It's a Cold Job, but Somebody Has to Do It

On my lips the scent of cherries, smoothing over the rough spots that tingle and burn otherwise. The air is bitter cold, seeping in slowly through the layers of fiberfil in the name-brand coat I inherited from my cousin. I begin to bounce a leg in a feeble attempt to avoid shivering.

I press the button that operates the lift, raising a wheelchair filled with a bundled child up to the floor level of a school bus. The driver wheels the student into the bus. I press the lift to lower it back down for another. The quicker they get on and get warm in the bus heat, the quicker I can go inside and get warm, too.

I smile at the driver as the second child is wheeled in, but she does not smile back. The small talk stalled as soon as my teeth began to chatter. My nose feels like ice. Every breath is decreasing my body temperature. I slam the door shut and lock it. Shivers shake my spine and send tingles down my legs and across my back.

I hurry in. School is officially over for the weekend.

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