A Snow Day by A. M. Linton

On Sunday night, the meteorologist on the evening news was calling for a dusting of snow, and when Sonya heard that, she thought, “Oh, that’s nothing.”

The following morning her six-year-old brother Jeffery woke her up with a loud whisper, a few inches from her face, “Sonya, wake up. It’s a snow day.”

“No, it’s not,” Sonya said groggily, opening one eye.

“Yes, it is,” he said, still whispering, “come and see.”

A few minutes later, after dragging herself out of bed, to her bedroom window, with her red and white floral blanket wrapped around her, she exclaimed to her younger brother,

“If this is a dusting of snow, ah, I don’t want to see their definition of a little snow.”

“You see,” Jeffery said, with his forehead glued to the window, “I told you, it’s a snow day!”

“Sorry, little bro,” she says, yawning, “even though it’s more than I thought, it’s not enough for a snow day.”

“Aww,” he signed, “but I’ll get to play in it at school, right?”

“I don’t see why not,” she softly replied.

“Good,” he said, turning and running across her light-grey carpeted bedroom floor and through the opened door.

Sonya smiled, then shaking her head, she shuffled over to the bedroom door, closed it and, yawning again, returned to bed. Time for her second round of sleep.

Her stepmom, instead of her dad, usually take Jeffery to school. Sometimes, she would drop Sonya off at Fraser B. University, where she was in her second year of undergrad in Business. Today, however, Sonya would take the bus and sky train there. Her one class for the day was at eleven a.m., so she had more than enough time to get ready. So, she was going to stay in bed a bit longer.

A few hours later, Sonya wearing skinny blue jeans and a navy blue and white striped shirt under her light gray hoody, was almost ready to leave home. Not too long before, to her surprise, no more snow fell, the sun came out, and when she stepped outside, the snow on the pathway from her apartment complex to the bus stop was practically gone. Yes, some snow was still holding on to the grass next to the sidewalk, but that was also slowly fading.  

What was surprising, though, was the number of people at the bus stop to the Sonny Central Station and the packed platform for the train to Welches. It seemed as though everyone, except for her stepmom and father, had abandoned their vehicles for the day. It looked as though the recent “gong show,” as her dad would put it, on the roads when the snow fell in December was fresh in many people’s minds. Cars were skidding into ditches, public buses couldn’t move because of the quantity of snow on the roads, and the usual half-hour car ride had turned into a three-hour marathon for some.

Yes, it was a gong show, alright, Sonya thought as the memory of the last snowfall passed through her mind.

The train pulled up and came to a complete stop, and when Sonya stepped onto it, she saw a baby in a black and grey stroller. He looked about a seven-month-old boy. He was partly sitting up and partly lying down in the stroller. Sonya assumed the woman with him was his mom, and she was looking for something at the bottom of the stroller. Sonya found a seat close to them, and the packed train moved within seconds.  

Less than five minutes into the ride, the baby coughed for a few seconds, then stopped. The train made its first stop, and when one person left, several more entered and blocked the baby and Mom from her view, but she could still hear him coughing on and off.

The train stopped again, and the mom and baby were again in Sonya’s view when she glanced up from her cell phone. The mom was trying to put the still coughing baby into a lying position in the now lowered stroller. The baby started crying and struggled to sit up, and his mother obliged.  

The baby continued to cough, and suddenly his body was rejecting what seemed to have been his most recent meal, and now it was on the front of his stroller and his clothes. A few customers jumped away from the baby as if escaping splatting hot oil on a stove. The person sitting next to me tightened the nose grip of his mask. Then as if on second thought, he decided to keep his hand over his mouth and nose.

“If the babies are sick, you should keep them at home,” someone called out.

Sonya’s braided head swivelled in the direction from which the voice came, but the speaker was not immediately evident. So, she turned her attention back to the mom and her baby.   

The mom was now stooping at the stroller again, and this time she came up with a lime-green washcloth.

She began wiping the baby’s clothing.  

Sonya saw herself getting up from her seat, walking over to the mom and baby and offering to help them. However, today, she had only one tissue in her coat pocket, and her water bottle was at home because she was not walking with her lunch bag. So, she allowed gravity to keep her in her seat.   

Paul Station was quickly approaching, and Sonya would leave this train and transfer to another. The train announced the approaching station, and as Sonya put her orange and black backpack on her back, she saw that the mom also seemed to be preparing to leave the train.  

The train pulled into the station, stopped, opened the doors, and Sonya walked through it behind the mom as she pushed the stroller. After clearing the entrance to the train, the mom stopped, and Sonya continued to walk past her, but after two steps, she turned back and asked,

“Is your son okay?”  

The mom was now wiping the top of the stroller with a tissue, and without looking up, she replied, “he has a cold, that’s all. Soft foods, liquid and lots of rest are what he needs.”

“No medication?” Sonya asked, focusing on the mom’s circular face.

This time she looked up, and Sonya smiled at her.

The mom took a deep breath and returned a brief smile before saying, “I just took him to the Doctor, and she does not recommend any over-the-counter medication, and for now, she would not prescribe anything stronger.”

Sonya looked down at the baby; he was now fighting sleep, but sleep was winning.  

His mom slowly pushed the stroller as another train pulled into the station.

Sonya strolled beside her.

“He’s been sick for three days, and he coughs a lot in the night and when he does….” her voice broke.

Sonya glanced over at her and saw tears escaping from her eyes.

“Don’t cry,” Sonya quietly said.

“I can’t help it,” the mom said, “my son is sick, and I understand why people don’t want him to be around them right now, but they don’t have to be so mean about it.”

“I know,” Sonya said.

“He’s just a baby, and this cold is taking forever to go away,” she continued.

“Okay,” Sonya said. “When my little brother was sick with a cold recently, my stepmom took a washcloth, and she daubed some cough ointment on it, and with one of those huge baby pins, she pinned it on his clothes.”

The mom wiped her tears with her upper arms.

“That way, the ointment can be closed to his nose and help to keep his airways clear.”

“Oh,” the mom said, “I’ve never heard of that before, but that’s a good idea, thanks.” 

“Yeah, it helped my brother, but I am also going to pray that the Lord will heal your son soon.”

“Thank you,” the mom said, and her smile was longer this time.

“You’re welcome,” Sonya said, “but I’ll leave you guys alone now because I have to catch the next train to school.”

Another train pulled into the station, and with that, they parted ways.

The End

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