Spring Thaw by Peter Baltensperger

January 5, 2012 Comments Off on Spring Thaw by Peter Baltensperger

The snow had been piling up for weeks, the way it was want to and supposed to, in the city where Jonathan had entrenched himself. It wouldn’t have been right if it hadn’t, the city plows piling banks upon banks, maintaining the seasonal routines; people fighting their way along slippery sidewalks, themselves caught in the cycle. Or else there would never have been spring: the way the world is.

Jonathan could have had a woman with him to keep him warm, guide him through the cycle, keep his boots by the door, but he never quite made it past the fantasies— one of those things. Fantasies were much simpler than reality, and Jonathan was very good at them. He preferred the way things were, just as he preferred to be the way he was.

The woman lived only a few blocks from him, contending with her own snow banks, icy walkways, spinning tires, and not having anyone to keep her warm. When she looked into the mirror, she could have seen Jonathan and asked him to make her his fantasy, but all she could ever see was herself. Mirrors can be very fickle that way, especially with the snow being as deep as it was.

On one particular morning, Jonathan was fighting his way along one of the banked-in sidewalks. The woman was desperately trying to get out of her driveway. Although the night had been clear and quiet, the snow fell heavily again even before the sun was up, fulfilling its own part of the arrangement. Jonathan and the woman could have fought their way through the weather together, had he only been able to let go of his fantasies.

Downtown, the plows had cleared the main streets and leveled the sidewalks. A duplicate of Jonathan was hurrying from a bus stop to an office, trying to keep the snow out of his face so he could see. A duplicate of the woman was scurrying from a parking lot to the same building, an umbrella in front of her face, unable to see. They didn’t know where they were going, only that they had to be in a certain place at a certain time. They bumped into each other in the elevator, one of those missed opportunities, if there were such things.

When the snow finally melted away, the snowplows returned to anonymity, and the rivers swelled to dangerous levels. Jonathan and the woman went their separate ways, not knowing any better.

Snow does that to people.

© 2011 Peter Baltensperger

Peter Baltensperger is a Canadian writer of Swiss origin and the author of ten books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His work has appeared in print and on-line in several hundred publications around the world over the past several decades. He writes, and has been writing all this life, because he is driven to and because it lends a special significance to his quest. He makes his home in London, Canada with his wife Viki and their two cats and a tortoise.

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