Jennifer Simon is watching a snowfall in Youngstown Ohio from her apartment window. She remembers sledding as a child, decides to recapture the memory, suits up and heads for the sled hill—without a sled. She’s loaned one, sits down and …
The harsh wind during her trip down also made her eyes water, and she was suddenly trying to blink away the moisture. Within seconds, she started to shriek as she found herself on a guaranteed collision course with another sledder.
They intersected like two high-speed cars, and sleds went tumbling through the air.
Getting up a few seconds later, Jennifer’s first reaction was anger. She’d come here to enjoy a perfect, worry-free moment.
“Hey!” she yelled acidly, poking a mitten-covered finger into the stranger’s chest after they both rose from their crash. (And I have to say, do I not write better than this?)
But then she saw…
A short, solid man in a hooded silver snowsuit, with silver mittens that weren’t mittens. He was silver from head to toe, no zippers, no buttons, no fasteners of any kind visible. Sleek as a seal—or a spaceship.
“I know you!” Jennifer cried. And in a rush, the years danced away like snowflakes in the wind.
It is you! he said, with that voice inside her head that twinkled like starlight shining on snow. The voice she had not heard since she was six years old.
She had been six when she met the strange kid in the silver snowsuit. The kid who loved sledding as much as she did. The quiet kid who could ride a sled as fast as a rocket-ship, fearless. They had spent hours on the sled hill, until it was dark, until her mother intercepted her at the bottom of the hill and dragged her home half-frozen, for cocoa and supper with the family. She’d wanted to invite her new friend home too, because he didn’t seem to have a parent there. He’d been all alone. But when she looked back, he had vanished from the sled hill, and so had his silver saucer, the coolest sled she had ever seen. No trace of him. Jennifer never saw him again.
“I’ve looked for you!” But not all winters were full of snow. Some were mild, and there was no sledding. And the kids on the hill changed. Too old for sledding, other pleasures calling, like ice hockey or cheering. And then college, and jobs. She had gone home to eat supper, and go to bed early, get good grades, get a job, find an apartment. And none of it—none of it—was as exciting as flying down the sled hill on a shining silver saucer, she realized.
I looked for you too. Stars inside her head, sparkling like diamond dust. And a smile on his silver face, glittering in his dark almond-shaped eyes. Jennifer sensed that he had not forgotten her as quickly as she had forgotten him. And maybe for him, growing up was different. We do not always come here, he explained. He didn’t explain whether “here” was Youngstown, Ohio or planet earth. With her, that did not matter.
He stretched out his hand, as silver as his voice, and cupped her face with it, his thumb under her chin. I looked for you every snow. Jennifer felt a tingle, like a zap of static electricity, only in every last cell of her body. His eyes were as dark as outer space. They captured her. She could not look away. Jennifer stepped closer, into his arms, into a kiss like nothing she had ever felt before.
Come with me.
The sparks in her head were more like fireworks, Chrysanthemums and Roman Candles and Zambelli Starbursts, pale blue and lavender and frosty white.
“Yes,” Jennifer said. She knew what he meant. They climbed aboard his silver saucer-sled and shot back up the hill together. Snow and frost scattered around them like stars. The wind burned their faces, but it felt exciting, like drinking champagne. He spun the saucer about in a wave of ice crystals, and back down the hill they went, shrieking with delight, dodging trees and other sleds. They kept at it until there were no other sleds on the sled hill, and they were alone, the last two creatures in the universe.
Come with me, he invited again. And Jennifer knew exactly what he meant, what he offered.
“Yes,” Jennifer said again.
And a little later a silver saucer rose into the night sky, trailing silver vapor that condensed into thousands of pale pink hearts, which vanished one by one by one, as the flying saucer passed the stars of Orion and kept on going into happily ever after.
So there you are: True Love and a clever ending in less than 750 words. And Teddi Black was kind enough to do the cover!