by Jacqueline Eis
Sleepless and ruminating at midnight, Phoebe gives up, gets up, and looks out her bedroom window at the night’s full winter moon, street-light bright, sharp-edged, with an icy-looking cloud hanging beside it. A couple, illuminated in the moonlight, ice-skates on the small neighborhood pond across the street. For a moment she thinks the couple could be her father and Dotty, his second wife, waltzing across the ice. Her father was once a very good ice-skater and dancer and has led Phoebe in occasional waltzes around a dance floor or an ice rink. As the couple skates closer, she sees it’s someone else, someone much younger, no one she knows, but playing at romance and showing off, the way Dad and Dotty might have done under her window on a winter night. The skater holds the woman close and leans toward her mouth. Just as Phoebe thinks he’s about to kiss her, he spins her away, her short woolen skirt flaring, and races ahead, teasing. He looks up and briefly makes eye contact with Phoebe at her window, a look she interprets as intrusive and cocky.