As the woman was going to bed the night before, she was grateful for her snug house. Her husband said, "I'm glad we're not homeless." Because the bitter wind was so constant it was almost inaudible. White noise. A dull rush.
The next day, before she imploded from too-much-kid-time-cutting-out-paper-snowflakes, she took her children to the library. The smell of unwashed people, people who needed to get out of the weather, lingered in the air like recently fried ginger.
This woman, who always felt she was toeing the line of taking advantage of her mother-in-law's industriousness, asked anyway if she'd read the kids a book so the woman could wander over to the Fiction section.
She seemed to continually seek out tomes with characters who were on the brink, chafing. Her eyes caught a title: Divorced, Desperate and Delicious. She had no intention of checking out that book, but she had to read the words again to make sure she'd gotten them right. So cheesy, she thought and browsed some more, trying to plug her nose from the inside at the same time she suffered survivor's guilt for having the house to go back to.
She heard her son's seal-like cough from across the building. He'd been up at 3 and 5 am with croup. The whole family was weary.
Two novels in hand, she made her way back to her children. It was time to go home.