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We pause as you tip snow from your boots. Your teeth are chattering, your cheeks flushed with the cold. I ask if you want to go inside and get something hot to drink. I read that they do good coffee near here. You shake your head and bend down to shape a ball of snow with your red fingers, something dangerous shimmering in your eyes.
“Don’t you dare,” I say.
We stare at each other for a moment and I can hear the soft crunch as your hands pack the snowball tighter. Your lips pull into a smile and I can’t help it; so do mine.
“I’m not joking,” I say, but I can’t keep the laughter out of my voice.
Behind us, Oslo whirrs and lives, full of light and stone and glass. In a few minutes we could be back in the city centre but out here in the park we’re completely alone. The snow is dimpled with footsteps from earlier in the day but a fresh downfall is gradually smoothing them out. Soon there’ll be no trace that even we were here. It gives me a strange feeling, being so erasable, but it’s kind of nice too. I think back to last night, looking out from our apartment balcony, steaming mugs cradled in our hands, talking about the future as we watched the sea freeze. You’d said not to worry, that bad things always pass, and I understood that, watching the water change.
I smile at the memory and that’s when you strike. Aim like a sniper, the ball hits my neck and you cheer, spinning in a circle with your hands in the air. I shake snow from my collar and shiver as it falls inside my jacket. I duck down and scoop out a handful of my own but before I can shape it you’re running at me, laughing, and then we’re both on the ground. We sink into the snow together and I give up the fight. We lie, breathless, and watch the white sky above us glimmer and flurry with the beginnings of a blizzard. I read that the Norwegian word for happy is lykkelig and I roll the word around my mouth before leaning across to kiss your rosy cheek. Lykkelig.