Snow Day Memories

Snow Day

Claire smiled at her last customer as they left. Glancing around the bakery she let out a low sigh. It had been a long day but it was finally over. Taking off her apron she draped it over a chair before grabbing her coat and some leftover pastries. Turning off the lights she walked outside fishing out her keys to lock up.
Dropping the keys back into her pocket Claire turned to head home. The feeling of something wet hitting her cheek made her pause. Pushing her hood back Claire watched as snow began to lazily fall around her. Claire stood their transfixed as her breath steamed in the air.
It wasn't the first snow of the season, and it probably wouldn't be the last. Still something about these snowflakes caught her attention. The way they swirled in the air reminded her of other winters. With a rueful smile on her face Claire began to walk again. It wasn't long until she came to the local elementary school. Stopping again Claire stared at the small fenced in playground. A memory pushed it's way to the surface making her smiled brightly.

She was a child again running around in the snow along with the other kids. It had been snowing all day and every was excited about going to play in it. Rolling a snowball between her gloves Claire looked for her next target her cheeks red with excitement as she saw the new boy.
He'd just joined their class today and was really quiet. All day he'd sat in a corner refusing to talk to anyone. The teacher had said he was shy and to leave him alone. Claire though was never one to listen and so she ran over and threw her snowball at him.
She wasn't expecting him to fall over or to start crying. Thankfully the teacher weren't paying attention to them (a fight had broken out elsewhere) so no one scolded her. Claire felt bad though, she hadn't meant to make him cry. She just wanted to get to know the new boy. Crouching down she rubbed her gloves over his face wiping away his tears.
"I'm sorry I din't mean ta make you cwy." She apologized.
"You're mean!" The boy shouted.
"I sowwy!" She shouted back tears forming in her eyes.
A moment later they were both crying and had to be comforted by the teachers.

Shaking her head Claire began walking again. That was the first day she met her best friend. After that day they were nearly inseparable. Claire chuckled slightly at all the terror they had caused. The teachers had dubbed them the "Terror Twins,".
As those memories faded back into her mind Claire continued walking only to stop again as she passed a park. The only park in the city that hadn't been paved over yet. After a moment she decided a detour would be nice. It had been a long day and the peace the park offered wasn't something she was going to pass up.
Walking past the frosted trees and bushes Claire felt the day's stress fall away. She wasn't alone, the fact it wasn't late meant there was more then one couple milling about the snow dusted pathways. Passing by a fountain Claire looked past the stone cherubs to the skating rink that was clear. Walking towards it another memory rose to the surface of her mind.
As she reached the rink she watched as couples skated by. Some were better then others preforming hard tricks in the center of the ice. Others were clinging to each other as they slowing made their way around the outer edge. Leaning against the rail for a second she let the memory flow through her.

"Come on Nate it's not that hard." Claire said exasperatedly
Years had passed and they were now in middle school. Claire had been skating since she could walk but Nathan refused lessons saying they were too dangerous. Now though he was humoring her. Instead of actually trying to skate though he was clinging to the railing as if his life depended on it.
"Easy for you to say! You don't fall every time you try and move!" He shouted his feet sliding over the ice.
"I promise once you get out there you'll love it. Here give me your hands." Claire giggled as she skated over to him.
"What are you doing?!" Nathan freaked as she took his hands.
"I won't let go now come on."
With that she slowly drew her friend away from the wall. Other kids passed them laughing at the picture they made but Claire didn't care. Neither did Nathan as he slowly began to adjust. Soon they were zooming around the rink trying to outrace each other. It should have been clear they were gonna collide and fall. Sitting there they both started to laugh only getting up when other people had to swerve around them.

Chuckling at the memory Claire turned away from the rink. It wasn't the last time they'd skated there. No it seemed every winter it became a tradition to skate at least twice over the weekend. Beginning her walk again Claire checked the time. With the stops she'd made, she'd expected it to be much later then it was. Maybe it was the memories that made her feel that way.
Exiting the park Claire passed store after store getting closer to her destination. Of course as she passed the last shop she had to stop all over again. The diner was closed for the night which meant she could see her reflection in the dark windows. Staring though her image changed until she was staring at a younger version of herself.

She was sitting in the diner waiting for Nate. He'd been distant since graduation months ago. Deep down Claire thought she knew the reason. He'd gotten a girlfriend, or a job elsewhere. The second one she could handle but not the first. Her crush on her best friend had been a secret that only she and her mother knew. It was one thing to crush of Nate it was an entirely different thing to tell him that. Staring down into her milkshake she dreaded seeing Nate again.
"Hey room for one more?" A familiar voice asked startling her.
"Hey Nate, where you been hiding a cave?" She joked as he sat across from her.
"Nothing that farfecthed, I've been busy the last couple months is all." He shrugged.
"Busy doing what may I ask?"
He didn't reply for a moment instead he began to fiddle his thumbs. Now Claire knew something was up. Nathan only did that when he was nervous about something. Reaching forward she placed her hand over his.
"Hey whatever it is I'm all ears. We're the terrible twins remember?" She smiled.
"Gosh I haven't heard that name in years." Nathan chuckled.
"I don't think Mrs. Stersky ever forgave us for that prank we pulled."
"Yeah. Claire we've known each other for years. Ever since that day you smashed a snowball in my face." Nathan said all serious.
"I did not smash-"
"Just hear me out," He cut her off an odd smile on his face, "You know me better then my parents. We've spent almost every moment of out lives together and I don't see any reason to change that. Claire McLarson would you do me the greatest favor in the world and marry me?"
With that said he slid to the floor in front of her pulling out a ring. Claire was speechless. She had never thought this. Instead of answering she tackled Nathan to the floor kissing the life out of him. Needless to say everyone on the street heard the hooting and hollering that followed.

Smile now stuck on her face Claire turned away from the window. She learned the next day he'd been spending those months saving money for their life together. He'd put down money on an apartment, bought the ring, even fixed up his truck. It was perfect. Claire was startled by the feeling of hot water running down her cheeks. Wiping her face she shook her head at her foolishness. Crying never solved anything. Not now, not then. Climbing the steps to her apartment building she was only slightly surprised to see her neighbor waiting for her.
"Sorry Sarah had to work an extra hour thanks for watching Natalie." Claire said as her friend held the door for her.
"Well if you have any danishes on you I'll call it all good. Enjoy the snow?" Sarah asked as they walked upstairs.
"Yes, it was nice." Claire replied.
After they parted ways, Claire's load much lighter now, she walked inside and set her load down on the counter. Shrugging off her coat she hung it up before heading into one of the bedrooms. Flicking on the light she walked over and gently picked up her daughter.
Natalie was only 15 months old but she looked so much like her father already. That in itself was a double edged knife in Claire's heart. Walking over to the window she gently rocked her child as she stared out at the snow. Nathan had died last year, a drunk driver had run a red light one night and neither survived.
It had been hard loosing him. There was a huge gap in her life that nothing seemed to fill. She had been two months pregnant at the time, when she found out she shoved her grief to the said. Their child would need her. Not a grief stricken ghost of her former self. Now all this time later Claire felt as if Nathan was there watching over them. Looking down she kissed her Natalie on her forehead before turning to watch the snow fall.
"Isn't the snow so beautiful sweetheart." She whispered.
Snow that continued to fall for years to come.
♠ ♠ ♠
Wow I don't think I stopped writing since I started. Wow.