The pier wasn’t shoveled very well. The snow was simply coming down way too fast for that. About knee deep, it didn’t take long for wetness to slide into her boots, melting around her toes and making her socks bunch. The bench beneath her had warmed with her body heat, and she breathed into mitten-clad hands more for something to do than because she was cold.
A janitor was emptying out a trashcan not ten feet away. He kept looking in her direction; expression puzzled as if wondering what the hell she was doing there. Snow storm and an empty pier, except for the lone girl huddled in her scarf. Not many people come to the beach when it snows. The salt in the air isn’t as pungent. Dull, muted. The water is too cold to swim in. Snow clumps the sand. Not even the carnival is open to visitors, a wasteland of empty stalls and locked gates. The many lights, typically so bright in the summer eves, now lifeless and dark. From her seat at the end of the pier, she could just make out the outline of the Ferris wheel amidst the grey clouds and white snowfall, still and desolate.
Carnivals are something to be enjoyed, she couldn’t help but think, not something to be abandoned. For just a moment she entertained the thought that maybe, just maybe, she could even hear the creaking of the Ferris wheel seats as they swung empty in the snowy breeze.
He came back to her then, his footsteps crunching in the deep snow. A cup was held in her direction, and she knew just by the smell he’d gotten her favorite: chai tea. She took it from him, the warmth instantly seeping past her mittens. “You feeling better?” he asked, taking a seat beside her.
She couldn’t help but smile. “Of course.” It was there, nestled against his side, that all was right in the world.
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