No, this isn’t old material, I just kind of miss winter. 😛

—~

 

We lingered at the table, long after everyone else had left, the light beginning to stutter and dim slowly as the candles went out one by one, and no one bothered to turn on the light. We sat in a silence that mirrored that of the snow that was beginning to float dreamily outside the misty windows. We preferred it that way. There was nothing to say, and therefore no need to talk, it was quite simple; and so we sat contentedly with our chins in our hands and our elbows on the table, eyes resting on the little flames. The festivities had migrated to the living room, producing a mellow roar that made no distinction between laughter and the popping of the logs in the fireplace. Ourselves, we made no distinction between the mellow roar, the little dancing flames, and our thoughts, which swirled as lazily as the snow outside.

Presently one of the lower candles sniffed out, sending out its floating ribbon of smoke as a farewell gift to the ceiling.

‘We should probably go and join everybody else,’ I postulated.

‘Mmm,’ said Dad.

The smoke ribbon waved and bent in the air like an Oriental dancer, an ancient ghost performing her ancient dance for two sets of half-closed eyes.

‘They’re probably toasting marshmallows.’

‘Mhmm.’

Slowly the smoke fizzled away, sucked like a noodle into space. Dad adjusted himself, his arms now crossed on the table’s edge, still leaning on his elbows.

‘We always kind of regretted not taking you and your brother camping,’ he declared, making the kind of cognitive leap from marshmallows that only my dad and I can make.

‘I’m not too worried about it,’ I replied. ‘Me, I’m a city girl, through and through.’

‘How do you know? You’ve never spent more than twelve hours at a stretch in New York City.’

‘Yeah, but those have been some awesome twelve-hour stretches.’

‘And besides,’ he continued as if he hadn’t heard me, ‘I just don’t get why people like cities; every building pretty much looks like every other building.’

‘Well if you look at it that way, every hill looks pretty much like every other hill, and every blade of grass looks just about like every other blade of grass.’

Another low candle, which we had both been observing closely for a while now, finally sniffed itself out and sent the obligatory graceful smoke signal.

‘Where would you live, then?’ I asked, knowing the answer.

‘Easy. Nova Scotia. Not even a question.’

‘Why?’

It took a while for him to answer, even though he’s answered that question, too, many times before. ‘Oh, you know,’ he began vaguely, ‘less people, less houses, less traffic, more grass, and a view of the ocean every morning.’

I hid my doubt in flickering shadow. While it was obvious he was now floating nostalgically in maple-syrupy memories of his beloved almost-isle, I have never quite found his logic compelling, just as I know he would find my caressing descriptions of New York’s neverending bustle, where infinite numbers of infinitely different people come together to form an ocean of harmony, utterly confusing. But I went along for the ride.

‘So why don’t we live there?’ I asked, only about half facetiously.

He took a long time answering that one, too.

‘Well, your mother was never really into the idea.’

One for my side.

‘Plus we could just never really afford to. It would probably be hard to find some work up there, too.’

Another candle winked out, another smoke ribbon floated to the ceiling.

Dad watched the smoke rise and fall, as if there were a tiny storm inside the room that only the smoke ribbon could feel. ‘We told you, we picked this house because it was exactly between your mother’s and my jobs when we first moved in.’

Someone’s laughter in the room next door drifted through the room like a plastic bag on a lazy breeze. Dad made a small sigh, or maybe I imagined it. It was hard to tell; there were only two candles left, and anyway a sudden gust of wind outside sent snowflakes swirling in all directions. It was looking to become a real snowstorm. Inwardly I praised and thanked my sweater.

‘Perhaps we really should join the festivities,’ I said outwardly, and immediately felt a little guilty.

‘What, and wait for the maid to clean all this up?’ Dad complained, referring to the erstwhile feast spread before us on the table in the half-light.

‘Mhmm,’ I said, only about half facetiously, pushing my chair back and rising from the table, carefully stacking more plates than I should have safely been able to in one arm and carrying them into the kitchen. A creak of another chair pushed back from the table, a few seconds later, and Dad followed me in with twice as many dishes.

‘You go on in,’ he said, gesturing with his chin, ‘I’ll get the last few plates. Go on into the living room.’

‘Will you be done soon?’

‘Yeah, I’m just putting the leftovers in the fridge.’

‘Well hurry, before all of the marshmallows are gone.’

‘Not for me, that stuff’s no good for me.’

I turned and left the kitchen through the dining room, surreptitiously snagging a half-full glass of wine from the table. As I opened the door to the living room, one of the last candles flickered out, as if startled by the sudden tumble of noise. There was one candle left, as I closed the door and turned to the large roomful of talk and laughter, people, and a merry fire.

 

 

 

 

 

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