Feathers From the Sky(3)

By: Posy Roberts

With Dad’s meager professor’s salary, we’d never been able to afford a snow blower. Even if we could’ve, he wouldn’t pay for one because “it’s just another contraption that runs on gas, consumes oil, and needs to be maintained.” When you had nine people in the family you had to provide for, I could understand that. Besides, he had seven kids who could get outside like I was now and move it by hand. Get us all out there at once, and the driveway and sidewalks would be cleared in ten minutes, until we’d mess it all up again with a snowball fight or the decision to create a snowman family if the snow was just right.

I smiled at my thoughts. We’d had a lot of fun times like that in the winter, not to mention the water balloon and squirt gun fights we’d had during the summertime. Outdoors, I could handle the loud noises and chaos much better than inside the house.

My cell phone rang in my pocket, and I pulled my glove off with my teeth, spitting the fabric onto the ground while I dug in my jeans to find it. Philip’s gorgeous eyes were smiling up at me before I hit “answer” and stooped to pick up my glove.

“Hi,” I said in a soft voice I would’ve been teased about if I’d used it in the house near any one of my siblings.

“Hi, sexy. How’s today going so far?” Philip’s voice sounded happy and relaxed.

“I’m out shoveling. Does that tell you anything?”

“It got to be too much and you needed a break, is what that tells me.” He knew me very well. We’d been living together for well over a year, and he’d witnessed my reaction to large crowds on several occasions.

I could be sociable. I made it sound as if I was this turd who wanted to be holed up alone in a darkroom developing photos all day long. That’s not really true, although right there, at that moment, that sounded like one of the most wonderful ideas in the world.

I loved socializing, up to a point. Philip and I could go to a club or a party in downtown Minneapolis and dance or mingle for hours, but then I needed to go back home to recover. All those people hanging around energized him. They exhausted me. So I partied in small doses, and Philip got that. Other boyfriends and girlfriends had chided me for being boring or killing the party, but never Philip.

Even if Philip had had a different experience growing up than I had, he got me, and I loved him for that. He grew up traveling with his parents. His dad owned a business that required him to go and schmooze people all over the world, and his mom had insisted they take Philip and his older sister with them on every trip. So Philip learned to schmooze at a very early age and had often become the center of attention. He hadn’t even gone to a typical school until college, but now he had a great job in Minneapolis working for his dad, so it all paid off.

He was the visual arts guy for the marketing department. That’s how we met. He’d wanted to buy some of my photos for an ad campaign. We ended up meeting for drinks so he could see more of my portfolio.

“I figured if I shoveled the driveway, I could walk to the liquor store,” I said to Philip with a chuckle. “Trust me, we all need something to deal with the noise.”

“Or you could drive.”

“Nah. It’s only three miles away, and it’s sort of gorgeous out. You know when the snow is so white and clean that it sparkles when the light hits it just right?”

“I can’t wait to see it.”

A goofy grin spread across my face. I could tell how stupid I’d look if I had a mirror. “I can’t wait for you to be here. When do you think you’ll make it?”

“I was thinking about leaving in a few hours. If the roads are good, I can probably make it there by about two or two thirty. Or is that too early?”

“No. That’s perfect. Don’t be stupid trying to get here fast, though. You’ll be saving your eardrums with another half an hour of peace.”

“Surely being all together makes it chaotic,” he said with one of his wise laughs that really meant Don’t worry. I won’t judge.

“Text me when you’re close?”

“Sure. Remind me of the landmarks again?”

“Okay.” I chuckled. “After you turn off the interstate, you’ll pass the Jolly Green Giant statue on your right. He’s huge; you won’t miss him. Go a ways past the football field, and then you’ll start driving out in the country. Turn on Fifty-Ninth, take Ramsey back toward town, then Round Robin Lane, and you’ll find the house. It’s the only red one on the block. Call me if you get lost.”

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