Voices in the snow

“Have you ever noticed how snow falls?” he asked, stretching out his hand to catch passing flakes.

She looked up at him, surprised to be addressed, and shook her head almost imperceptibly.

The two of them waited at a bus stop, a safe distance separating them. No one else was in sight. The man stood upright and alert, his long, grey hair falling in curls from beneath a broad rimmed hat to the shoulders of his overcoat. The young girl was warmly clad in knee-length boots, thick woollen stockings and a fur-lined cloak. She appeared shy and retiring under her umbrella. Snow was falling heavily and all was quiet.

“It sounds like noisy silence,” he told her, taking a small step closer.

She immediately took a larger step away.

Unperturbed, he explained: “It hisses ever so gently.”

Looking skeptical, she cocked her head reluctantly to one side and listened. “It does indeed,” she had to admit.

“And if you listen carefully, you can hear voices.”

“Voices!” she exclaimed as she shifted further from him.

“Lots of them.”

She shook her head, worried. “I can’t hear anything.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said matter-of-factly and turned away about to set off through the deep snow.

“Wait! What do they say?”

He turned back, beaming. “An old woman says your hair would be curly if you let it grow,” he began, his voice barely a whisper, ” A boy whistles you a tune. A girl asks you your name…”

She looked up at him, staring a long moment questioningly into his eyes, then she relaxed and a broad smile spread across her lips.

An initial draft of this text was written during a workshop on scriptwriting given by Keith Bunin at the GWG.

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