NOTE: This is an on-going story (in ten parts) entitled "The Blizzard Coat." To become more familiar with this entry, be sure to read back posts that entail earlier "parts."
It had been four days since the funeral. Four days since Annalie had to say goodbye while Mason screamed for his father. Mason wouldn't stop screaming.
Being a single mother was hard. It had only been a week since Eddie walked out the door; if only she had kissed him goodbye that night. It was such a usual scene: just going to the store. Only, the ice had taken him down a different path.
Ice! That impersonator! The counterfeit, the sham, the hard knock thief masquerading as winter precipitation!
Annalie paced up and down the bookshelf-lined hallway between the living room and front hall. The weather had only gotten warmer and so did her blood. She hadn't found a moment to shower while taking care of Mason. Her oily hair was a mess as she ran her hand over it repeatedly in frustration. She wanted to cry--not from missing her husband, but from wanting to run away from it all. She felt guilty for wanting to put her four-month old son in his crib and let him cry. She felt worse that she never felt the need to cry from missing her husband. Oh, her heart broke. She felt the ongoing ache of pain in her chest every moment of the day, but tears never came.
The minutes ran right into the next without Annalie noticing. Mason screamed in her ears as she switched arms. She bounced him up and down, sung him songs, but nothing seemed to work. A hard, scratchy feeling arose in the back of her throat as the doorbell rang. The sound put a bookmark in this harried tale of woe and Annalie welcomed it for nothing more than to hear a sound other than wailing.
Joy and Peter stood on the other side of the door. It was so warm out that coats were left at home and cotton sweaters were all they needed to keep warm. Their arms were laden down with groceries and casserole dishes. "These are donations from the church group," Joy said, walking past Annalie towards the kitchen. "Can we do anything?" she asked as Peter loaded the food into the refrigerator.
Annalie wanted to shout, "Yes! Take him away!" and hand over Mason, but didn't. "No, thanks though, Joy," she said meekly.
Her sister looked at Annalie as if she was a billboard, gawking, and trying to read the advertisement through the blazing sun. Joy extended her arms and took Mason from Annalie's grasp as he screamed louder. "Go," she said, nodding towards the staircase. The gesture confused Annalie, due to her lack of sleep. "Go take a few minutes for yourself. We'll watch him." Joy instructed, bouncing Mason as he fought out of his blankets once more. "Take a nap, take a shower, read a book. Do something that's just you."
Annalie found herself crawling into her bed. Eddie's indentation was gone due to Annalie's policy to make the bed every morning. At least it still smelled like him. She closed her eyes and inhaled. Her mind traveled back to their first FIRST snow as a married couple.
Annalie could feel it coming, as all Bailor women did. She was restless in bed that night. Their first ten months of marriage were a dream--though there were some nightmarish moments when little things--Eddie leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor and Annalie never wanting to wash her dishes--made them want to explode with frustration.
They lie in the bed of their small apartment in Minneapolis. The moonlight lit up the room--Annalie never liked to close the shades and curtains in the winter. Moving boxes were everywhere as they were getting ready to move into the house in the country they just bought, which was closer to her family. The warm down comforter settled upon them, trapping the heat of their bodies and passion.
Eddie was sleeping; his eyelashes danced as he dreamed deeply. Annalie glowed. Happiness exuded from her as if it was sunlight. She had everything; a loving husband, a house, her family close by, and soon there would be the first FIRST snow of their marriage.
She leaned over and kissed Eddie's cheek. Rough stubble tripped on her lips, but she liked that. Eddie moaned questionably as if testing to see if he really needed to open his eyes. "Wake up," she whispered with a smile.
One eye popped open. Eddie took in the glow of his wife and it seemed to wake him like his morning thermos of coffee. He propped himself up on his elbow and rubbed his eyes, squinting to read the time on the alarm clock behind Annalie. "What is it?" he asked. His voice was sticky with sleep. The blanket fell from his frame with the movement and revealed the white t-shirt he wore to bed. It reminded Annalie of an undisturbed blanket of snow on the fields by Eddie's childhood home.
"It's about to snow," Annalie whispered excitedly. For a moment Eddie wanted not to care and go back to sleep, but he didn't. His love for Annalie--despite this eccentricity--outweighed his heavy eyelids. "If you dig out the snow pants, I'll get the hot chocolate," Annalie offered, wiggling her eyebrows.
Eddie smiled despite the early morning hours and the chill in the air. With the thrill and love found in young marriages, he eagerly wanted to make Annalie happy. So, throwing off the down comforter, he raced from closet to closet, cardboard box to cardboard box, searching for their snow pants. With the same vigor, Annalie dashed to the kitchen and got out the ingredients and a thermos to make her mother's Super Secret Hot Chocolate Recipe. She knew the other Bailor women would be awake, looking out their windows, or waking up their children for the season's first winter pennies.
Annalie buried her head in Eddie's pillow with the memory. Annalie longed for the snow like an old friend; someone to confide in, to tuck herself into, to make her feel like everything will be all right.
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