All Roads Lead To Winter
Her Slow, Feline Smile
On the second afternoon of his fifth year in the camp (two decades after the parallel displacement), Thomas Bridge stepped out of the warm greenhouse into the sharp air of day's end. He inhaled deeply, felt the sting of winter in his nostrils and lungs, and took a moment to savor the warm tinge of red on the snow. The light suited the cut rose that he held in his gloves: a late-blooming Hybrid Tea with a sunset hue of its own and a deep, rich fragrance. He inhaled that, as well, and the mellow sweetness brought to him the sudden image of his wife.
More than just an image, a memory:
Major's Hill Park, behind the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. Green leaves in the still air; and beyond, the green copper slopes and the gardens of black wrought-iron that crowned the Parliament buildings. Humidity and stifling heat.
And his wife: leaning on a stone fence, cool and trim in a white shirt and brown corduroy pants, cool and slim beneath his palms as he reached to embrace her from behind, cool and rounded and yielding beneath the press of his thighs and loins as he held her close. He rubbed the side of his face against hers, then watched the slow, almost feline smile that transformed her beauty into something even more haunting.