Breathless, she steadies herself against the front door, turns to survey her morning’s toil. A clear path shovelled through the driveway snow. She realises she’s smiling, unforced.
Her son heaves the head onto a lopsided snowman, the ground around him carved deep with snow angels. “Good job, Mum!” he waves. She flushes, does a graceful bow.
There’s nothing of the past in this moment. No echo-memories of sharp splintered words hurled like knives, of treasured mementos filched from the mantelpiece ‘in the interest of equity’, of venomous barbs hissed down the phone.
Just the blissful truth of clean, right-angles of red brick; the leisurely V of geese barking overhead; the endless sky above, cloudless and shockingly blue; a breeze rustling the silver birch, its skeletal fingers clutching skywards; melting snow dripping off the roof. Her hands prickled with cold. Her heart, beating hard inside her chest, reminding her she’s alive.