting on a bench in the snow was the kind of thing that looked really romantic in the movies, but in real life only left you with a wet patootie. An experienced Montanan, Katy ignored the tempting seat and kept walking. Besides, the movement would help her work out her frustration.
It was kind of late for a walk, but hardly dangerous. Not in this cold weather. There weren't even any animal tracks in the snow. She was the first person to cross the park since the snow had stopped an hour ago, and the fluffy white clumps were as perfect as the first snowfall must have been.
And quiet. Oh, how quiet it was at this time of night. The only sound was the crunch of the snow beneath her feet, condensing the snow beneath her with each stride. She turned around and walked backward a few steps admiring the way each footfall left the perfect imprint of the tread of her boots before trailing into a scuff from her trailing toes as she took each step forward. Her backward walking tracks were not so neatly formed; she dragged her feet more, leaving an abrasion across the snow's surface between her tracks.
She felt the tension seep out of her muscles as the quiet leeched the noise of the last few days out of her head. She loved her family, but her apartment was just too small for this much togetherness. There was barely room for everyone to visit for a single evening. Three days of Christmas cheer had turned into Christmas bickering instead.
She lifted her head and took a deep breath, tasting the ice crystals briefly before tucking her chin back into the collar of her coat and tugging her scarf back up to cover her mouth and nose. She'd come far enough. It was time to get back home. Everyone would be leaving tomorrow. She could hold out for a few more hours. And next year, she'd insist on having Christmas somewhere else.