The day after, there’s another storm warning. I ignore the TV weather report and focus on the ice cubes melting in my glass. A decorative pink heart drops from the ceiling to land on my shoulder. I brush off the unwanted crepe paper. I’ve conserved just enough energy to introduce myself to another drink.
the door opens
A tall woman in a too-thin coat blows into the bar. The graying fringe of her white scarf trails behind–sweeping salted snow inside. She sits on the neighboring stool, favors me with a winter wonderland smile. I freeze in anticipation of an avalanche. She skips her name and my name and asks about my plans for the day. I mumble that I’m drowning my sorrows. She whispers she can help.
My laugh startles me. I remember the excitement of school snow days, sledding down the steepest hills. She takes me outside, through the parking lot, over an abandoned field, and into the forest. The tree branches hang low with icicles. Her words carry me to the edge of a half-frozen pond.
a slow dance
Mariel Herbert’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Liminality, Daily Science Fiction, Scifaikuest, and Star*Line. She lives in Northern California with her family, one high-maintenance dog, and many low-maintenance books. Mariel also runs a few speculative reading groups, and she can be found online at marielherbert.wordpress.com.
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