Blackbird and Snow

‘Blackbird and Snow’ was first published in Skald 19 (2004), and now appears in Reasoning: Twenty Stories.

Read the story

After the divorce there was snow.

Alex came out of his mother’s cottage in Pendeitsh and lifted his mountain bike down the steps to the lane. He could see the library van turning at the bottom of the hill, and left the bike leaning against the garden gate.

The librarian broke off her phone conversation. ‘We’re leaving in a minute,’ she said to him in English.

‘I just want to see what you’ve got,’ said Alex.

The engine started. Alex took his time. He could feel behind him how stern was her calling, how many were the blind and the halt waiting for her. He chose a book explaining how babies are born and a field guide to aeroplanes. She stamped and closed them with a snap.

Snow was drifting like fall-out. Alex put the books in his school bag and rode to see his sister’s ex-husband in Fforest. The snow turned to hail as he splashed through the ford, and turned onto the dirt track between the trees.

Sara watched him coming through the gate, her arms folded, leaning against the jamb of her open front door…

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