Grayin’ Up

English: Blizzard of February 2010

It's gettin' gray outside. ... Image via Wikipedia

James’s mother stood at the kitchen window watching him play in the snow, an all-too-familiar ache gripping her in her chest.

WHUMP!

Jenny landed a snowball right between James’s eyes. It was such a good shot that he congratulated her, then wound up to return fire.

PAFF!

His shot thumped into her back and exploded into a hundred pieces. She squealed.

“Ha!” said James. “How’d you like that one?”

Jenny turned and ran up a snowbank, jumped off the backside and landed in a deep drift. James chased after her, a snowball clutched in his hand.

“Yaaahhhhh!” He sailed off the bank and landed with a frump! next to Jenny. The drift stopped him dead.

“Truce!” she said.

“It’s okay – I’m done.”

“Givin’ up already?”

“No. Just feel like takin’ a break all of a sudden.”

“This is comfortable, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is.”

They reclined, all snug in the drift, taking a well-deserved rest – snow had been falling at varying speeds all day, and the two children had been engaged in a bitter battle – “The War of the Snows,” they called it – for a good part of that time. The storm had let up a bit during their last scuffle, but the snow was now falling hard again, and they lay there watching it, letting it mesmerize them.

“It’s grayin’ up,” said Jenny.

“What?”

“It’s grayin’ up.”

“What do you mean?”

“When it snows hard like this, all the evergreens get hazy-lookin’ – you know, kinda grayish – so I call it ‘grayin’ up.’ ”

James stared up at a tall pine at the edge of the yard.

“I think I see what you mean. … That’s what I like about you – you see those kinda things.”

“I get it from you.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, and you get it from me.”

He giggled a bit. Then she did. Then they got to laughing so hard that they caused a mini-avalanche, which dropped snow down their necks and made them laugh more.

“James!” his mother called out from somewhere behind them. “Suppertime!”

“Comin’!”

James’s mother watched him climb up over the bank and trudge through the deep snow, a lonesome-looking sight all by himself, and her heart cringed, wishing that she still had her daughter, and that James still had his sister.

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