I go over to the window, and rub the mist off, relishing the cold warmth of it.
Looking out of the window, I’m immediately hit with how white and grey everything looks.
The trees have ice falling off their leaves, looking half green and half white like that sweater I wear sometimes.
The houses are covered almost completely, and the windows have icicles creeping on the glass like branches of a tree.
The cars in the driveways are capped with snow, the windows having obscene words written on them by obscene people.
The ground is untouched, smooth by layers and layers of the snow that had fallen last night.
I’m overtaken by an urge to go outside and make a mark on the ground, to get rid of its perfection, but before I can do so, I hear noises that mean I’m not going out for a while.
The children are awake.
They’re screaming ‘snow day’ at the top of their lungs, and I’m pretty sure I can hear the glasses and the plates rattling next to me in the kitchen.
How could I have forgotten?
Snow day means no school.
Means I must deal with them for the whole day.
As they come over to me, Lillian twirls me around and around with her tiny hands, while Fred hangs on to me and tries to get my attention.
And yet, Allan seems to be sound asleep.
I’m proven wrong when he comes into the kitchen.
He looks at the circus happening and visibly stifles a grin.
I glare at him.
He comes over and picks up Fred from my leg and carries him on his hand, taking the kettle to boil some water for tea.
As the children visibly calm down, Lillian stops twirling me and instead gives me a hug, her small body only reaching up to my stomach.
I hug her back, and kiss the top of her head, smoothing her hair out.
“Mommy, mommy, it’s a snow day today! Which means there’s no school!” Lillian says, and Fred wobbles his little head to this statement.
I nod, biting my lip to stop myself from crying.
“What would you guys say to going ice skating today?” Allan says.
His suggestion is met with loud cheers of approval.
I run out before I start crying.
Entering the bathroom and turning the lights on, I lean on the door, trying to calm down.
The tears still fall down my cheeks rapidly, and I start shaking.
I can hear Allan making up an excuse for why I left, and I hear his footsteps coming closer.
I go over to the faucet, and place my hands on either side, putting my whole-body weight on the faucet.
Snow falling on my petite body.
Twirling on one leg as the cheers got louder.
Looking up at the clear blue sky and raising my hands to heaven.
I look up to see my reflection in the dirty mirror.
The dark circles seem even more prominent under the orange light, and I can see wrinkles now.
I didn’t want children.
I didn’t even want a boyfriend, much less a husband.
But I fell in love, so that can be excused.
Children, however, couldn’t be.
“Why do you have to be so immature?”
“Apparently I’m being immature. It’s my body!”
“But your children will be mine too!”
“I’m leaving Virginia, I’m going to find someone who can give me children.”
“Let’s have children.”
The words and screams from so many years ago, still ring in my years.
I splash ice-cold water on my face, enjoying the burn.
I open the door to see Allan standing there, looking worried.
I assure him that I’m fine and give him a kiss on the cheek.
He looks convinced, and I smile at him painfully.
“I think it’s time for us to go ice skating, don’t you think?” he says, grinning widely.
I nod with a smile, even though I’m against the idea.
I walk to the kitchen so that he doesn’t see my frown, and go to the kitchen, where two cups of tea have been kept on the table.
“Mommy has agreed to go ice skating!” Allan says.
Lillian and Fred cheer loudly, and I smile at them.
As we get ready to leave, I pray that Allan doesn’t bring that up.
But he was never one to take a hint.
“You know, Mommy used to ice skate a lot before.”
I stop in my tracks, unbelieving of what my ears just heard.
“Really?” Fred says, looking up at me and displaying all his missing teeth in a toothy smile.
“Really. She was really good. She won so many competitions too.”
I’m spinning on one leg.
I can’t stop spinning.
The people’s cheers turn to screams.
The clear blue sky turns red.
I shake off the memories which never seem to leave me.
Waking up in a hospital and looking down at my leg.
It’s bent at an odd angle.
Throwing up at the sight of the bone poking out.
Allan taking this opportunity to propose, knowing that now ice skating isn’t my first love.
Me saying yes for the same reason.
Promising myself that after my leg is healed, I would get back to it.
Allan forcing me to give him children, ensuring that my promise remains unfulfilled forever.
I look at Allan, confused.
As he opens the doors for the children to get in, he looks at me and smiles.
“I always knew that you regretted it, leaving ice skating for my sake, for their sake. So, I thought I’d give you that chance to get it back,” he says, looking tense as he waits for my reaction.
Not caring about who is watching or whether I’m going to slip on the snow, I run to him and kiss him, immediately feeling warm despite the cold.
Wrapping his arms around me, he kisses me back, and I feel young again, like this is our first kiss.
He pulls away and gives me a kiss on the forehead.
As we get in, and he turns the heater on, I try to ignore the pit in my stomach, but it only grows bigger.
It’s been almost ten years now since the incident, since I had skated last.
Would I even remember how to do it?
Allan squeezes my hand, almost as if he knows what I’m thinking about.
I squeeze back.
He parks outside the ice-skating rink, carefully not to skid over the wet and snow-covered ground.
As we get out, I’m hit by a cold gust of wind which almost knocks me out.
Maybe it’s a sign that I shouldn’t be here.
Before I can leave, my children take one of my hands each and pull me forward.
We enter the rink, seeing many children of varying ages, and their parents, some skating and some in line to get their skates.
As we stand in line, I feel increasingly jittery.
We take our skates and go over to the rink.
All three of them wait for me to go first.
I put on the skates, my hands shaking.
I hesitantly place one foot on the frozen surface, taking a deep breath in and a deep breath out.