Their greatest joy was seasonal; when apple trees bloomed they would lie, ready to be blessed by the apple snowman. Each year, the shoes became larger, the steps more certain, the fistfulls of blossoms more forceful. The laughter stayed the same. Julie would giggle as the petals tickled her face. His beautiful wife had remained a child at heart.
Arms outstretched and fingers almost touching, eyes closed against the blossom deluge, Steve imagined those shoes walking. Baby boots leading the way; a procession throughout the years. Even college sized sneakers came home for ‘apple snow’.
Julie had adored it and their son had never forgotten. Even after she became ill, she had insisted on lying under the tree to feel the snow falling. She passed away after Michael’s last snowman visit.
Steve’s world changed. Life felt empty without Julie. He immersed himself in work. His son Michael did much the same; moving interstate to take up a law position. The seasons continued. Steven avoided the first ‘apple snow’ by taking a cruise, but depression found him. He quit working, stayed home, and lost all contact with his son.
Again the tree blossomed. He lay among the apple blossoms, pretending he could feel Julie’s finger tips and hear her giggles. In his mind he heard footsteps circling. He imagined tiny baby boots and large college sneakers.
The air left his chest in a rush. He opened tired eyes to see a child astride him. Michael and a woman stood before him.
“My wife Connie,” Michael indicated, “and that imp is your Granddaughter Julie. She wants to be a snowman.”
Steve closed his eyes; a tear mingled with the petals. Connie and Michael lay down beside him, their fingers touching. Julie circled on tottering legs; her giggles reminiscent of her Grandmother.