This story is sort of a sequel to Snow.
Roger hated winter. Snow, slippery roads, cold that made its way through robes and wings. Two more earth years until the end of his contract and then he would be going home to Heaven again. He stared at his brethren, Jacob and Charlie, who lay snoring in their recliners. They didn’t do much else, these days.
Roger sighed. It wasn’t fair that his number had come up in the assignment bingo. He’d hoped for Mars. No people on Mars, just warmth and the occasional robot vehicle sent from earth.
He heard the door slam closed next door and stared out into the lawn. There he was, little Jack. For a reason that Roger couldn’t fathom, Jack loved winter.
Jack loved everything, even rain, and thunder. He was that kind of person. Bubbly might be the correct term. Jacob had called it joyful, with a voice so bitter and dark that it made his face grey.
There it was, the laughter.
Jack loved to laugh most of all, especially while playing in the garden.
Roger knew how much his brethren hated the noise. He opened the window and leaned out to yell at the boy. The laughter danced through the winter air and soared past his head. He swiftly closed the window. Too late. Charlie and Jacob were awake.
Jacob snarled, “The kid again?”
“His noise will be the death of us one day!”
Roger sighed and said, his shoulders hanging, “I will do it.”
He always did. The others were on earth so long they had forgotten to communicate with the humans. Bitterness now imprisoned their hearts, as if it was the only emotion that existed in this world. Roger knew better, he had seen the joy in those he was sent to help. Every day he struggled to hang on to that.
He put on the wide cloak that served to hide his wings and then rummaged around for some boots. The only ones he could find were bright yellow. He scrunched his nose. He couldn’t even remember getting them. He put them on and walked up to the fence. He stepped on the wooden bench in front of it and gazed over.
The boy laughed out loud as he made another snow angel.
“Can you stop that noise?”
Jack looked up and smiled. “Is my joy getting to you, Roger?”
Roger paled, and said, “You?”
Jack smiled. “I am everywhere, including those two pottering about inside. They haven’t taken an assignment from me in years. They must be happy to be going back home soon.”
Roger cheered, and said, “And me?”
Jack giggled, “You have so much to do here, Roger, you have no idea. Two years isn’t enough, you think?”
He laughed out loud and fell face forward into the snow. He came up and licked it from his lips. His eyes met Roger’s. “Moooooom! Neighbor Roger wants to come have tea!”
Roger blushed fiercely when he thought of Jack’s mother. He glanced back at the boy and said, “You are very wise.”
Jack giggled, “I am a just a boy. Now, come, let’s have tea!”
Roger trudged out of the garden and into Jack’s.
The boy stood there waiting, his face still red from the snow. “Hello, neighbor Roger! My mom will be so happy to see you!”
Jack smiled with the innocence of a child and threw a snowball in Roger’s face.
Roger couldn’t help it. He laughed.
He never even noticed the window next door opening. The loud complaints by Jacob just passed him by, unnoticed.