It’s Still Snowing

short stories

Short Stories

 

I wake up as I usually do: hitting the snooze button at least four times, groaning as I roll over to quell the infernal blare of trumpets that compose my morning theme music. Flinging my feet from underneath the covers, the chilled atmosphere of my room causes a case of goose bumps to ascend my body. I rise and make my way over to my window, passing my calendar on the way. Damn. It’s still January. I raise the blinds separating me from prying eyes and, to my surprise, it’s snowing again.

I look out my window, dazzled by the view my $900 rent gets me. Oh, to be all of 10 feet away from your neighbors—life is but a dream. Yes, I have a direct line-of-sight into the room of my neighbors whose house sits so…cozily close.

I see her, my neighbor. She’s sitting on her bed, crying again, as her husband walks through the bedroom door. His neck tie is undone, shirt unbuttoned, still dressed in the same clothes he went to work in. He speaks. She listens. The wife’s back is turned to her husband, sitting on the bed, facing the window, her face in her hands.

He’s yelling now, the husband is. About what I cannot quite tell, but he’s probably making it her fault. The same it that keeps him out at night; the same it that ruins the heart and muddies the soul. Finally, the wife rises to her feet, daring not to lock eyes with her companion. She attempts to exit the room but is cut-off by the man who absorbs the doorway. He grabs her by the shoulders, shakes her as he screams ’til his face turns red.

Up goes his fist. Down go my blinds.  I know what happens next, and I’d rather not call the police. They would end up blocking my driveway, and I’d hate to be late to work. I just wish it would stop snowing.

I wake up, a new day, a new month. It’s April, or at least that’s what my calendar tells me. I go to my window, a different one this time. I need a change from the normal domestic abuse channel I watch from my bedroom. Making my way to the living room, I pull back the curtains, look up and see the sky. Cloudy as ever—it’s snowing again.

It’s 7:15am now. The kids have about five more minutes till the bus whisks them away, leaving none to loiter on the sidewalk outside my house. He’s always the first kid at the bus stop, waiting impatiently, hoping that the kid with the red coat doesn’t show. Oh, that red coat, it’s the color of terror for the First Kid. Every day Red Coat figures out a new way to make the First Kid look and feel like the dog shit that he lathers the First Kid’s face in from time to time. I wonder what Red Coat will do today?

Oh, no, the First Kid is wearing new clothes. I hope Red Coat doesn’t…damn, Red Coat noticed. And there he goes, picking up a nice hand-full of dirt, smearing it all over the fresh, cream colored shirt of the First Kid—the First Kid doesn’t move. Silent defiance never sits well with Red Coat—he lives for the sound of anguish. A violent push causes the First Kid to become reacquainted with the ground; his backpack drops beside him, halfway unzipped. The First Kid gazes into the dark pit that is the interior of his backpack, Red Coat slinging insults, inciting the First Kid to fight back. He’s had enough of being bullied…I can see it in his face, and in his backpack.

I catch the glint of black steel emerging from the First Kid’s dark pit. I close my curtains. I better get to work before shots are fired and the ambulance blocks my driveway and I’m late to work again. I just wish it would stop snowing.

 

more by E.J. TANNER

photograph by Jay Mantri

 

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