The Snow Queen stands before the floor-to-ceiling window. Her blue eyes are fixed on the whirling snow. Outside, the blizzard rages. Inside, silence and the occasional breath of ice that dances through the frozen rooms.
An elevenish girl pedals on a dirt road that crosses a meadow. The town is a moment away by bike and Momma asked for a pound of flour.
She likes the cool breeze on her face and the feel of her sleek hair blown back. Her hair roots crinkle. She wiggles her nose to get rid of the itch without letting go of the handle bars.
The wind girl flies by her side and takes pleasure in the matching sky and eyes. Azure irises ringed around with dark under grey brows. The brows rise in expression of joy, at the exhilarating freedom of speed on the bicycle. The wind girl knows and understands: freedom came from the wind, in the beginning of the world.
November, what’s it like to feel tied to a bone, an arm, a leg?
November Katherine, Kathy for short, November on days when Momma’s mind is occupied with future-think, can’t exactly hear the wind girl, but she senses something in the breeze. What’s it like to be a breath, to travel the world from top to bottom, to float on the warm air of the sea? Her voice goes out and a whisper comes back, but it sounds like nonsense.
They arrive at the town. The wind girl goes to play with a pile of raked leaves. The street sweep says Merde. Kathy parks her vehicle at the side of the bakery and the door jingles as she pushes it open.
Momma wants a pound of wheat flour, please.
Of course, Elaine.
The baker hums in the back. He comes back with the goods.
Michel, did you call me Elaine?
I don’t think so. Only two names you have, eh?
For now. Do you know about the doppelgänger?
An Other. A double.
In your lectures?
Yes. An etiäinen. Like shadows. They go Before you when you walk away from the sun. They do the things you were going to do, before you get a chance to do them. That’s one version.
The leaves blow into the local. Ah, Merde.
Did you just sweep?
Winds are tricky. Have a good afternoon!
She leaves the bag in her bicycle basket and walks away, down the street to the town plaza.
The bell tower gongs four. The leaves rustle on the cobblestones, towards the fountain. Kathy follows. Like shadows, like wind, she says. She sits on the edge and looks into the rippling mirror. Like Narcissus and his reflection. Like Echo, and her reverberations. But they come After.
Her hand dips under the glass. Things are prettier underwater.
The wind girl kisses Kathy’s cheek and flies up to the sculpture in the center of the fountain pool. She smirks at the sad stone face, forever entrapped in rock.
Time flows in the waves of yellow grass on the outskirts of the town. It curls in clouds of blazing white, high up. It pales with the Moon, still higher, rendered a mere ball of granite during the day. It measures itself in the steady beats of Kathy’s heart.
Elaine was the Girl from the Sea, who bewitched the borroughs a century ago. She brought the ocean with her. Somehow the statue is tied to her. A symbolic representation of her soul, the town’s book says. Kathy isn’t sure. She feels there’s a different, closer explanation.