I was never meant for winter. I only moved here because he asked me to; back then, I would’ve done almost anything he asked. It was November, and nearly 6 inches of snow had fallen in just 2 days. I couldn’t be in that house any longer -not after he said that he was leaving me. I snatched the keys off of the table and I left, driving aimlessly on the dicey roads. But on a day like this, you have to be paying attention. I wasn’t, and ended up in a ditch on one of the back roads near our house.
The stranger came out of nowhere, I didn’t even hear a car pull up on the side of the road. It was like one of those stories people tell of angels coming out of nowhere to save them from certain death. All I could see were his feet standing near the front windshield, my head was at a weird angle since the car was canted on its side. For some reason the sight of just his boots was unsettling. Why didn’t he bend down to see if I was alright?
“You okay?” He asked, feet still the only part of the stranger that I could see.
“No, I’m not doing so good, I think my leg might be broken.” I replied, “Can you help me?”
Silence. The stranger stood still, as if something else caught his attention. I wondered if he even heard me.
Finally the stranger said. “Lucky for you I was driving by, ‘cause not a soul would know you was here.”
He was right, you’d have to be specifically looking for me, and no one would be looking —he’d be packing, getting ready to leave the home we shared for 5 years.
The stranger chuckled a bit –yes, I’m certain I heard laughter. “Sure is quiet here.” He said. “No one’d even hear you scream if you saw a need to do such a thing.” He was scaring the hell out of me, why would he say that?
“It’s funny.” He continued, his voice sounding anything but funny. “It’s funny that you’re in this position.
“Why?” I was surprised how shaky my voice sounded.
“Because I was in a position like this a few years back; needin’ some help, no one heard me –at least they pretended not to hear me.”
The stranger sat down beside my upturned car, his voice was quiet and measured -his face hidden in the shadows. “It was a night like this you know.” He began. “My car slid into an embankment on Weir Lane –east side, where the roads can get real bad on snowy nights like this. Had my boy in the truck with me, he wanted to come –he always wanted to come when I went out. That last comment trailed off, I almost didn’t hear it.
“He was hurt, my truck was shot to hell.” He grew quieter, in fact the night itself had grown deadly quiet, the snow falling in big jagged chunks. “I just needed a hospital, for my boy. Just a ride to the hospital…” His voice faded. “Now you’re here, it’s like somethin’ I once read in this book, the writer guy called it kismet. You know what kismet is?”
I didn’t answer, what could I say, I knew what he was getting at: It was my very first winter here, the snow was coming down like mad, and I was terrified —this isn’t an excuse, that’s just the how it was. I couldn’t stop to help you see –I was afraid! I drove slowly past the wreck, I saw a man waving his arms wildly, but I kept moving. He was screaming at me, something about someone hurt…but I was so scared. When I got home, I called the police, told them I saw an accident on Weir Lane, but I never knew what happened.
The stranger stood up then. “Just in case you were wondering, my boy died.” His voice sounded so matter of fact. “No one’s going to find you until morning, you probably won’t make it. Wish I could help, but I just can’t.”
And like that he walked away. I didn’t scream for him to come back, didn’t have any words to say to him in my defense. Nothing could make it right.
It was getting much colder now, temperatures were supposed reach 15 below. They say you get nice and warm and fall asleep before the end, I sure hope so.
You see, I was never meant for winter.
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