Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Comes the Snowplow

Douglas Christian Larsen
© Copyright 1983/2015 Douglas Christian Larsen. Comes the Snowplow. All Rights Reserved by the Author. No part of this book may be reproduced (except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews) or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the publisher, Wolftales UNlimited. This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.
Comes the Snowplow
by Douglas Christian Larsen

He couldn’t stop looking at her, and no amount of self consciousness or shy recrimination could break his eyes away from her—every molecule of her being captivated him, no detail too subtle or feature unimportant. His eyes devoured her, and she didn’t seem to mind. Whether he agonized over the beauty of her full mane of dark hair, or the delicate moldings of her almond eyes, or her full eyebrows—or even the way the tip of her nose slightly ascended and descended when she talked—he couldn’t stop staring at her; no, more than that: staring deep within her. Into her.
“I think you’re exquisite,” he blurted, then felt himself color. What a complete boob to explode like that. I think you’re exquisite. Now he was blushing, like some kindergarten kid who needed to go Number One.
She looked away shyly, just a moment, then glanced back, and then came to him and kissed him on the cheek. For a flash of eternity her plush lips expanded to fill his universe, and the warmth, the amazing embrace of her lips upon his stubble-covered chin—ah, for once, just this once, he wished he’d shaved this morning, or at least this week anyway.
She moved her hand, her slim, long-fingered hand, up into his hair and he closed his eyes briefly as he absorbed the caress. When her hand left his hair he opened his eyes, she was gazing deeply into him, and light danced in her irises, sparkling from her pupils.
“Anything you like, love,” she said.
He caught her hands and stared into her being, considering, yearning for her.
“I think,” he said, “that I’d like to sit here, maybe for just a while, and hold your hands, like this.”
“Thomas, Thomas,” she crooned. “You’re very sweet.”
Generally, that would be the stroke of death. Women had told him that before. And then said “bye-bye.” They might as well have added: “You are the wea-kest-link!” But this wraith, this angel, she was different, she was unique and special and rare and she knew him and accepted him and didn’t seem to mind at all. Oh boy, time for another heated gush from him!
“I think you’re sweet, Gabrielle,” he blurted, the naïve child, the wide-eyed boy, the ridiculous virgin man, head-over-heels in love for the first time in his life. “I’m so happy that we got snowed in like this and that I had a chance to meet someone like you—not that I enjoy the fact that you’re stranded, and you know, this trouble, um, our trouble, but, but it seems like I’ve spent my entire life with you, I mean looking for someone like you, oh boy, I sound so stupid, but you know? You’re so deep, so gentle—yikes, I guess this is called babbling? Guess you can tell I don’t have much experience with it.”
What an idiot. How could she forgive him? A woman like her, she must be used to suave, debonair men with gray at the temples, even if the gray was paint applied to match the platinum Rolex. He should just throw in the towel, run up the white flag, throw down his arms, because let’s face it, suave and debonair could never be applied to him, even if he did live long enough to grow some real gray at his temples.
“I think I adore it when you babble, dear sweet Thomas, and I think you do it very well. I want to spend the rest of my life listening to your babble. And I know what you mean, about us getting stranded like this. I don’t mind it at all, that we’re here, like this. In fact, I think I’d choose it. I really would,” she said, and would have continued, but he interrupted her by kissing her. When he withdrew a fraction of an inch she whispered: “These are definitely not the best conditions, are they? To fall in love?”
“No,” he breathed.
“But at least we have this short, very sweet time.”
“I really would choose it, you know, Thomas? Whatever it meant, whatever price I had to pay, to meet you, you know this, don’t you?” she said, leaning into him, such urgency pouring from her into him. Her eyes misted but she did not look away.
“Do you have to go, when the roads are cleared? Are you sure that’s the way it has to be?” he said, feeling and sounding as if he might launch into the world’s biggest tantrum, the world’s biggest 23-year-old baby. Weakness, helplessness, hopelessness, he’d never known them before, but they were all he had now, except for this love, this phantom in his embrace.
“Yes. I’m sorry. But who knows where fate will turn us next? Maybe we’ll meet each other in a crowded elevator! Wouldn’t that be lovely, our eyes meeting, me peering around a great fat man’s head, and you looking down from way up there, looking over the tops of all those heads, and we see each other, and we know each other, wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
He seized her. Pressed her against him, squeezing the breath out of her, and he might have worried for an instant that he was holding her too hard, except that she returned his urgent strength with equal fervor. He wanted to hold her, like this, forever.
“Yes,” he said, easing off, moving back some distance, and trying to bravely run with her romantic elevator scenario. “And we’d wait until everyone else got off the elevator, and then I’d push the emergency stop.”
“And with our luck,” she laughed, so bravely, “the sprinkler system would go off and we’d be there stuck in the rain.”
“We’d make love in the rain.”
“Yes,” she returned, not coming any closer, content to embrace with eyes only. “We’d make love in the rain.”
“I guess it’s possible,” he said, “I mean, if this possible, anything we could dream is possible.”
Gabrielle didn’t reply, but she didn’t look away from him. Her eyes and the mind behind the eyes were bold, and they knew what they wanted. There was no fear, here, between them, no fear at all. Between them was power, and love, and boldness. She didn’t look away and he didn’t look away and it was almost as if all need to blink was gone.
“What color are your eyes?” he whispered. Shhh, speak softly, love. Maybe time will forget us here hidden beneath the snow. The world might continue, but we will pause, an instant longer, please just an instant more, and the snowplow would trundle along other roads.
She smiled, delighted. “What color would you say?”
Her voice was full, succulent, rich with color and fiber and timbre and humor. Yet it was the voice of a child. The voice, the chiming tones of an old woman, the cry of a baby, in this snow-shrouded silence, her voice was ageless music.
“I’d say . . . a dark, coppery mahogany...with deep flecks of ebony.”
Her head tilted back and her eyes closed and she laughed. When her eyes opened she stared at the ceiling for many moments before she looked at him again.
“Dear sweet Thomas,” she crooned, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard them described quite as well. Yes, thank you, that is wonderful—coppery brown, with specks of ebony.”
Then he laughed, too, for the first time since they’d met. “Coppery...mahogany,” he corrected, “with flecks of ebony!”
“Yes,” she whispered, placing her arms about him and she placed her head upon his chest. “Yes, you are right. Are you warm, Thomas?”
He closed his eyes, held her, and felt he was a part of the blizzard above, wafting in dizzying spirals, moving up into the gray snow sky, and then blowing down, twirling, swimming, lazing and hazing and drifting so peacefully, so beautifully, the warmth of the snow, the tender warmth of the snow.
“Toasty,” he breathed. “Do you think I could have a little more of that wine?”
“Yes, my love,” she answered. “Do have some.”
She poured, for both of them, and then she lifted her glass and he drank from it as he lifted his glass and she drank from it, their eyes huge, embracing, dazzled and enraptured.
“It’s good,” he whispered.
She returned to his chest, her lips, her tongue tasting his neck.
“Are you truly warm, Thomas? You’re not just saying it to make me happy?”
“No, Gabrielle, truly, I’m warm. I’m having a wonderful time.”
“The best time of your life.”
“The best time of my life.”
“The best time of my life, too.”
“I feel great.”
“Me too.”
They existed, lulled and drowsing in the heat, holding hands, watching the snow fall through the frosted glass of the windows. The snow wafted, billions of sparkling lights, twinkling like fireflies, lazing to the earth, possibly to never stop, God please, just a little more time, let the snow fall, let it fall, let it.
“I’m glad it’s snowing,” he said, reluctant to break the enchantment of their comfortable silence, but not afraid to speak to her, this woman, this reality, this unbelievable embodiment of all his dreams. “I’m glad it’s snowing.”
“You’re not, truthfully?”
“Oh, but I am. This is everything I’ve ever wanted. My life is complete now.”
“You’re so young,” she whispered, containing herself, trembling upon his chest, her arms tightening about his back.
Again, the comfortable, tender quiet. Please, allow the snow, fall from the sky, drift down, pile high. Forever.
“You haven’t been happy, have you, Thomas?”
“No, I’ve been a sad son of a bung, I guess,” he said. Ridiculous, he knew, for a kid his age to have already experienced years of lonely dark depression, but all emotion was material, all life was material, and sad as it was, his life was a rich palette of colors available for his visions. He accepted it, his life, the depression, the sadness. Because he had dreams. And now, this taste of reality? Could he ever return to the dreams?
“That’s cute, sad son of a bung—not that I’m laughing at you,” she whispered, and he could hear the crystal sheen of tears in her voice. “I wish I could take your sadness away, or at least share it. I wouldn’t mind doing that, sharing your dark tides. Because even though I’ve never really been sad, I’ve never really known passion, either. I’ve never tasted love, until today.”
Not for the first time, he wondered if he were dreaming. But that would be too terrible. No, this was real; perhaps the first real thing he’d ever experienced in his life.
“Look!” she cried.
Dread. He swallowed, hard, closed his eyes—but still, no fear. Be content with what you have, because, when you think about it, what a miracle. This, something he didn’t even deserve. Grace. He smiled, opened his eyes, and watched the last few flakes of snow touch the drifts.
“The snow is just about over. The roads will be cleared soon.”
“Yes,” she said, her eyes focused beyond the windows, but her hands found his, and squeezed.
He wanted to blurt out some more declarations, but wouldn’t that be stupid. But who cares about what is stupid and what is not stupid, at a time like this. Blurt it, go on, just open your mouth and spew. But you don’t go and tell a girl, a woman, a lady, someone you just met, something like that, the thing he wanted to tell her. But. The things we’ve done, the things we’ve seen, our sharing, our touching, so many things in these last few hours, go ahead, tell her. No, don’t speak it. She knows. She knows.
“What?” she said, and when he turned to look at her she was staring into his soul again. She knew. Don’t speak. Don’t say the words. She knows. He knows.
“Nothing,” he smiled, their souls twining, mating. He felt he was on verge of losing something, something as special as the girl, after such a short period, damn the snow. But thank God, for the snow, the snow that brought something, someone, as special as the girl, the woman, the lady.
He could never lose her, not really. Not ever, unless he chose, and he would not choose. This grace.
“You were about to say something, Thomas?”
“I—well, I don’t know what I mean, or what I want to say, I mean I know what I want to say, but it’s so confusing, I’m so happy, and I’ve never thought clearer in my entire life, it’s that confusing. You’re a magic lady, this is a magic time.”
“My sweet Thomas. I know exactly what you mean.”
He smiled. Tears moved upon his face. He inhaled. Stay with me, stay with me, forever, together. Maybe the snow will begin again?
“Then I don’t need to tell you?”
She shook her head, smiling, looking him straight in the eyes the way most people would not do. And then they heard the rumbling sound.
“The road is being cleared,” she breathed.
He hesitated, then whispered: “You sound sad.”
“I am.”
He sighed, the tears pouring from his eyes. “Me too.”
“But isn’t that funny,” she said, “that we’d feel this way—shouldn’t we be wishing that they had come sooner? Even a few minutes? That things would have turned out differently, that this was just a beautiful, heart-breaking dream?”
He covered her mouth with his and extinguished her painful words. They shared a desperate kiss as the terrible rumbling sound grew much louder and the snow shook about them. Voices, terrible voices came down through the snow.
“I must go, darling,” she said, and she was so in control, so strong as she held off the grief, as she held off the weeping and her lips smiled for him, her trembling full lips smiling, so bravely.
He nodded, knowing it was true, that she must go, but he was unable to speak, weeping, blubbering like a helpless baby.
“Good-bye,” she said, turning.
He touched her, one last time, lightly.
“I love you,” he managed to say.
Impossibly, she returned to him, even as the rumbling grew deafening and light began to filter into them in their cave of love.
“My beloved Thomas,” she said, her voice the trembling reverberation of a pin bouncing away from crystal.
And then he was alone.
He released a last, long and shuddering breath. Thank You, God, oh thank You.
The snowplow rumbled alongside the drift and two men jumped down, wading and waffling, gouging away snow with huge orange shovels. They worked for many moments to clear away a short tunnel of snow.
“Oh no,” said one of the men, a burly guy mostly hidden behind thermal emergency gear. “Oh man, that’s a stinking way to go. Great, oh just great. Oh man.”
The other guy brought his face close and peered through the frosty window of the buried automobile. He scrubbed ice away with his fist. “Looks like we’re just a few minutes too late. Still some color in his face.”
“Well, nothing to do for him, he’ll hold for several hours, go get on the radio—oh look! Another one!”

“Only fifty feet away, can you believe it? Two gone, in the same hour, and they never knew how close the other one was, oh man.”

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