The Winter Man

The Winter Man coverHe was sitting there, on that same park bench that has been written about thousands of times in poems, novels, songs, stories. I watched him from behind a tree as he flipped the pages of his book. Lonely bench, lonely man. And I just watched, the winter in his hair, in his skin, in his eyes.

Time burns slowly when you are watching. He flipped a page, softly, in a way that seemed more to be caressing the pages than turning them. He was a gentle man, a winter man. His eyes looked down the length of his nose, a cold stare rather than one from a man entirely warm, and alive.

A shiver went down my spine. He looked about him and back into his book. I was safe behind my tree, my hands clenched to the rough texture. Too shy to step closer and too frozen to step back. His winter was catching up with me, the coldness was creeping on me.

He sighed.

And it was like a wave of warmth came on to him. Even in his winter, there was something left in him, hidden. I was determined to find it.

Then again, I couldn’t move.

He rose to his feet. I thought he was leaving, that I had lost my chance, even if it was to blurt some incoherent words at him. But he sat again, he was just stretching out his legs, his long wintery legs. His eyes dropped back into his book, back to the cold stare, to caressing the pages.

I sighed.

Looked down at the dry grass and the roots of my tree.

“Did you know that I can hear you?” The cold went in through my ears, into my chest, my stomach.

He turned around. His wintery gust hit my face and I shuddered. He walked away, his winter walked away from me, and all turned warm.

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