When my boyfriend got up, he lit the fireplace and brewed a pot of coffee. I followed him into the kitchen, grabbing a box of creamy, chocolate-covered eclairs. Bing Crosby sang "Winter Wonderland" from the CD player.
Outside our ninth-floor window, blue jays searched for food. A black raven perched on a tombstone. Cars crept over the wintry mix, leaving tire tracks and skid marks in their wakes.
Reading the news on our laptops, we learned 128 people had died in the USA because of storms moving through the country.
For lunch, I popped a frozen pizza in the oven, baking it until the mozzarella melted into a cheesy blanket over the browning crust and bubbling tomato sauce.
The roads had been plowed and treated with sand, creating a beige and white wall about six inches high against parked cars.
After stuffing ourselves with pizza, we sipped burgundy and watched the fireplace's calming flames. Billie Holiday passionately sang, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," on the radio's jazz station. I hugged my boyfriend.
Sleet bouncing off our windows sounded like popcorn popping, reminding me that I had buttered popcorn I could microwave. When the cooking subsided to a few dying pops, I opened the steaming bag and emptied its contents into a bowl. My boyfriend slid "Top Gun" into the DVD player. Nibbling the salty, buttery movie treat, we watched the action film for about the tenth time. I fell asleep watching the "The Great Gatsby."
When I woke, the wintry mix had stopped, but our storm party hadn't. It was dinnertime. My boyfriend had broiled chuck steaks and baked potatoes. Groggily, I fixed a salad of fresh kale, grape tomatoes, broccoli, baby carrots, and beet slices. I decorated my creation as I would a cake, spooning blue cheese dressing on the top and sprinkling it with blue cheese chunks.
My boyfriend forked the sizzling steaks and baked potatoes onto our plates. We said grace. Showing little discipline, I opened my steaming potato, heavily buttered it, put three dollops of sour cream over the melting butter, and added fresh chives, salt, and pepper. A forkful of it was a symphony of tastes and textures. Then, I hunted for a small piece of browned steak fat, and smothered it with ketchup, salt and pepper, a truffle for people who enjoy that juicy delicacy.
Too full for dessert, we decided to have Irish Coffee, a hot drink
made with strong coffee, whiskey, sugar, and heavy whipping cream.
Sipping our drinks, we peered through the window at a full-sized Christmas train garden: houses, churches, lawns, streets, and trees covered in white.
With his arm around my waist, my boyfriend raised his drink to make a toast, "Here's to the storm."