“Can we build a snowman in your yard?”
Startled, you whirl around to see two children in your driveway. A little boy and an even smaller girl.
Since they’ve already gotten down and started, you laugh and say “sure” before continuing shoveling.
“Do you guys live on this road?” you ask, stopping to catch your breath.
“Yeah,” says the boy. His arms gather snow around the ball the girl made, enlarging it, while she starts another one.
“Are you brother and sister?”
“Yeah!” yells the girl, laughing as she rolls her ball ever larger.
Despite the chill you peel off your sweat soaked hat and toss it.
“You want to switch?” you ask. “I’ll make a snowman and you guys shovel for me?”
They both shake their heads. The boy lifts the rough clump of snow onto the base and forms a torso.
You turn back to your task, making sure not to exert yourself.
“We’re done!” you hear them both say, so you pitch your shovel into the snow and turn to see.
They’ve picked up your discarded cap and placed it atop the snowman’s head.
“How does he look?” asks the little girl.
You try to answer but cannot. You have no voice.
And you’re suddenly very cold. Freezing cold.
The glare of the sun off the snow has blinded you.
You’re having a heart attack from overdoing it.
Slowly your vision clears and you realize.
The children are gone.
There is only you, looking back at you!
You see yourself come closer, inspecting yourself.
For a moment there is a look of concern or distress on your face, replaced quickly with a wry smile.
Then you watch yourself walk back to the house, leaving the shovel where it lay.