Finally done with work. I deposit the child with the afternoon shift and head for the door. I already have my boots, scarf and coat on. I wriggle on my gloves and hat and step out the door directly into a pile of snow. It hasn't fully stopped snowing, however light it may be. Everything is covered in varying layers of white, making the winter scene even more grey. I grab my bike, pull the tires out of the snow and brush off the seat. I contemplate how soon I should actually ride it. Some streets are clear, some are icy, the sidewalks are a slushy mess. I make it to a clear road and start riding. I'm bundled up with a hat under my fur lined hood but I'm still cold.
I pull my scarf up higher. The problem is, if I leave my scarf over the lower half of my face, my breath somehow fogs up my glasses. I have to shove it down, breathe the painfully cold air and wait for my glasses to defrost. I made it to my first turn, and this street isn't quite clear. Nobody has any plans of clearing the snow. The street is purposely designed to be very narrow, I'm not sure why. There are random barriers where only one car can pass at a time. Some cars are slow and careful on the icy slush. Some are not and I'm forced to drive into the snowy gutters to avoid getting hit. It's fairly quiet though, and as I'm riding through the slush, I notice my gloves. They're red. My dad bought them for me in a South Carolina Walmart. They were $12, more than he wanted to spend. He got them anyway and made me promise I would really use them. All these years later, I still am.
And my hat, it's a darker red that happens to be my favourite color. My grandma took me shopping before I moved out of Miami. We went to dadeland mall. Come to think of it, the top I'm wearing is from her too. I drove her little blue jeep to dolphin mall and she told me stories of clothes she had when she was young and how similar some of the styles are now. My sweater is one I used to share with my sister. She was nice enough to concede ownership when we ended up in different cities.
My mom took me shopping too. She bought me tons of leggings and tank tops, explaining how a pair of leggings, a long tank and sweater are the perfect outfit for work. I wear them UNDER my work clothes now, pretty much every day. The coat my dad picked out and the boots Anthony took me to buy. I'm pretty sure my in-laws got me these pants too.
I made it to my building. The parking lot is a horrible slushy mess and I almost fall twice before I get off and wade through. I fumble with the door to the bike shed, try to manage my bike lock while wearing gloves and finally head up the stairs. As I'm wrestling my boots off, trying to keep my hood out of my eyes and trying to unlock the door with frozen fingers, it finally hits me.
I may be cold, tired and 4,000 miles from home, but there are people that love me and their love is literally keeping me warm.
Thanks you guys. Love you.