Winter Nights In West Virginia
The cold West Virginia wind sweeps down the mountainside through swaying pine trees as a panther’s lonesome cries collide with the icy wind causing a chill tingling up her spine. Stars twinkle in the night sky as clouds overtake them. Her pregnant body clumsy on the freshly fallen snow. She tries to bring warmth back into her blue fingertips bitten by Jack Frost’s numbing winds before continuing to chop more firewood for the archaic wood oven that keeps their single-wide trailer warm.
“He had a hard time keeping a job for some reason, so she knew that it wasn’t a job keeping him away these long hours.”
Two little boys occasionally stick their blonde heads out the door to make sure their mother was still chopping wood. The boys’ blue eyes shine excited for the hot chocolate they know Mother will make once she returns inside with the chopped wood. She looks up with wind-whipped tears freezing lightly on her face, her breath creates little smoking puffs. “Close the door and stay warm, I will be in soon,” she says as she smiles at her little boys. She splits the last piece of wood hidden by the blue tarp. Hopefully, this will be enough to last through the night, she speculates as she looks at the pile of wood.
Maybe he will return by tomorrow morning. She was never sure of where he was or what he was doing when he left and stayed gone all day and night. He had a hard time keeping a job for some reason, so she knew that it wasn’t a job keeping him away these long hours. They relied on government assistance to pay the bills and put food on the table of their growing family. This type of thinking was getting her nowhere tonight. Wood had to be split and the damned pipes were once again frozen up.
“Things are sure to change, at least that’s what he promises.”
The quaint three bedroom trailer, unfortunately, has no underpinning to protect the pipes from the harsh unforgiving cold. She keeps jugs of water for times like these but she has waited long enough and it was apparent he would not be returning home tonight. She yells for her oldest son to bring her the flashlight as she grabs the blue torch. Her knees sink into the muddy snow as her protruding belly is full of movement as the baby girl she carries stretches and dances. She hums to her little one while she runs the torch in a swaying motion near the frozen pipes.
“It’s okay little one,” she says out loud. Things are sure to change, at least that’s what he promises. She shakes the snow from the black toboggan and her thick jacket as she stomps the too big boots of snow and mud. Her gloves soak and wet sticks to her red pruney hands. Her two lively boys appear wide-eyed at her entrance. The oldest one declares, “Mommy, when I get big you will never have to do things like this again.” She brushes the hot tears from her eyes and asks, “who wants hot chocolate?”