In the land of Serbia, in a small village right next to a mountain, you can live a happy life with a family. During the summer, it's hot and almost never windy and it's hard to catch your breath when you work out in the fields. During the winter though, it's not cold at all. It's only a few degrees lower than the summer, which is very strange for Serbia, and the lands around it even.
Then of course, there is a legend of how it became so hot in the winter. There is a house in the back of the village, higher in the mountain, where the only one left from the family was an old lady. She was always nice to the kids, and when I was a kid she always used to give me some pieces of candy, or a fresh peach just harvested from her garden, when I went in the mountains to harvest mushrooms. She liked me because I always helped her when she felt ill, and once I even brought her a puppy, just born from my dog Lola. The puppy is still healthy and playful, although it's been nine years since it was born.
But whenever you mention the winter to the lady, she gets serious and grumpy. She stops rocking in her chair and looks straight into the wall. That moment of silence was always so scary to me... But when you change the subject she tries to quickly think of something else and joins your discussion. Now, three years from when I left the village and started my own family in a city, i came back to check on everything. I came to my old home, had a chat with my parents, had lunch, and it was all really nice. I felt really happy to be back. Later in the day I went with my kids to see the old lady, and she was so happy to see them. They reminded her of me when I was a kid. Once they all had a chat, the kids went to play in the garden, and my wife went to look after them. I couldn't resist but to ask the lady... : "Miss Harrisson... I always wanted to know... what is the special bond with you and the winter?" She looked up to the sky, stood silent for a moment, and then told me a story.
"It was all so long ago. It was winter. My husband and my son went up to the mountain to gather berries. It was really snowy and all of a sudden, a blizzard came. They were far away from the village... they couldn't make it back. I found my husband and son in the forest, far away. They were frozen. Hard as rock. Pale as snow. They died because I sent them to gather berries for my pie..." she made a long pause, "My son's name was Sam."
I stood there and watched her without blinking. I was full of grief for her family. I didn't know... I never knew that story... she had never told anyone.
My kids broke the silence when they opened the door laughing, and teasing each other. My wife came after them and said we should go home. We said good bye to the lady, and soon after, we went home.
The next morning I had breakfast, brushed my teeth, packed my suitcase, and went out to work. It was starting to get chilly. Soon my nose was sore, and I couldn't feel my fingers. My ears started to hurt. It was so cold. Even weirder, everyone around me wasn't cold at all. They just kept walking like on an ordinary morning. I couldn't feel my feet. I was starting to shake. I was in front of the building where I work and with great effort, opened the door. I stepped in and fell on my knees the same moment. Then... I saw a little boy staring at me from a distance. As it got colder and colder i realized everything and called the boy : "S... s... Sam?" The boy approached me and said to me: "I told her not to tell anyone." He started to cry. A tear dropped down my cheek as I fell unconscious to the ground.
...I'm sorry Sam. I'm deeply sorry.