When he coughs, he sees neon as his breath collides with the harsh cold of January. His last cigarette—goddammit—is stamped out
underfoot and the bus is late, like usual. The nimble spirit of his bride to be is in the air tonight, he can feel it. He can all the time in January, and today was her birthday.
She watches him from across the street, but he can't see her because she is the snow, she is the pavement, she is the feathers left behind in the wake of a bird that refuses to migrate. To her, he appears to be the saddest boy in the world, and from her world encased in glitter and white, she cannot possibly see why.
The bus still refuses to come.
The snow is gossamer to him, and when he looks to his left, the sign for the bus stop is conspicuously missing, and it makes him notice the bite of winter on his chapped lips. He wants a smoke, he wants to drown at the bottom of an amber bottle, find the prize lurking after a few hits. The sign is gone—where the fuck did it go?
He's sorry she was on the bus, but now she is the bus as well. "Where are you?" he asks. To the bus or her, or otherwise.
She is the single cloud obscuring the moon in the sky, and she is the moon so far away, she is the wind flicking across the bristles of his unshaven face and the fabric of the wool that scratches his scalp underneath his unkempt hair in need of a trim. She is the world, and she embraces him, telling him how wonderful she is now, how she can't feel anything but overwhelming joy, how she certainly didn't feel anything when the bus crashed, how she's the reason the sign is missing, how she didn't die and how she is the world.
He doesn't say anything, and he doesn't hear her answer him, only shivers when the wind whips harshly against his cheek, turning his back from her to face her again.
The bus comes, and she knows how it ends, she knows how it goes. She wants to beg him not to get on, but a part of her just wants him to be happy again.
He gets on. She cries with the howl of an wolf in the foothills, but laughs with the sound of children building a snowman in the grassland.
In the aftermath, he wakes up among shrapnel and she hands him a cigarette. Instead of saying thank you he kisses her, and she is the earth and he is the snow of the blizzard.