“Tell me about spring.” He nestled close to her, his eyes heavy, his body too warm.
She tucked the blanket around him and accepted the snuggle. It was hard for the littles. They didn’t understand so many things. Sick was one of them. Spring was another.
“Once upon a time…” She began.
He looked up at her, his dark eyes sparkling. This was a good sign, a sign he was beginning to feel stronger. She smiled down at him. “Far, far away?” He asked her.
“No,” She shook her head. “Right here. Just outside that door, in fact.” She gestured toward the massive panels of quilting that obscured what had once been a bog-standard steel exterior door. Before…
“Really?” He peered in that direction as though he could see outside. He couldn’t, of course. Not only the door had been insulated to a fare-thee-well in order to keep the creeping fingers of ice from intruding into their cozy dwelling. He’d never seen spring, nor had he ever seen through windowglass.
“Really, really. Once upon a time, winter came to an end, and when it did, there was spring. First, there was mud. Then, slowly, you’d see the signs. The buds on the trees swelling. Birds flying overhead, calling to one another. And little bits of green plants coming up from under the gray slush and brown mud. Winter always dragged it’s feet, leaving. Frosts would come and leave a little veil of ice, but it always thawed out again and trickled away. Spring would come in a little at a time, almost not noticed, and then suddenly there were flowers, and frogs singing in the ponds…”
“What’s a frog?” He interrupted her. She didn’t mind. He usually did, although at different parts in the story every time.
“Want to see a picture?” She didn’t really want to disturb him, as she’d looked down as he spoke and could see his eyes were already closed and he was near sleep. His brow was clammy, with sweat from the fever breaking. This was good.
“No… tell me.”
“Ok. The little frogs in spring are about the size of my thumbnail, and they are brown, with a light brown X on their backs. And the throats of them puff up like…” Too late, she remembered he wouldn’t know what a balloon was, either. “Like a bag of air.”
“mmm” was all he said.
She kept talking even after he was soundly asleep. “Spring was the time when the world came back to life, after the long winter’s sleep…”
She looked up as his father came quietly into the room, and pressed her finger to her lips. He nodded understanding, and came to look down at their son, who was curled up with eyelids quivering in dreamsleep now.
“Spring again?” He murmured.
“It’s his favorite.”
“Fairy tale. Like the ones we grew up on, about witches and ice monsters…” He sighed and bent, pressing his lips to her hair. “He’ll never see it, unlike the ice monsters we thought we’d never see.”
“It will come again.” She insisted. This was their oldest argument.
“Oh, I know. Just… not in our lifetimes. The hubris of mankind, meddling with forces it didn’t fully understand.” He bent at the waist, pressing his forehead against the back of the sofa, his frostbitten and scarred ear pressed into her cheek. “The wind changed everything. We overcorrected in our attempt to mend what wasn’t broken. So much lost. So cold.”
“Sshhh! You’ll wake him.”
“Sorry. He should dream of spring. Perhaps someday…”
My prompt this week came from Becky Jones, with “The wind changed everything.”
I prompted ‘Nother Mike with ‘You are not a burden’
You can read all the prompt responses, and join in on the prompt challenge, over at More Odds Than Ends. Please come have fun with us!