Knowing her was like experiencing an Indian Summer in New England. She was an unexpected midseason, appearing from nowhere, bringing birds singing on balmy breezes and a renewed interest in sports, shorts, and sunshine. The fairer seasons' rarer promise that they haven't left us entirely, friendship's presence in the midst of long winter.
It doesn't matter that snow still hides in the shadows of mile-long stone walls or that trees remain leafless and although the wind is teethless, it still brings the smell of ice and cold. Good weather -like her- captivates and becomes its own kind of addiction. Accustomed to warm skin and genuine smiles and breath that doesn't burn throat and lungs, that first cold snap left frost on my hands, froze both cheeks, and made cold clouds out of every exhale.
Even that isn't so unpleasant. It can be disguised in conversation, "The weather decided to get serious about winter." It's in a relationship that needs attention and weather's unseasonable attitude toward warmth was a distraction from what everyone was expecting.
Her absence brought a cold, protected against in hand-knitted Christmas mittens and ugly second-hand sweaters. But what's the point of sweaters if they can't be awful and what becomes the worth of something when it's given away for something else?
Those are the kind of unreasonable questions you ask yourself after something like that happens. There's no way to answer, but once thought it comes out again on night drives, in hot showers, on long walks. Questioning sweaters. Who does that?