The valley feels smaller since the snowfall, the mountains closer, as if they tore up their roots as she slept and inched nearer to the cabin. Snow distorts everything, swelling the trees, the cowshed, even the bucket on its stiff rope.
The winter has made her at once smaller and larger. Her skin feels dry and stiff – reptilian – her body shrinks from her clothes which are always chill and heavy with damp. Layers of clothing bulk her frame, but dresses, shifts, coats, shawls make her arms rigid, constrain her legs so her movements have shrunk too.
Before the valley she was a vain creature, standing before the glass in her room for half an hour at a time to appreciate the sweep of her eyebrows, the pleasing bow in her top lip. This life has peeled that from her. Now she only dresses for warmth and can’t recall when she last wore a boned corset. The thought of Mother’s reaction to her body’s natural state makes her laugh, the sound low and hoarse, a bear like growl.
She remembers cold when she lived with her mother, but now that seems like a comforting kind of chill, existing to accentuate the pleasures of a warm parlour, a blazing fire, the shimmer of candlelight on glass.
The cold here is different from that as a slingshot from a rifle – one is a plaything, the other seemingly designed to kill.
To read more about Sara, see here to read How long will you be gone?