Winter Renewal


Winter Renewal

She had come outside as a means of escape, though the recent snowfall prevented them leaving the property. In the clear air, the silence was a balm to her ears. They’d heard nothing but arguments for three days, and now the gelid gusts were an ice pack to every ache her ears and the rest of her body had developed. She stepped through the crusted snowdrifts without thinking about him; her mind was busy counting steps – one, two in the sun, one in the shadow of the birch, one, two, three in more sun, one, two in the shadow of the oak. It distracted and calmed her, and she suddenly recalled all the strategies her old therapist had taught her years ago, the ones to tamp her anger or fear or anxiety. Counting had always been her go-to; she would turn to it automatically at times like this, like a comforting friend with a ready shoulder. Now, her pulse slowed and her shoulders relaxed with each pace through the yard.

She squinted when she circled toward the sun. The morning rays bounced off the white snow like a mirror. It always amazed her how the sun could burn brighter in January than it did in July. She wished it was now July, or December, or any time but now, anywhere but here. Fragments of their last argument replayed in her head again, and as her heartbeat quickened she found she could not stop the tapes. Over and over she heard, “What do you want to do, leave?!” She’d shouted it at him, but really she wished he’d have said it to her, so she could’ve said yes. He hadn’t; he’d hesitated. Instead he answered “no,” pathetic and full of guilt, and the word fell like a trap around her. So she’d slashed him over and over with brutal words, none undeserving, about his dalliances and her grievances, the accusations stacking higher than the fieldstones on their cottage chimney. He hadn’t had the guts to ask her what she wanted, and she wasn’t brave enough to say it, unprompted.

This home had always been a place of renewal for her – for them – together. It was secluded but never lonely, the weekend home they came to when they needed moments focused only on each other. It always felt expansive to her, but now she was trapped by all of its four rooms, even by its six acres of wilderness. The forests and glades went on beyond her view, but there would never be enough room for her to feel free. Not while she was with him.

Coming clean about his betrayal may have cleared his conscience, but she swore it would never exonerate him. He would never again be as pure as this snow, this beautiful sparkling snow. She realized she could never touch him again and wouldn’t want to see him, either. This snow, she thought, is my renewal after all – from him.

Katherine Benfante

Katherine is an engineer by training and a writer by passion.  She is currently raising her two daughters while writing in all the spare time she can carve out of each day. Ariel Chart is her first writing credit.


  1. Good use of metaphor to describe kicking a creep to the curb. You go girl.

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