The side of the mountain was covered with snow. Nick could see the team on the ridge, but he couldn’t see Jim. Jim was at the back, anchoring the line. Nick heard a pop and a sheet of snow slid from the ridge. The sheet was sawed into strips by the pines on the hill. Nick heard another pop and saw another sheet break loose. He saw the sheet move before he heard the pop.
At the lodge they sat in silence.
“I’d give anything to have been up there,” said Nick.
“It was something,” said Jim.
“This damn leg,” said Nick.
“Sure,” said Jim.
“You never know,” said Nick, “what you’re doing for the last time.”
“We had some times,” said Jim.
Jim looked at the glass in his hand then looked at Nick. Nick looked at Jim.
“My stomach’s still good,” said Nick.
“I’ll get another bottle,” said Jim.
“Time is running away”
“Again?” said Jim.
“Oh yes!” she said. “I never get tired of hearing it!”
“I love you forever,” said Jim.
“And ever and ever?” she said.
“And ever and ever,” said Jim.
“Here we are,” she thought, and looked out the window. The brown water of the river fanned into the bay. The water of the river after the rain was brown and stained the blue of the bay.
The tables and chairs were arranged on the boardwalk and the waiters were crossing from the cafés carrying coffee and bread to the tables. The clients who weren’t tourists were reading newspapers and smoking. Some of the tables had parasols that wouldn’t shade the tables until the sun was higher on the horizon.
“I’m going for a walk,” said Peggy, looking out the window.
“Wait and I’ll join you,” said George.
The sun reflected brightly on the tables without tablecloths and the legs of the tables were black against the water. The tiles of the boardwalk were smooth. Some of them were cracked and some were wet from the rain. The ones that were wet were darker than the others and the dark ones were slippery.
Peggy and George walked until they passed beyond the tables and chairs. They found an empty bench and sat down. The sun across the water was low and bright in their eyes. It didn’t bother them if they looked up or down the coast. A jogger passed in front of them and Peggy followed him with her eyes until the man and the boardwalk disappeared around the cape.
“I wonder if I’ll ever be back here,” said Peggy.
“Of course we will,” said George.