The hisses and crackles emanating from the burning pine and the spinning vinyl are indistinguishable. The fireplace and the record player each exude their own species of warmth, necessary bulwarks against the freezing of the body and spirit. Outside, the crystalline feathers fall silently and with great promise. The girl had long retired for the evening, the boy took one last stab at the sentence before he joins her.
Incongruous amidst the rustic trappings of the cabin, centered at the largest window, sits a mammoth desk ornately inlaid with Gabonese ebony. The story of this desk’s arrival to this place is for another time. It is the periwinkle typewriter perched thereon that most holds the attention of the inhabitants. In that Luddite apparatus they have each found their refuge and thus have found their refuge in each other.
She is up before the sun, an unbroken habit. The dog takes her place in the bed next to him, a seamless transition of snuggles that leaves his sleep undisturbed. His peace is further assured by the fact that the clacking of the worn-in keys is so ingrained in him as to match the rhythms of his body’s slumber. In a former life, they would have already been outside, rushing to secure the powdery bounty with which the night had blessed them. But theirs is now an unhurried existence.
Wrapped cozily in her weathered blanket, the contents of her mind trace their way down her fingers and onto the mounting pile of pages. Steady, with purpose, but also with obvious joy, she crafts and informs and, sometimes, loses herself in the beauty of the process. A tough one, she is nonetheless dainty, and it takes nonzero effort to depress each keystroke. It is this micro delay between thought and execution that troubles his manic writing more than her equanimous approach.
As the rays begin to stream through the top of that certain fir, she knows that it is time to pause and go ski. The cycle of clicks and dings ends and with it, the white noise that kept him asleep. From prone to packing his gear in a matter of minutes, he takes stock of her progress as he sips the coffee and scarfs the waffle that she has made for him. The stacks of papyrus signal the productivity that never surprises him and which he tries not to envy.
They traipse and climb and float and giggle and repeat. Their skintrack dialogue, their snack break conversations weave and stall and restart, words their milieu and their pleasure. But never once do they discuss their respective work. The ply their labor on the same machine, their stories linked in this way and also cosmically, but never intentionally.
Returning in the later afternoon, they shake off and organize their stuff for the next day or perhaps a night tour. He tilts his head in question and she nods; she has more to say before she is done. He begins preparations for their supper, while she returns to the periwinkle typewriter, continuing to follow the thread of the inspiration renewed by their day’s sojourn.
With dinner roasting and simmering, he sits down next to her, offering her the match to his cocktail. As they clink glasses, the transition begins. She catches his gaze at the anachronism, the reason that they are even out in this bliss in the first place, and she switches places with him. He has that look in his eye; she gets up to check on the meal.
Sated, they sit meditatively in front of the fire, the dog already snoring. She is not far behind and he is soon tucking her into a downy ensconce. He puts another two logs on the fire, clocking the twinkling of the red flames as they reflect in the typewriter’s periwinkle finish, the mixing of colors an indoor alpenglow. He stretches one final time, takes a seat, and there he shall remain, tortured and triumphant, pecking away, cursing occasionally as he jams the ribbon with his indelicacy.
It is deep into the night when he forces himself away and falls spent into bed, keen to do it all again.