Snow, graupel so small it blows in coils of impossible wind-mocking vectors like stomped polystyrene. A family walks the other way, kids in snow-suits with reinforced knees and banana-bunch gloves. More families. Where are they going? Something is happening, as it often is. I don't know what it is. As I often don't. At the supermarket there are tall pyramids of beer on display and peanut-flavoured snack foods. Chocolate Weihnachtsmänner on sale at the back. Shops are selling fireworks for tomorrow, the snow outside dredged with foil confetti hearts and stars. And hats. Tall striped caricature top hats. Sombrero-type things with boa trims. Ones with bells. Hats are a thing.
I abandon the shopping in the hall and curl my frozen red-violet hands into the sheepskin on the living room floor, ow god ow ow while my fingernails stubbornly wrest the blood back from the ice. I pack away the oats, the smoked trout. The fillet of pork, the noodles and split peas and the vegetables that fix me with their Proper Meal gazes. The year trails in after me with the cold, rapid-fire edits, Saarlacc. Triffid. Dead Hyacinth. Castaway, Lost in Translation, sheets of the masterpiece blown in the wind, the crunch of warm ashes underfoot, birds in the wrong clothes. I lean forward against the pull, hem of the coat in the doorjamb, and close my eyes but it has the advantage, damn it and its physics-of-my-mind, and I am afraid because the leaning is a comfort, somehow, like being on a train so crowded you no longer have to hold yourself up.
In the morning I talk to my brother, wit and warmth and dangerous perspicacity like hot glass just in reach, popcorn eyebrows and diegetic chords for DRAMA from the keyboard to his left. So real, for the love of god, so real the snap-chilled windows seem like fictions.
Later I make blueberry muffins out of a cookbook with muffin-shaped pages. The bell rings and they are kitsch-defying, golden purple-stained munch-fests, nutmeg-scented and smug in their satisfaction of the archetype. They look at me butterishly. I arrange them in a dish.