Monday, March 28, 2011

Story-A-Day #137: Warm Up


She walked through the park, dry leaves and ice crunching under her big winter boots. The world as she liked it was slowly returning, no longer a winter wonderland. She didn’t like the stale purity of winter. Earthy browns and greens were far more appealing.

She crossed the faded red footbridge and continued along the path, carefully skirting around the larger pools of melting snow.

A murder of crows heckled from their perch in the upper limbs of a claw-shaped birch. She smiled at them, knowing that the best way to deflect their attentions was to face them head on. They fell into a predictably muted silence, their beady, black eyes following her passage with innate curiosity.

She veered off the path and cut across the field of muddy snow to the meandering creek. She walked along the muddy banks where she paused for a moment to listen to the soft gurgle of the water as it rolled through open patches in the ice. It was a soothing sound, and it took her back to her childhood when she would float her little rubber ducky down this same length of creek.

With a quick glance at her watch, she carried on, a renewed haste in her step. One of the most unfortunate side effects of the Spring thaw was that it became difficult to concentrate and prioritize. There were always things to do and places to be, but being outside and feeling the returning warmth of the sun on your face became the bigger priority.

She crossed under the big archway that marked the rear entry to the park and wandered up the street to the nearby shopping plaza. The sound of passing cars, tires hissing through puddles, grew louder and she actually found herself feeling relived to be in off the streets.

She shrugged out of her jacket and boots and before long, had take up position behind the gleaming stainless steel counter.

“Can I help you?” She asked a 20-something-year-old man in shorts and sandals.

“Two scoops of chocolate,” he replied.

She smiled and grabbed a cone from the counter behind her, loading in two heaping scoops of ice cream. Everyone had different ways of celebrating the warmer weather. Some people chose to dress down for the day, even though it wasn’t quite shorts weather yet, and other preferred to admire the returning signs of life.

At the end of the day, neither approach was wrong. Everyone had a different way to warm up for summer.

The good news was that the tedium of spending an entire winter in an ice cream parlour was coming to a close. Business would be booming in no time and she could put the lean, clean months behind.

There is always a bright side. This was hers. Like the leaves of autumn, the ice was slowly melting from around her...

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