The bakery by the hospital is brighter than it is outside. Snow clouds conceal the mountains and the sun from view, the day is only dimly lit even well into the morning. Billy’s dad sits in the bakery and watches the first snow in weeks falling to the ground, trying to ignore the conversation of customers and staff and the French music that tries to establish an atmosphere.
Leaving the German client behind at camp was easy to do, there was nothing to worry about and the client, a grey haired man a little older than Billy’s dad was content to wander the woods nearby or read a book on the deck in the sun. He had a son of his own and a daughter as well and understood the worry a parent can have over a child, he understood the laugh lines around the eyes of Billy’s dad were deeper and more furrowed that morning than normally when he was laughing while cooking dinner or after dinner while he was telling stories over a sip of apricot brandy or tea.
He left the hospital for the bakery to wait for a call from Jim that he was ready to go home. When they took Jim’s boots off in the emergency room and then his socks that were stuck to his feet his toes were black, his wool socks absorbing the liquid oozing from the cracks in his skin. Billy’s dad had to leave to settle his stomach and have a coffee and wait for the doctors to finish removing toes or feet or ears and to finish bandaging what was left. Jim was out there on the lake a long time and that night was much colder than the nights before or after, maybe the coldest of the winter even. But he was okay now. Jim was at the hospital now and Billy was back at camp to take care of things there and the three of them would be okay now that the kids were safe, but he still needed to settle his stomach and figured it might be unsettled for a long time now.