Faith, Art, writing and learning are Tim’s passions. Tim loves working in education. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.
Snow fell as Clarissa made her way home. As she made her way down her deserted sidewalk she passed a lonely looking snowman. She stopped and looked at him.
“I feel sorry for you. Stuck here in one place all by yourself. It must be awfully lonely.”
“No, it’s not too bad. There are a lot of people like you who stop buy just to say hi. Besides truth be told I’m only here for a little bit then I’m gone.”
Clarissa stood there for a moment trying to comprehend what just happened.
“Only to people who truly need my help. By the look on your face you seemed like you needed my help.”
“Are you a therapist snowman now?”
“No, I'm just a good listener. Truthfully, where do I have to go?”
“But you’re a snowman.”
“Just talk. I’ll listen.”
Clarissa started talking. “You see, up until a few days ago I was fine. Well at least I thought I was fine. Then my boyfriend came and told me he was done with me. Not his type, he said. Then my mother informed me she was selling the family business which I loved so much. Now I have to go back to my hometown which I left to pursue a greater life in the city. Oh yeah, I’ll probably run into the guy I went to high school with and he’ll want to hook up with me again. Talk about someone who isn't your type…”
“You know all of this sounds like the plot of a Hallmark movie.”
“Wait, no!” She looked at the snowman.” How do you know about Hallmark movies?”
“I’m made of snow so I get around. Now as to your problem. The first thing you need to do is go home and help your mom. Maybe you’ll like it there and you might even find the old boyfriend…desirable.”
“Hey don’t knock it till you try.”
“So suppose I try the advice of a snowman and it doesn’t work out then what?”
“Suppose it does?”
“Maybe you’re right.”
“I usually am.”
“Not a modest snowman…are you?”
“I just call them like I see them.”
“Well thanks for the advice.” I don’t want to be rude but it’s getting cold out here so I think I better be getting home.”
“No problem. I can understand you not liking the cold the way I do. After all, I am a snowman.”
She turned to go. She looked at the snowman one last time. “Thank you.”
“No problem. I’ll see you around.”
“Maybe.” She said. She turned back. The snowman was gone. Had she imagined it all? She shook her head and walked away. In the darkness stood a lone figure. A snowman no more but now an angel. “See you soon.” Said Fred the Angel as he faded away.
Two days later Clarissa drove down Main Street in her hometown. It looked the same as when she’d left twelve years ago. The same old looking buildings. The same faded store signs. The place was in need of some color. She pulled into one of the slanted parking spots outside the cafe. She opened the car door and looked around. So many people were idling up and down the tree lined sidewalks.
“Doesn’t anybody work around here?” She thought. She looked at the cafe. She thought about all the hours she spent working with her mom. She sighed. She walked up, opened the door and stepped inside.
“Clarissa, you're here.” The woman ran and hugged her.
“Hi mom! The place looks better than I expected,”
“I owe it all to Jeannie and Fred.”
“Jeannie and Fred?”
“Yes, Jeannie works the counter, kitchen. Basically any place I need her. Fred, well, let’s just say he’s a miracle worker.”
Clarissa looked around.
She glanced over to the service counter. Behind the counter stood a middle aged blond woman with her hair in a ponytail. Behind her the door opened and closed. She turned to find a grey haired man enter the store. In his arms he held some bags of groceries. Her mother rushed over to grab the bags out of his arms. Clarissa’s mother turned back towards her.
“Clarissa, I want you to meet Fred. Fred, this is my daughter Clarissa.” She looked at Fred.
“Have we met before? You look so familiar to me.”
Fred smiled. “Well I have a lot of food to prepare. I must be going,” Fred turned and headed towards the kitchen.
“I know I’ve seen him somewhere before.” She said to herself. She turned to find Jeannie watching her. Jeannie smiled and waved. Clarissa walked over to the counter.
“Hello, can I have a coffee with…”
“Two sugars, some half and half, with added caramel syrup.”
“How did you know. I mean I’ve never met you before.”
“Lucky guess.” She said as she readied the coffee.
“Jeannie…my name is Jeannie.”
“So Jeannie, what brings you to our small town?”
Jeannie smiled. “Fred. Fred brought me here.”
“Are you two…”
Jeannie’s eyes popped open. “Oh Heavens no.” She realized how her words sounded. “ I mean Fred is a nice guy and all but he is older than me. “Way older, she said to herself.” Besides, Fred and I are just good friends.” Jeannie decided to change the subject. “Your mom tells me all of this could be yours.”
Clarissa looked around. She took a sip of her coffee. “You know when I escaped from here twenty years ago I never once thought of coming back. Well coming back to take over this place. I wasn’t even planning on coming back until I got some advice from a snow…I mean a nice man.” Her eyes lit up. “The snowman. He reminds me of the snowman.”
“What?” Jeannie chimed in.
“Oh nothing.” Clarissa said. “Have you seen Fred?”
Jeannie smiled. “I think he went into the back.”
“Well, I’ll talk to you later.” She picked up her coffee then headed towards the back room. Before she got there the front door opened. In walked an older man. He spied Clarissa and hurried over to her
Ah Clarissa, I see you finally came to your senses. I bet your mother is glad you’re here. I mean she has been praying you would take over the shop.”
“It’s good to see you Mr. Nolan but I’m only here to visit my mother. I have my career back in the city.”
“Yes, you run a department store or something if my memory is correct.”
“Are you happy?”
Clarissa just stood there. Was she happy? She’d thought so but Mr Nolan’s question got her to thinking. Maybe she wasn’t as happy as she thought. She looked up at Mr Nolan who was smiling at her. “I guess so. No, I mean I’m really happy.”
“Good.” He said. “If you’ll excuse me I’ve got to get my coffee and go.” He started towards the counter then turned back. “It just dawned on me. You didn’t sound so convinced about being happy.”
Clarissa stood there for a few moments thinking about Mr Nolan’s words to her. Was he right? Was she happy in her current life? Of course she was. She headed towards the back room. Of course she was happy. Yes, she would run with the idea that she was happy.
“I’m glad you’re happy.”
Clarissa jumped. “Oh sorry I didn’t know you were there. Wait, how did you know I was thinking about being happy?”
“You were talking to yourself.”
Her cheeks reddened. “I’m told I do that sometimes. You’re Fred…right?”
“Yes, how can I help you?”
“First, I need to thank you for helping my mother.”
“It is what my associate and I do, help others. Of course I can't stay here forever. Sooner or later I have to move on. Maybe you could come back and help your mother run this place. She sure could use the help.”
“You’re not the only one who said that to me.”
“Well, it seems like good advice. Family first I always say.”
“Advice aside, do you mind if I ask you another question.”
“Have I ever met you before?”
“I can truthfully say I’ve never met you in my current form before.”
“Current form? What do you mean…current form?”
“I mean the way I look now.”
“Oh, I thought you meant at one time you might have been say…a snowman.”
Fred laughed. “I can assure you my true form is not…a snowman. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get ready for the lunch rush,”
He walked away leaving Clarissa behind. She narrowed her eyes. Fred was hiding something. What she didn’t know but she was going to find out.
© 2022 Timothy Whitt