Monday 13th December.
After the past few days, when the cold had slackened a bit, I was wondering why the heating had come on so strong again. Inside since 5 o’clock or so tonight, I’d “blown off” (in that unfortunate American term) the second-last class of the semester, and was feeling the old childhood pleasure of stealing solitude — like the opposite of being spread too thin under too many eyes. At first, I pottered around (the body clock humming down to reset itself towards a proper circadian rhythm after a weekend of sleeping in); then I went out onto the balcony. The curtains were closed. I’d been wondering why it was so quiet. The zinc table-top and mismatched chairs were coated with snow, and there was broken glass on the tiles. Wind yesterday had knocked something over. Snow covered it. East 7th Street – Kensington, in Brooklyn – had a black, icy look under the quarter-inch of snow. A yellow taxi passed, and tiny flakes were whirling, whorling, around a lamp. Last night, the black branches of the tree to the left were lit by the same street lamp, and covered in crystalline droplets, none of them falling, all of them glistening. A premonition of snow. Tonight, I palmed off a chair (it felt granular, almost like sand, but beginning to be wet), put up my fake fur hood, lit a cigarette and sat, not really thinking, starting to get lost in the snow.