Saturday

On the warmest day in winter, the sun pokes its pretty head out to melt the ice. A man and his dog can’t help but wander into the city. The air reminds of summer: the day is alive with possibility.

After ceaseless weeks of snow, winter, it seems, is over. Parents follow their children out into the streets, bolder and unbundled. Teenagers throw snowballs, but nobody honks. The world comes alive as the water melts, the ice buried beneath, yet forgotten.

The man and his dog wander into a park. There is a frozen lake here, determined not to thaw, as silent as footprints in fresh snow. In defiance to the sun, it stretches from a nearby bank to a distant forest of evergreens that rise like icy spears from the earth.

An older man sits by the near shore. He smiles as they approach.

The younger man returns the smile. “Pretty day, eh?”

“Beautiful,” the other replies, remembering an earlier time.

The man’s dog comes forward to sniff an outstretched hand. As the other’s fingers find that familiar spot behind the dog’s ear, they seem like old friends. Everyone laughs. The man wanders on with his dog.

When the afternoon grows late, the cold returns, and everyone retreats to their homes. Winter is not yet over, and with the cold comes that familiar ache in their bones. They ease themselves by the fire, they crawl into bed, and they sleep.

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