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.
It’s very quiet. I can’t even hear the cars in the street. The flakes are so big that the ones near the window are a blur. I wonder how much it’s snowing at Bonny and Pablo’s cabin? It makes me happy to think of them all together, sharing a snack around the fire. I hope they have enough firewood. I’m sure they do. Bonny is good about that sort of thing. And so is Pablo. Even Ditto had a fire when I stopped by. I’ll bet the flakes are melting quickly on the lake. I’ll bet you could stray from the path and not even know. You’d have to make a new path, which wouldn’t be a path, but only a trail of wandering. When it gets dark you can’t even see the rise and fall of the land. Hmmm, it sure is quiet. I wonder how much it’s snowing at Bonny and Pablo’s cabin?
I can hear the last train… the night animals will be out. Tomorrow I’ll see their tracks in the snow. It must be exciting, moving quietly, feeling the pulse in your temples, seeing the hills in the grey light, and hearing the slender sound of the creek…
Maybe I should go for a walk.
The ice is melting… it will soon be spring.
Pablo? What are you doing? Please come back to bed…
“He didn’t notice when she came in because he wasn’t there, but when he was he clearly noticed, but pretended not to notice, that she was clearly there. He pretended not notice, so that no one else would notice, that he had clearly noticed that she was clearly there. But she had clearly noticed that he had clearly noticed, and she was clearly there.”