Fredericksburg was freezing. That was the first thing I noticed as I walked out of the Shopping Center and into the waning evening night bustle at the end of Main Street. It was much colder than I expected, especially after having spent most of the day shopping with Mickey inside the warmth of the shopping mall. The contrast between that inner warmth and the outer cold tugged at me with immediacy I had not quite expected. I was glad Mickey had insisted that I wear an old scarf, and extra winter clothes today. Mickey and I went up past James City Park. I was holding my purse close to my chest, as if this would help fend off the cold. The fading day fell over the dusty grass and trees of the grass like soot or snow, although Virginia was free of snow today. We were headed for the Metro Street parking lot for the 50 mile drive home, and I was thinking about going a bit out of her way on purpose so I could see this part of Virginia in its winter clothing.
Everything around me was crinkly and bright, the restaurants especially seeming toasty and boisterous, but Fredericksburg was still frozen. I tossed one end of the scarf back over my shoulder, than pulled it down just below my chin. My face, slowly growing more ruddy in the cold, was splattered with rosy colored cheeks. My pale eyes carried a glimmer of agitation, giving me a gaze that seemed all at once curious and disinterested. Strands of thick hair fought with the scarf as if unsure whether they wanted to hide behind it or fall exposed over the outside. Somewhere up on the ragged road a face, creased with smudges and wrinkles, pushed itself into our view.