FRIDAY: Winter Eve at Walker Creek

BY MITHELL TOEWS

Copyright is held by the author.

THE THREE gathered, tall and awkward, beside the street. Wide-eyed, they stared at the traffic streaming out of the city centre. A daylong drizzle had just begun to turn to fine snow and they stood back from the curb on the grass, partially hidden by a cluster of birch trees.

Streetlights glowed in the falling snow and the wet pavement seemed to steam.

The tallest of the three was conveniently the oldest too and she studied the cars as if she might know one of the drivers. She tracked each vehicle as it passed. Eager to lead a dash across the street, she waited for a break in the line.

Richelieu was jammed with shoppers carrying home last minute gifts, food, and bottles of wine. Buses, trucks and taxis competed for space. On the road too were churchgoers; their minivans loaded with robed wise men and lowing cattle, cozy in their car seats.

Everyone had a place to be that evening.

On slender adolescent legs, vulnerable to the cold, the three sisters walked to the park. A motionless Buddha, it sat waiting in the darkness beside the confused agitation of the rue.

After crossing the street – lively heels hollow on the pavement – they regrouped and carried on along the sidewalk, single file. Red taillights lit the roadway, snaking down the slope to the traffic signal below. A few drivers called to them; others whistled but were ignored.

Reaching a broken section of fence, each in turn stepped through the breach, lifting petite legs well above the tangled wire. Close now to their rendezvous they hurried towards the trail in the woods, obscure in the dim light.

There they were! Shoulders hunched and stamping the snow they huddled in the overgrown cusp of the woods. Their masculine faces were caught in the swinging strobe of headlights from Frontenac Drive as vehicles merged with the moving river of red. Their heavy breath showed in white clouds through the branches.

Eyes bright, the three young does held their heads up to scent the males and then cantered, forelegs high, across the sleety grass.

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