The Winter Man

I wrote this short story the morning after a night spent filming a nor'easter (and getting my truck stuck and subsequently un-stuck five different times in the process). I wanted something to match the tone of the short video I was making, and this is what I came up with. I've received some encouraging feedback on the story from those who have watched the video, and figured I should post the text here for anyone interested. Oh, and if you haven't seen the video yet-- check it out below!

 

The Winter Man

I once met a man

On a last winter’s night

 

He had leathered skin

And one eye that pierced like a january gale

His heart was cold

It had long since frozen over

 

He contained a quiet rage

But deep down

I knew there was nothing quiet about it

He hadn’t been given a fair shake

Not in this life at least

 

He told me, “you gotta live hard”

As the wind whipped around him

Circumstance brought us together

But why without shelter?

 

Do you have a place to go?

I asked, as snow drove into my face

He replied, “We all do, I hope”

 

I didn’t expect such optimistic words from a man

that society had long since forgot about

 

He wasn’t a bum though, he told me, appearances aside

A traveling man, he said, when I inquired about occupation

The wind and the snow and the teenage temperature

Didn’t seem to disturb this stoic of the road

 

I couldn’t understand him well, but I’m not sure that was his aim

I felt sorry for him, but he knew that look all too well

“My pa and the war did me wrong,” he replied to my gaze

“But the road never has, not once.”

 

“It’s a cruel bitch, but a fair one,” he went on

“Driving snow, falling rain, hot sun, or scorching asphalt…

The road treats you the same as it treats me.”

 

It was at that time that my Uber arrived

I felt ashamed to get in, given the circumstances

But the look from his one eye, and the smirk on his face

Told me he felt sorrier for me, than I did for him.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:

Marty Skovlund, Jr.