near the university

The snow has just stopped falling and everything glitters in the darkness. Behind me someone is singing, she sings a little off key but everyone knows the song anyway: “a beautiful sight…we’re happy tooonight…walkin’ in a winter wonderland.” A few passersby from the other direction smile. I turn around. There’s a woman in a parka, she’s maybe fifty, or she has smoked all her life and is younger than that. She’s got her arm hooked into the elbow of a man in a hoodie, she’s leaning in tight, smiling like a child caught sneaking something small but illicit. She catches my eye. “It’s a good song,” I say as they pass me by. She laughs and laughs and I stay still and listen to her until they round the corner and drift away.

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