The cold makes everything stiff, catching.
Your breath hitches with the air sliced thin inside your throat. Air that feels polished-clean. Shockingly pure. You blink up at the blue jigsaw pieces carved between the trees.
The snow makes everything beautiful.
The branches glitter, jaggedly defined. Road, gutter, pavement, park – they’re all the same this morning. All of them sparkling. Smothered.
You lick your chapped lips. You swallow. And you remember how the sky used to taste when you were little, when you stepped off the bus into the twilight on your way home from school. You remember the deepening shadows and the gold at the windows, and even the creak of your footfalls feels just right. Gorgeous and secretive, but with those cut-glass edges…
Except today, hidden at the heart of it all, there is your phone.
Clenched inside your pocket, between your fingerless gloves and the silky lining, it’s the only warm thing about you. A single strange defence against all the white and splintered silver. Against that sheer, sharp, threaded blue.
The phone’s warmth remains tiny beside the dazzle. And yet it keeps you walking, and it keeps you smiling. Shimmering back at the eye-bright day.
Especially as now, it begins to ring.
Vibrating against your marching thigh, your bitten nails. You dab your thumb to the screen as you lift it slowly, as if casually, to your icy face. But your smile gives you away. It’s already widening, opening. Anticipating that rich, hushed voice, pushing softly through the cold.