The snow fell heavily, and the wind playing with the flakes made them whirl into the woman's eyes as she approached a low red building. She huddled down, pulled her heavy coat tighter around her body to keep out the cold, and jogged in spite of the ice under her feet. As much as she loved western Massachusetts, she hated the winters with a passion.
When she reached the short stair leading up to the front door, she glanced down at the concrete and smiled. Someone had been up early and brushed the snow off the steps. It was a nice but futile gesture in weather like this.
Futile or not, it made her feel welcome. Coming back to work wasn't too bad after all. She'd taken a few days of vacation between Christmas and New Year’s, and the week that seemed so long when the holidays started flew by.
Safe from the cold, she tried to shake the snow from her coat just inside the door, before heading to the lunchroom to pick up a cup of coffee to get the chill out of her bones. The Christmas decorations that seemed so cheery and bright a few weeks earlier hung dusty and dull. It didn't seem likely they would fade just because the holidays were over, but they did seem to possess a magical beauty that only worked through December each year.
Heavy footsteps woke her from her reverie and she looked up, flashing a smile when she saw a tall man with his hands shoved deep into his pockets. "Good morning, Mark."
He glanced to the side and grumbled something unintelligible.
"Oh, aren't you in quite a mood today."
A smile tugged at his lips, and he looked a little guilty. "I'm sorry, Jen. It's just that being home is very good compared to being here. Gimme an hour or so..."
Shrugging, the woman took her mug and continued the few steps to her office, sipping the hot, black brew. Mark made her smile; he was unique. He was the only man she knew who truly appreciated being at home with his family.
About an hour later someone entered the small office, and Jenny looked up with a big smile. "Nori, it's so good to see you. It seems like an eternity since we were here, and at the same time it feels like yesterday. Isn't it strange?"
Familiar voices drifted in through the door.
"Do we have any coffee?"
"Oh my, what happened to you?"
"My wife bought me skis for Christmas."
Jenny tossed her pen on the desk. "I have a good feeling about this. It'll be the best year ever."
Nori laughed and brushed snow out of her long dark locks. She tossed her coat on a chair. "I hope you're right, girl. Last year sure wasn't too exciting."
A few minutes later, another colleague entered the office and Jenny tried again, but no one shared her enthusiasm for a new year. Most of them said it was just more of the same old that wouldn't stop until death.
Like it this far? Come back tomorrow for some more! ;-) You can also see the book here.