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They say after every rainstorm comes a new beginning. So what about after a snowstorm?

During the night, a thick layer of snow blanketed the city, keeping the skittish inside. The city looked anew, tarnished with a brand new white layer like a blank slate. The streets and sidewalks were clogged with snow, making it impossible to travel anywhere--including work and school. Every citizen awoke that morning with the same thought: ‘I am not going outside today’. Well, almost every citizen.

I stared through my apartment window laced with a thin frost. The only thing you could see were skyscrapers hugged in snow. Good. I didn’t really feel like seeing anyone today. Instead, I would stay in this frozen apartment with my frozen heart.

The apartment’s lights were dim. I didn’t even bother to turn on the light in my bedroom. If they were on, all I would see is a too-big king sized bed. It wasn’t always too big. No, it became that way when my girlfriend of three years dumped me yesterday so she could have my boss as a sugar daddy.

I made my coffee like I usually did--except I didn’t add my normal heap of  sugar. Instead, I wanted it to be bitter. I wanted it to slap me in the face. To tell me this wasn’t just some horrible dream. I wanted it to tell me I was actually awake. A little dribble of snow gently fell from the sky. Or maybe it was the hush winds blowing up the light top layer from the last storm. I don’t know.  I just stared out the window and sipped my coffee

Maybe I would go outside today.

Across the other side of town, Gwen raced from her bed to the window like a kid on Christmas morning. She smushed her face against the glass, leaving smudge marks of her breath smeared against the window. “It snowed,” she breathed. With a squeal, she added. “So freakin’ much!

Darting back over to her nightstand, she checked the temperature on her phone. Just because the snow was frozen, doesn’t mean the Rocky River on the skirt of the city would be. “Twelve degrees,” she read. It’s frozen!

Gwen squealed again and fetched her figure skates from the back shelf of her closet. She gingerly brushed the dust off them. “Awe yeah, first freeze of the new year! Let’s go!”

As she slammed the closet door closed with her skates in hand, an old picture frame fell down from the same shelf. Gwen didn’t bother to put it back up. She knew exactly what the picture was. It was still ingrained in her memory, even after seven years. She didn’t want to see the picture again. It would only spoil her mood.

While it may have been taken a long time ago, the photo never wrinkled and never faded. It was a picture of her at the Youth Olympic Games.  Back when she was seventeen and holding the gold medal for figure skating. Back when she had that big naive smile on her face. Back before she shattered her kneecap and shattered her dreams of the big league Olympics. But it could never shatter her passion.

However that past is gone now. The rain washed it away. Now, the snow beckons her outside. And she gleefully accepts.

As I walked, my feet sunk deep into the snow. At least half a foot with every step. It was tiresome to keep going. It’s always tiresome to move forward. I thought of my ex-girlfriend. And I didn’t want to be stuck where I was. In the snow. I kept moving forward.

The snow stuck to the sole of my boots. They weren’t waterproof, which was a mistake. Instead, I picked the fluffiest pair. But that fluff is now soaked and chills my feet to the bone. It turned bitter like my coffee.

For some reason probably buried in my human psyche, I noticed myself walking towards the Gilmore bridge that was right at the end of the city.

The bridge was maybe twenty feet from side to side. It wasn’t very big and wasn’t even wide enough to let any cars pass by, so it was citizens only. Which made it a popular romantic spot for couples. My ex-girlfriend and I had our first date here. Maybe that’s the reason why I came here.

I peered down at the river below. It was completely frozen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a river so completely still. No rush or power to it. Just still. Like it was frozen in time. Unable to move forward.

Out of breath and with rosy pink cheeks half buried under a plaid wool scarf, Gwen arrived at the Rocky River. It was completely frozen over. She smiled under the scarf and laced up her skates. Slowly, she pushed off from the stiff banks of the river.

There was a thin layer of snow on top of the ice, but it was nothing she couldn’t glide through with ease. She furrowed her brow as she skated in circles. Gwen bit her lip, gathered the proper momentum, and slowly picked up her left leg. She grasped her left skate as she twirled into a tight circle. Thirty second later, as her knee began to wince with fresh pain, she released and skated it off. Camel spin. She noted. Done!

Gwen did three more big circles, before digging the toe pick of her skate into the ice and launching off it into a toe loop jump. She landed with a loud slap! on the ice and nearly lost balance. Her knee was practically wailing in pain. But she didn’t care.

One last move. She promised herself. Just one more.

Launching herself off of her forward outside edge, Gwen spin in the air, her surroundings blurred. They didn’t matter right now. A huge smile crept across her face. An axel jump! However, when she came to land on her right leg, her knee buckled and she slammed across the cold, hard ice. Gwen cried out in pain. A trickle of blood stained the pure white snow. She pushed her hands against the river and tried to pick herself up, but her knee refused to cooperate. 


I heard something that sounded like someone crying out in pain. Quickly, I surveyed my surroundings, but I was still alone on the bridge.

Dammit!” I heard them say.

This time, it sounded like it was from below. I peered down and saw a woman flattened against the ice. Like she fell down. She was struggling to move, but she couldn’t get up. “Hang on!” I yelled to her. “I’ll help you!”

I darted from the bridge to the slope of the river banks. As I reached the ice, I slipped with nearly every step but reached her in a mess of flailing arms. When I got near her, I noticed that she had coffee brown eyes, warm auburn hair, and a freckled smile. She looked nothing like my ex. And I kind of liked it. Maybe it was her sunny looks that brought a warm blush to my face. I quickly hid my expression and focused on the task at hand.

Slowly, we balanced off each other and she managed to stand up. I glanced at the skates on her feet. An expensive pair. Like the kind professionals use. “Are you a professional skater?” I asked.

“I used to be,” she answered quietly. “But my knee shattered a long time ago. My doctor would kill me if he found out I was still skating.”

With her hands in mine, I felt a slight tremble as her legs almost faltered again. “But,” she added. “If I stop skating, stop trying, then I’ll be stuck in my stuffy apartment all winter. I swear, I’ll go nuts in place all alone.”

I grasped her hands tighter and we started to shuffle across the ice to the river bank together. “I know the feeling,” I mumbled.

We reached the bank. “Then, maybe…” she said. “We can keep each other company!”

The blush was back. I didn’t try to hide it this time. “Yeah, I’d like that.”

As we left the Rocky River behind, I felt the temperature rise, the snow melt, and I heard the river’s ice cracking. So it could move forward once again.

January 10, 2020 23:48

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1 comment

Sam Kirk
00:37 Jan 18, 2020

I also wrote about an ex-Olympic skater. How funny is that? I liked both stories and the way you tied them together. Well done.


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