A blanket of new snow, soft and crisp and painted orange by street light. The engine rumbles beneath me as it idles, the heater only just starting to warm.
A young boy stands at the side of the road, hands by his sides and face to face with a snowman. A strange kind of creation, tall and thin, it narrows out towards the neck. No round head or friendly face, more a tower of tightly packed snow that tapers off into nothing.
I sit and watch through the fogged up windows. The road is quiet behind me, the snow untouched but for the tracks of my wheels. No footprints but those of the boy, whose small shadow stretches out behind him like silk. An echo of a question threatens to form before it drifts away again, out over the blanketed ground. This kind of snow swallows any sound at all.
As I sit there, watching the two of them, he begins to melt. It makes no sense at all; the temperature is still a few below zero. But he melts all the same, until the crooked, misshapen snowman is all that remains.
Photo by Flickr user Digital Sextant – used under Creative Commons