Monday, November 25, 2013

Snippet of the Day

Snippet of the Day

“That’s a good idea, keeping all your stuff in the car like that.” Sara adjusted the hat, pulling it over her ears.
“Hey, you never know when you might want to go on an excursion. Sometimes the mood just hits me. When it does, at least I know I can dress accordingly.” Jake slammed the trunk, taking her jacket and laying it across the backseat. “It’s all about having the right gear. I want to show you something.” He took her hand, leading them up the street about a quarter of a mile. They turned off and started to trek into the woods, their warm breaths rising into the cold night air. They were on a wide, flat, well-groomed path. “Did you know this was here?”
“No. Where are we?” Sara’s eyes strained to see through the thick darkness. Jake stopped to face her. Sara tried to see his eyes, but their darkness blended in with the black surroundings.
“This used to be an old railroad line that carried freight. They ripped up the line about five years ago. This is a great place to cross- country ski.” He gave her gloved fingers a squeeze. “What do you think?”
“It’s perfect.” The path was nice and straight.
“It is. Now all we need is about four inches of snow.”
Sara snuck a sideward glance at him. Jake turned to look at her, 
their eyes locking. He squeezed her hand, leaving her gaze to look off into the thickly treed woods. Sara could vaguely see a maze of bare, arching branches. She felt Jake’s thumb stroke over the palm of her gloved hand as their feet trampled over the cold, packed dirt and residual fallen leaves. Sara took a breath. The scent of Christmas was all around. The fresh smell of pine opened her nose.
“Hey, thanks for doing the holiday thing with me,” Jake said softly, his face dipping down to converse.
“Thanks for asking me.” Sara faced him as they walked, hoping the evening wasn’t coming to a close.
“I hope I didn’t take you away from your family.” His voice was raspy from the chilled air. 
“My mother wound up having to work.”
“And where’s that?”
“She works for the Bridge Commission. She’s a toll collector.”

 “Oh, well, then she probably does a lot of holidays.” His arm fell away as they strolled back into the street. Jake gestured for Sara to take the inside of the shoulder.
“Yeah, the holidays pay well. I’m used to it. What about your family?” Sara asked. There was a lull of silence, the road vacant. She slowed her pace, trying to read his expression.
“I don’t see my father anymore. My mother died of breast cancer fourteen years ago.”
“I’m sorry. must’ve been young.” She treaded carefully between wanting to know more and being nosy. She’d dealt with a lot at a young age. How different things would’ve been if her grandparents had lived and her father had stayed.
“I was thirteen.” His eyes looked straight ahead. “It’s just one of those things.” He took her hand again.
“I never knew my father,” Sara admitted. “He split before I was born.”
“Yeah, well...mine is an asshole, so I don’t know which is worse.” He glanced at her, his face set. Sara didn’t press him any further. She wanted to lift him up, not pull him down.
Jake walked her up the stairs to her apartment.  They stood on the small landing, leaning against the railing, gazing into the twinkling night sky. 
 “That’s where I found my cat.” Sara pointed to the dumpster.
“She’s a lucky girl. Now she doesn’t have to spend all winter outside. She gets to snuggle up with you.” Jake turned to face her, his lips curved. “That’s what I’d like to do.” He moved closer, his breaths white puffs of smoke.

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