When the first snow fell that winter in Boston, Gen took a picture from her kitchen window and texted it to Shannon. She got a response almost immediately: a string of sad faces and #jealous.
Yeah, poor you, she texted back, rolling her eyes. I bet you're still wearing your bikini.
She was pretty sure Shannon didn't actually own a bikini, so she wasn't surprised when all she got was Ha ha, yeah right. She grinned.
Then, for the next week, she was bombarded with texts. Most of them were screenshots of Shannon's weather app, showing the balmy temperature, or selfies of Shannon wearing sun glasses or eating ice cream or lounging in her goalie pads next to a sparkling blue river. Some of them looked far too idyllic to be real.
Are you learning photoshop? Gen demanded, and it only got worse after that.
Gen was used to winter, and she honestly didn't mind the cold. And despite her barrage of texts, Shannon seemed a little homesick for the snow. Gen knew that Georgia wasn't a place Shannon had ever expected to end up, much less end up playing professional hockey. She felt ridiculous sometimes with how proud she was of Shannon. But she also (selfishly) wished they lived a little closer to one another. When they'd played for Team Canada, they used to hang out all the time, making soup and drinking wine and playing Cards Against Humanity and watching Arrested Development on Netflix. Gen missed her. Georgia seemed impossibly distant from Boston.
Getting every one Shannon's dumb texts made her heart trip over itself and she couldn't help but smile.
The next day, when she went outside, Gen paused next to the low wall that ran in front of her building. It was dusted with fresh, undisturbed snow, and looked sparkling white in the morning sun.
She tugged off her mittens and used her forefinger to write MISS U in the crisp, white snow. She snapped a photo and sent it to Shannon.
miss u 2, Shannon wrote back, almost immediately.
Gen grinned and sent her a string of heart emojis. Then, her heart starting to beat a little more wildly in her chest, she sent I really do miss you. A lot. I wish you were here with me. Then she added a smiley face blowing a kiss.
She stared down at her phone as a biting wind picked up and made her shiver. Three dots blinked at her, so she knew Shannon was writing her back. Gen clutched her phone.
I really miss you, too, came Shannon's text back, And I wish we were in the same place right now. It was accompanied by an emoji of a red rose.
As declarations went, neither of them had said much of anything. But there was a warmth blooming in Gen's chest and a smile breaking across her face, and she felt like she could walk on air. She barely felt the chill of the sharp wind.
Sometimes the distance didn't seem quite as impossible, after all.