Laila stood looking out her bedroom window to see the sun rising and the snowflakes riding the breeze. She shivered while in her purple footie pajamas and pulled her blue fleece blanket tighter around her shoulders.
As she went to turn away, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window, her fine grey hair hung around her face in ringlets, and if that wasn’t enough to show her how many days she has walked this earth, the wrinkles caressing her face were.
Sighing, she walks the few feet from her bedroom to her kitchen, with her calico cat, Molly, at her heels. Laila grabs a can of wet cat food from the quickly diminishing stack from inside a cabinet. When she begins to open it, Molly’s ears instantly perk up, fully anticipating this part of their morning ritual. Laila dumps the contents of turkey giblets into the dish and places the feast down next to her to engulf.
Laila continues on with her routine of turning the coffee pot on, which is certainly not decaf, although her doctor has tried convincing her otherwise, and the smell of French roast wafts throughout the room.
Eventually, Laila settles into her big comfy forest green chair in her living room with a fresh cup of coffee and Molly sitting on her lap cleaning her paws and the remnants of her breakfast from her face.
Life is good.
Laila thinks to herself.
In that moment she hears two doors to a car shut and foot steps making their way to her front door. Molly quickly jumps off her lap and runs into Laila’s bedroom, no doubt to hide under the bed.
Rolling her eyes at Molly and furrowing her brow in obvious annoyance of who it could be at this time of day, sits her coffee on the stand next to her and shuffles her way to the door to peek out the eye hole.
Quickly realizing who it is, she unlocks it and opens it to see her granddaughter Audrey, with her pink backpack in hand, standing next to her father, Mark, who is lifting a finger to push the doorbell.
“What are you two doing here so early? Why didn’t you call?”
“Good morning to you too Mom!” Mark responds as he bends down to kiss her cheek and propels himself and Audrey into the house.
“I know it’s incredibly last minute, but Audrey’s babysitter is sick, so I don’t have anyone to watch her. Would you be able to? I can always see about leaving work an hour early or so, but I have a client waiting for me that I needed to meet with a half hour ago.”
“I mean I s’pose that is alright-” Laila begins and is quickly cut off by her son with a,
“You’re a lifesaver Mom. Thank you!” Kisses his daughter’s forehead and tells her to behave as he exits the house as quickly as he had entered it.
Laila and Audrey look at each other and take the other in for a moment before Laila asks,
“Would you like to warm up with some hot chocolate, dear?”
Audrey smiles as she nods her four year old head full of long dark curls escaping her warm fuzzy pink hat, “Yes, please.”
Audrey places her bag down beside her as Laila helps her out of her matching pink fuzzy winter coat and boots.
“Yes dear?” Laila replied as she pulled off one snowy boot after the other.
“Can we go ice skating today?”
Laila pauses, “Have you already started classes?”
“Do you have your skates with you?”
Audrey nods, “They’re in my bag.”
“Well, Molly is running low on her food. I s’pose we could make a trip to town in a little while.”
Audrey beamed and wrapped her arms around her.
Laila smiles and hugs her back.
Once Laila handed Audrey a mug of warm cocoa, she went into her master bedroom, changed into a bright sunshine yellow oversized sweater, black fleece lined leggings, and long black fuzzy socks. Almost forgetting to grab her old pair of skates sitting on one of the shelves in the closet.
These hold so many memories…
Laila thought to herself as she held them out in front of her.
When she came out and into the living room she saw Audrey had finished her cocoa and was giggling as she played with Molly; dangling a braided piece of rope in front of her to paw at.
A smile crept onto Laila’s face.
“Are you ready to go dear?”
Audrey looked up, her eyes shining with innocent glee, “Okay! Can we bring Molly too?”
“No, Molly will have to stay here to keep the house warm. You can play more when we come back.”
Although, feeling a little bummed, Audrey doesn’t complain.
They bundle themselves up and make their way to the garage to Laila’s Equinox.
That was a deal breaker for Laila when she bought this house four years ago.
There wasn’t a chance she was going to spend the rest of her life cleaning the snow off of her vehicle. Besides when her husband, Gerald, was still with her, that was his job.
Laila helped Audrey into the booster seat that she had kept in her car just for her, and got in the driver’s seat to start the car.
Soon they were well on their way, driving down the cul de sac.
Laila’s house was situated by itself at the very end of it, and that’s how she liked it.
They sat in silence as they drove the few miles to the center of town, both in their own little worlds.
As they drove to Lu’s Market, they saw the grand, now frozen pond, already had people skating around it. Laila found a parking spot on main street in front of the market and helped Audrey out of the car.
“Can we go skating first?”
Audrey could barely control her excitement.
It made Laila think of how excited Audrey’s parents used to get when they skated together when they were young.
Sighing, “Very well, dear.”
They make their way towards the others skating across the street, by way of the cross walk, hand in hand.
Laila and Audrey came upon one of the benches encircling the pond to call their own and helped each other lace up their skates.
“Ready?” Laila asked.
Audrey gave her a fully tooth grin, “Yes!”
Once again, hand in hand, Laila and Audrey stepped onto the ice, both instantly feeling as if they were on top of the world.