The slosh of water slapping from underneath the plate as I dumped it on the draining board startled the cat. Henry dived under the pine kitchen table and looked up with giant turquoise eyes. He had seemed spooked all day. I smiled as I looked out the window to see the kids running under an ashen sky, grabbing tufts of snow and spraying it above their heads in a flurry of excitement.
A delicate hoarfrost encased all the way around my car. They were darting around it, creating troughs of snow behind them. It made me uneasy although the fog of remembering why eluded me.
I had forgotten I was toasting almonds and their burnt piquancy lingered in the air long after the fire alarm had erupted with a shrill urgency to stop me in my tracks. They wanted baked Alaska. So that’s what I was making them.
I watched as the kids started to roll the powdered slush into large balls.
I looked down at my finger and saw that I had cut myself. Probably on a peeler. I wiped the wound but no break in the skin revealed itself. The blood slid off into the soapy washing up bowl.
‘Mummy!!’ screamed one of the children. ‘A snowman!’
I looked up.
But he had no carrot for a nose, or coal for buttons, or smile upon his frozen face.
Just impenetrable glassy eyes staring out from underneath my car.