Storms had buried our patio under white powder and sculpted hoary mounds atop planters. The skeleton of a rose bush danced in the wind. Our deck umbrella hung in frozen folds impervious to the bluster that had overturned Ben’s hammock. It seemed impossible anyone had ever rested there. Birches stretched peeling spines toward heaven, as their branches reached out across the yard, abandoned by robins, sparrows, cardinals, and jays. I mourned the absence of their morning chatter.
I slumped back to bed, but winter stalked me there, too, robbing me of sleep. Like a cold breath down my neck, an air current from the furnace sneaked under the blankets. I wrapped covers around me tight as a mummy; still, I shivered. The comforter offered no comfort.