An Abnormal Storm

January 23, 2009
By Melanie Flood, Chester, CT

New-Englanders have different opinions of snow. For some, winter is the best time of year. The temperature is chilly and the holiday spirit is in full swing. For others, it’s the exact opposite. Caroline was one of those people. She loved the holidays but hated the season they came in. She felt herself destined to live in a sunny climate like Florida, where it was swimsuit season all year long. As soon as the weather started to change from humid and sunny, to colder and windier, her mood changed as well. She went from giddy and happy, to cranky and borderline mean. Her parents always joked that her Christmas gift would be a one way ticket to California. Winter in itself was an enemy to Caroline, but snow was her worst enemy. When the weatherman began speaking of the vile white substance she went around the house turning on every light. It was her way of mimicking sunshine. Then she would curl up into a ball on the couch, blanket in hand. Once in a great while she would admit that the snow was pretty, but as far as convincing her to go outside, it wouldn’t happen. When she was forced to go outside to get to school or work, she put on a pout and all of her winter gear. She tied back her shiny blonde hair and tucked it under what looked like an Eskimo hat. She would wobble outside walking all of 2 miles per hour to avoid falling on ice. Bottom line was, when the sun wasn’t shining, neither was Caroline.

It was a brutal winter that year, several snowstorms had already hit by mid December. This of course left Caroline in a terrible mood. The first snowstorm she stayed inside. The second snowstorm she stayed inside. The third though, turned out much differently. The night before all that the weatherman could say was snow, snow, snow. In school that day, teachers were planning their days around a snow storm, assuming there would be no school the next day. Everything was pushed back a day; homework, tests, and sports games. Caroline had readied herself for the storm. She had made a stop at the library to get a book to last her through the night. She also made a stop at Blockbuster to get a movie to watch incase her book was terrible. That night, she sat at home watching the news when the phone rang. She answered in a dismal tone. It was her boss. He was begging her to work that night. She said she couldn’t, the weather was going to be bad. He knew that was no excuse. A waiter had called out and they were short handed. His excuse for calling her first was that she drove four wheel drive. After a fit of arguing she finally agreed. As she hung up, Caroline went from grumpy to miserable. As she dressed for work, Christmas Carols played on the radio. Caroline couldn’t resist Christmas songs. They lightened her mood. When she arrived at the restaurant it was busier than she expected. Caroline worked at an upscale restaurant in town that catered to the wealthy. She thought to herself that the weather must not affect the rich. The night was relatively busy and the tips were good. Caroline kept busy and remained friendly to customers despite the weather outside. Her shift went by pretty quickly and soon Caroline found herself outside in the snow again. Since she had arrived at work, 3 more inches of snow had accumulated to the earlier measurement of 2 inches. She shivered as she scraped the mound of snow off her large SUV. Not only had snow accumulated, but ice had as well. It had caked itself on every window. Caroline stood scraping her car for a good twenty minutes. Finally she tugged at the door handle to hop in the car. She pulled nothing. She pulled again, still nothing. She began to panic. This had never happened. She’d heard about cars freezing shut but didn’t believe it would happen to her. Especially now, why now? All Caroline wanted was to get into her warm car with Christmas Carols. She had to think. Try the other doors. She made her way around the large car to the passenger side door. Ok here goes. She pulled nothing. She pulled again, still nothing. She pulled hard this time, and thankfully the door popped open. Thank God, she thought. Now I can go home. She crawled across her front seat to the driver’s seat. She pushed the key into the ignition to start the car. It chugged, but didn’t roar. She tried again, still it didn’t roar.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” She shouted out loud. But, the car was not kidding. She hopped out of the passenger’s side door and stomped inside the restaurant. She found her boss. She told him the story, talking so fast he could barely understand her. He was busy.

“Not now, Caroline! Not now!” Furious, she huffed and stomped back outside. This time, someone was following her.

“Excuse me.” They said. “Could you use some help?” Caroline turned, and as she did she was greeted with a warm smile. Not only did this boy have a warm smile, he was definitely no eye sore. Blonde wavy hair bounced off his ears and green piercing eyes looked down at her.

“Uhhh, yes. I do.” She sputtered out. She led him out to her car. When he went to open the driver’s side door she went to tell him that it was frozen shut. But, before she could open her mouth he had pulled the door open. Strong, she thought to herself.

“It won’t start?” He asked.

“No I tried a few times but I didn’t want to flood the engine.” He smirked, surprised at her mechanical intelligence. He put his hand out for the keys which she willingly dropped into his large palm. He lifted himself into the large car with such grace, Caroline pictured herself getting into the car with him and driving off together into the sunset. The fact that it had been dark for three hours now didn’t seem to affect Caroline’s daydream. He slid the key into the ignition and the car spit and sputtered when he tried to start it as well.

“Could be the battery,” He sort of said to himself. “Let me bring over my truck and we can try and jump start it.” Caroline nodded. She stood next to where he had been seconds before, her feet planted in the pavement as so she wouldn’t fall over. I don’t even know his name, she thought. He must have been a customer eating his meal, how thoughtful of him to come out and help me. She was startled by the sound of the engine in his large pickup truck. He jumped out with long jumper cables in his hands. He motioned to her to pop the hood of her car. She stood, dazed for a second until she realized what he was asking for. Duh, she thought to herself. She pulled the lever and the hood popped open. He lifted it with ease. She watched as he connected to cables to each of their vehicles. When he finished, he got back into his car. He started it and waited. He motioned for her to get into her car. She complied. Again he waved and she tried to start her car. Still it sputtered and didn’t start. He came over to where she sat. She moved across the front seat to assume her position in the passenger seat. He climbed into the driver’s seat and attempted to start the car himself. Still, nothing. He turned the key backwards and slumped back in his seat.

“I give up,” he said. “How about we just call Triple A?”

“I don’t have Triple A,” Caroline said.

“Oh I do, I’ll call for you,” he replied back.

“You don’t have to do that,” Caroline said.

“It’s no problem.” He hopped out of her car to go to his. He pulled out his cell and rapidly dialed numbers. After several minutes, he returned to Caroline’s car.

“They’re on their way” he said. “So, I never caught your name.”

“It’s Caroline.” She said.

“I’m Adam. It’s nice to meet you.” He stirred up simple conversation; the weather, her car, the usual.

“It was really nice of you to help me out,” Caroline said, “I’d be pretty lost if you hadn’t.” She looked up and sort of batted her eye lashes at him.

“Yeah, I heard you talking to the big guy inside,” Adam said, “He didn’t seem like he cared and I thought I could help you get your car going. I guess I was wrong.” They sat there talking for several minutes when Caroline’s body let off an involuntary shudder.

“Are you cold?” He asked her.

“Freezing,” she said, “I hate winter.” He took of his black coat and draped it across her back. As he did, he scooted closer to her. He suddenly stopped abruptly.

“What’s the matter?” Caroline asked.

“Is this your boyfriends?” He asked as he lifted a baseball from underneath himself.

Caroline chuckled, “Actually it’s mine. I coach my little brother’s t-ball team. And, I don’t have a boyfriend.” His face lit up. She smiled. He came closer, and put his arm around her, and she let him. They sat that way for about an hour, talking, waiting for the tow truck. Finally, they heard the roar of the truck behind them. Caroline’s face fell.

“Would it be out of line for me to ask for your number?” He asked. She took his hand in hers, grabbing a pen from her center console. She wrote her phone number on his hand in girly cursive writing. They waited in the car together, as long as possible, until the tow truck driver knocked on the window and waved them out. They stood together huddled in the cold while the driver put the truck on the tow truck. Finally, the driver asked where to take the truck and if Caroline needed a ride. Before she answered, Adam jumped in.

“I’ll drive her.” He answered. As the tow truck drove away, Caroline hopped into Adam’s truck.

“Where to?” He asked.

“Wherever you’d like to take me.” Caroline answered. And so he drove. Caroline and Adam ended up spending a night on the town together, to a movie, to dinner, and by the time they drove home; they were driving into the sunrise.

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