The falling of white snow on the ashen ground, like silver glitter being sprinkled on paper, giving the winter life and making familiar streets a canvas for dreams. Quiet poetry forms in my soul, the warmth within bringing crystalline joy. Every tiny, sculpted snowflake, unique and worth a thousand smiles, a billion more uniting over the earth. It is the season when puddles turn to icy rinks, sparkling brightly upon the falling of rays of the brightest star in the sky, the season where one can see their breath rise as neat and pure vapor, the season where things seem almost magical and utopian. One cannot capture all the beauty of these tiny little treasures, solely in a photograph.
Oh, such is the beauty of winter!
This beautiful season is one that lifts every part of what I am. I ask the icy wind to bring me to higher senses, to wake within a part which rested in the easy summer days.
Taken over by this energy-surge, I don't pay attention to the ditch a few meters away, as my Sedan glides into it. I let out an ear-splitting scream, the hair on my body rising because of the harsh cold air contacting with my skin. Losing consciousness, I breathe out the last call for help as my eyes droop, black dots covering them.
Oh, so harsh winter! Bitter and cold. Is only the good of you too much to ask for? Or do you too have two sides, just like everything in this big wide world?
Through shadow and light appearing the same, I prayed for someone to help me, to listen to my pleas.
I could feel myself slowly come back to the land of the living. Burying my face deeper into the pillow, I sighed, releasing any worries. It felt like I was sleeping on a cloud. The darkness consuming me, however, could still fool anyone. I tried to lift my eyelids, wincing from the sudden bright light hitting my eyes.
What in the world-?! Where was I?!
My eyes met with a wooden ceiling, floral designs carved on the wood, a chandelier, which had been crafted from a storm-felled tree, found new life in the wooden cabin.
As I looked around, my eyes met with a striking pair of stormy grey eyes, flecks of blue light performed ballets throughout. He had the kind of face that stopped you in your tracks. I guess he must get used to that, the sudden pause in a person's natural expression when they looked his way followed by overcompensating with a nonchalant gaze and a weak smile. He had tousled dark brown hair, which was thick and lustrous. His face was strong and defined, features molded from granite. He had dark eyebrows, which sloped downwards in a serious expression.
The room gives away his bachelorhood. Everything is functional. The mantle is where he puts his keys and garage door opener. On the coffee table is a first-aid kit. Under the small eating table is a pack of beer. I'm guessing that the small cabinet holds meals for one and he has more clothes in his laundry basket than in his closet. He's not hopeless though, he clearly knows how to use the kitchen, which was small, but super tidy. He's never decorated, that's for sure.
"How are you feeling?", he asked. I sensed a bit of an accent. Russian maybe?
I tried to respond, but only a hoarse squeak came out. Clearing my throat, I winced as the motion scratched and pulled. “Uh...Where am I? Who are you?”
"I was walking down the main road. Heard a scream. I ran down to see your car in a ditch, and you were freezing cold. We don't have a hospital here, and the main hospital is in the city, a few miles away. That would have taken far too long. But, the neighborhood doctor came to aid. You were down for seventy-two hours. So, I'll ask again, how are you feeling now?"
"Cold? I feel cold."
I looked to my right to see extra blankets and pillows spread out on the floor. I assumed he was sleeping there, while I took over his bed.
"You've been sleeping on the floor?"
"Yes.", he smiled. "I didn't think you would like to wake up with a completely unknown man beside you. But, then again, to each one their own."
I stared at him momentarily and then continued. "Where is all of my stuff? "
"Your car's completely wrecked. Your phone's broken. It wouldn't have worked here anyway. We don't have a signal or electricity. And, you shouldn't leave the bed for a day or two more. Your leg is still healing." He said, giving me a bowl of hot soup and increasing the temperature of the heater.
"What?! No! I have to leave! I can't sit around here! I need to-", I started panicking.
"About that,", he interrupted, "you can't leave for the next few days. We have a blizzard coming around in a while. The road will be blocked. Plus, a thank you would have sufficed. And I promise I'm not that bad of a roommate.", he gave me a lopsided grin.
I thanked him quietly. A complete stranger has done so much for me, and here I was, complaining.
I took a sip of the warm soup.
Upon hearing the clearing of a throat, I halted.
"How's the soup? The doctor advised to mix a little bit of medicine in it.", he grinned.
"It's bitter.", I said, trying to get the taste off my tongue.
I sighed softly and looked outside the window, as we sat in comfortable silence, watching the snow dance in the light, a choreographed ballet conducted by the gentle wind. Paradise on Earth. Mesmerizing. The newly clothed trees rose, white fairytale began in that wintry landscape.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?"
I turned to look at him watching the snow with the same glee in his eyes.
"Yeah...You have done so much for me, and I don't even know your name, or what you do.", I chuckled softly.
"That's alright.", his eyes met mine. His eyes always took me off-guard. Anyone could get lost in that beautiful storm. "I am Sergei. I was in the Army. And now I just live here, and help the rangers, doing odd jobs for them. And then I met you. But it would have been good if we met in better conditions. I am not complaining though. It's been a while since I had company."
"Wow, hold up. Why do you say "working with the Army" as if you grew potatoes? It's a big thing, right?.", I smiled at him, only to notice his lips in a thin line.
He remained silent, so I took that as a cue to change the topic. "Sorry", I muttered. "Anyways, I am Audrey and I am an investment banker."
"Investment Banker?" He laughed. "You don't look like an investment banker. No offense."
"You shouldn't judge a book by its cover.", I smirked and continued. "What do I look like then? Don't you dare hit me with those lame replies like 'a human' ." I pointed a finger at him.
"I don't know. Anything, but a banker. You look more of those strong business personalities kind of people. Loud, but in a good way."
I smiled slightly as I looked out of the window.
Though the land was a shiver of white and the stars felt more distant in the coldness of winter, sunsets came in the kind of oranges that bring warmth to eyes and soul. It blossomed in the sky and shone her colors onto the land. This ethereal beauty came to the sky as if God's holy-fire was dancing to the beat of a warm Latin song.
"Do you always have beautiful sights like this?", I asked.
"Yeah. One of the reasons I'll never get bored of this place.", he said, whilst looking at me.
I don't know how long it had been, but to me, it only felt a few minutes. A few minutes of absolute peace and solace.
We sat in a comfortable silence, which was broken by the loud rumbling of my stomach.
"Well, looks like someone is hungry.", Sergei showed his pearly whites.
The tip of my ears turned red. I felt like a burden to this man. And, he noticed the discomfort on my face. Way to go, Audrey.
"Hey. It's completely fine. It's been a while since I cooked for someone. Frankly, I like cooking. You just sit and watch while I exhibit my talent.", he flashed me a smile and went to the small kitchen space.
He moved like a chef as if he had his personal opera playing within. At times he moved as though he were the bow of the cello, steady and deep. Other times he was the violin in some rapid dance. Yet whatever rhythms flowed in his soul from day to day, be they tranquil seas or tempests, what he made was so heavenly.
This man just seemed more and more amazing every passing second.
After a painful hour of keeping my growing desire for food in control, Sergei brought me a huge plate with all sorts of fancy food.
"This is a Greek-inspired antipasto platter. Bon Appetit!", he mock bowed.
The plate looked delicious. All sorts of flavors and juiciness and colors blending in to give a mouth-watering aroma. The stringy mozzarella and the crisp white wine added even more classiness and taste to the appetizing dish. The crisp baguette and the southern fried chicken topped with cherry tomatoes gave the meal just the tanginess it needed.
Sergei stood there as I took a bite, the big man awaiting my facial expressions and sounds.
The flavors of the scrumptious cuisine melted in my mouth. I moaned at the appetizing taste, devouring every dish to its last morsel.
He cared about my words, but less so, always looking for the truth in that reaction of awe and pleasure.
"This is so much better than that soup. Heck, this is one of the best meals I have eaten in my life! Consider being a chef, I'm telling you.", I said, with a mouthful of food. I couldn't help it!
We clinked our wine glasses and drank to the night. Under a sky of perfect midnight velvet, under stars so brilliant they drew the eyes heaven bound. Just gazing at the midnight blue canvass above stole every thought from my mind, the usual carousel of worries simply forgotten. There were the heavenly stars above and a crescent moon to smile down; what else was there to know about? I smiled and rested my head upon Sergei's shoulder, feeling at ease in his arms, the most I'd ever felt in quite a long time. No work. Nothing to worry about. Just the two of us.