Sunday, 27 January 2013

Abigail’s Snowman

It was all going to melt soon.  By this time tomorrow it would all be gone. It was so completely freakish.  Almost a foot of snow in the early hours and throughout the morning, and now mid-afternoon, cars were driving reasonably easily through deep slush.  Yet, if you wanted to get the car off the drive, you needed to clear the pavement.
She’d done that. And now she had an interesting pile of snow. “We should make it into a snowman,” she’d said to Jeff and Lester.
“Mum, I’m a bit past that, don’t you think?”
“I suppose.” She remembered when Lester had been a little boy and had got so excited about the snow. Now he was just miffed that he couldn’t go off on his mountain-bike.   
“It’s not worth the effort. It’ll all be gone in a matter of hours.” Jeff shook his head.
“Well, I’m going to do it.”
She’d actually enjoyed shoveling the snow into a big heap. It had been better than being cooped up inside and the exercise not only kept her warm but also made her feel good. She didn’t want to stop.
She formed and honed the lump of snow into something vaguely human-shaped. She straightened his side, moulded arms and a square head with ears on it. She plumped his cheeks, shaped hands, and then fingers. She added, subtracted and sculpted.  
Soon two pairs of eyes were looking at her through the window. The front door opened. “I’ve found these round the back,” said Jeff. “I thought they might do for his eyes, nose and mouth.” He handed her some of the dark pebbles off the Japanese garden.  
Lester appeared at his side. “I know what else.” He dashed inside. He came back with the matching plaid scarf and ear-muffs Great Aunt Tilda had given him last Christmas.
“And I know what we need now.” Abigail was adding the finishing touches as the two men in her life looked on. “Go and get my sunglasses. The big round ones.”
Jeff came back with them. She placed them carefully on the snowman’s face. “Perfect,” she said.
“Not bad,” said Jeff.
Lester took pictures on his iPhone.  

When Abigail woke up in the night and looked through the spare bedroom window to see how well the snow was thawing, her snowman was decidedly slimmer. By then next morning his head had rolled off and the scarf, muffs and sunglasses were lying on the ground. By the following afternoon he was just a lump of snow that was barely recognizable as something someone had made.
“It doesn’t matter,” Abigail whispered. “You were still worth it.”  Tomorrow would come soon enough and she would have to be all po-faced and straight-laced at the station. Even a copper deserved a bit of fun now and again.  

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