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snow drift

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Her winter coat is absolutely wrecked.

(Love will keep you warm, but it won't stop the baby from puking or the cats from shedding or the moths from gnawing an ever-growing hole just about tit level.)

Cindy's been lucky. The chill, so far, has been mild. Easily cut with a blazer or an extra blanket, or Natalie's body tucked, firm, against hers when they sleep in past the alarm. ("He'll go back to sleep, I promise.")

It's mid-December and frost is creeping up the windows. She can't keep spending lunch break huddled over her steering wheel, breathing in clouds. But instead of shopping, she falls asleep with the baby on her chest, the cats curled up around her feet.

When she wakes up, her glasses are pressed to her forehead and Natalie has replaced the cats, Cindy's feet in her lap and Natalie's fingers running slowly back and forth over the argyle. "I got you something," she whispers, "and it's bigger than a breadbox."

Cindy shifts, and the baby goes on sleeping. "Oh?" She moves slowly, one hand light against the tiny rise and fall of lungs, running her free fingertips over the fabric, patched, clean.

"Maybe not what you pictured or what you're used to, but I think I fixed it."

"So you did," Cindy says, smelling Spring.