The coldest on record. Here in Maine, temps of teens and twenties becoming the norm. Mavis Farnsworth in a pine green sweater. Makes her look like Christmas, her husband, Tom, says.
“I’d sure like to unwrap you,” he adds with a twinkle. She bakes him sugar cookies instead.
He turns on the little TV, all black and white and rabbit ears. These days, the news is always the same. Words like freakish and ice age and end of the world. The anchorman puts on ear muffs as a joke, but the weatherman says it’s not funny.
The weatherman talks about a cooling sun, and predictions of ocean waves freezing mid-curl. Cuts to Florida where the local station shows icy palm trees with shivery fronds. Then, a citrus farmer, puffy cloud breath, screwdrivers open an orange, the fruit inside like broken glass. “My wife just bought a winter coat,” he says.
Watching this, Mavis just sighs. She has lived in winter coats all her life. Tom snaps off the TV and comes up behind her. He slips the pine tree sweater off of Mabel’s birdy shoulder.
“Forget all that,” he says. “Nothing but fear and commercials.” He walks her towards their patchquilt bed.
Mavis looks at the timer. Twenty minutes left till the cookies are done. She doesn’t like to interrupt her day, but figures Tom needs something to do. He dims the light to a dark charcoal. Outside the window, ice beginning to lace the trees. The sun going cold as a stone.