Snowflakes In Summer

There’s no snow on the ground.

It almost doesn’t look like winter. The frost vanished with the rising morning sun, and the wind is cool but not frigid. It’s nothing like the northern winters, with the harsh blizzards and the cause to actually bundle up. A yellow knit scarf is more than enough for Caitlin, and an olive long sleeved skirt is plenty for her son.

He’s getting bigger every day. It’s a fact that both fills her with trepidation and joy. He’s getting bigger, and soon there will be no cause to scoop him up when his legs have grown tired. These yearly trips to the southern states will fade and dwindle, until she’s making the drive all on her own.

Caitlin's Family Portraits

But for now, he looks up at her. There’s still a certain shine to his eyes that’s only ever brought about by the glittering faux crystal snowflakes and the strings of unlit fairy lights. The air smells like the ocean; salt spray and funnel cakes, mixing together into something that can never be replicated, no matter how many candles she tries to light at home.

“I’m tired,” he says.

Caitlin asks, “Do you want to go home?”

He shakes his head and holds out his arms. “Carry me?”

“Always,” she says, and hopes that and a day never comes. Caitlin scoops up her son, waits until small arms have wrapped around her neck. The fronds of the palm leaves clatter together. A nearby shop is setting up an inflatable snow man on their walk. “You’re getting so big!”

“I’ll be grown up like you, soon.” He yawns, rests his cheek against the side of Caitlin’s neck. A hand curls in the back of her hand knit scarf. “Hey, momma?”

Caitlin hums. She steps closer to the snowflakes. Every time the wind blows, a cloud of white glitter falls off and onto the street. Dried bamboo has been woven together to form a fence around the outside dining area of the restaurant.

Caitlin's Family Portraits

“Can we come back out here tomorrow, too?” Another yawn, larger this time.

“Of course we can,” says Caitlin. “We’re here all month. You know that.”

He hums. “Okay. Then I think I want to go home for a little bit.”

She smiles, presses a kiss to the side of his head. “That’s what I thought. It was a long drive down, huh?”

This time, the hum is her only answer.

Her son has already started to drift off to sleep. Caitlin looks over her shoulder one last time as she walks away, headed back towards the car. They’ll come back tomorrow, alright, and she’ll come back every year until these snowflakes are no longer up.

Caitlin's Family Portraits

Written by Katelynn E Koontz