The fog´s suddenly turned to mist. You can see the droplets circling like gnats in the gray air. They pepper my face, so I know it will become rain very soon.
We walk on. A cold breeze is blowing. There´s a hood on my coat, but it won´t stay on my head. And when it´s pulled all the way on, it flops down over my eyes. (It´s a great-looking coat. It may even still be fashionable.)
It´s after 10 a.m. on a Thursday, and we´re all out walking, me and Paddy and Una and Tim. It´s been a while. We used to always go, all together, for miles. But hardly ever since November, not since Paddy hurt his foot. One barefoot dash down the trail after the runaway donkey, one bad step, and for months things are skewed out of shape.
Paddy´s improving. He walks farther lately, but with a stick to help. I like to feel like we are tough people, but I know so well how fragile is our life out here.
I try to treasure up these ordinary days, the long discussions of what to make for lunch, chats about books and the news, how we always smile at each other from far down the length of the clean sheets as we fold laundry, and twiddle our fingers together when we get it folded closer in, to where we can touch. And when we´re out walking together, somewhere in a part of the trail where no one can see, we always have a little kiss. Even when the rain is coursing down my bangs and off the end of my nose. (Paddy will hate that I am writing this. There´s a reason why we don´t do this smoochy stuff in public. He is English, you see.)
One of these days something will happen to change this. Life won´t be this way any more. But I will have these notes I´ve taken, the memorized scent of rainy kisses and the feel of my husband´s whiskers scratching my cheek, and the curious, impatient look Tim always gives Patrick when we carry on so.
Someday me or Pad or one or the other of the dogs will be missing from the picture. And then the thought of these dull winter doldrum days will be the very thing that sweetness is made on. A walking stick tapping into the mud. A wet-dog smell. Cold snakes up over my glove-tops and into my sleeves.