The weather had changed dramatically in one week.
The soft regular thump of Garrett’s shoes on the concrete street contrasting sharply to last week’s crunch on ice or snow patch.
The above-normal temperatures of the past three days had erased the last traces of winter.
Winnipeggers poured outside in shorts, shirt sleeves, halter-tops to soak up sun and begin summer tans.
Tonight, as Max Garrett jogged his regular suburban route, he heard the voices of children at play, the whisper of the occasional lawn sprinkler set to work in an effort to urge dry grass back to life, knots of people on front lawns talking and laughing as they become reacquainted after months of isolation behind the walls of their homes.
These were to him the music of spring.
As Garrett turned onto Kilkenny Drive, the distant choir of croaking frogs in the water pools near the river replaced those earlier sounds of suburbia. His running had gone well; he felt strong.
His thoughts kept coming back to Clare.
She had left for England two weeks earlier with her parents to connect with family.
His mention of the European trip he had been planning for the following summer to mark their twentieth wedding anniversary did not deter Clare for a moment. “This opportunity to travel with mum and dad may never come again,” she had stated bluntly.
Max accepted this reasoning but it hurt.
Clare’s call saying her parents were coming home, but she wanted to visit continental Europe while there, sent a shiver of foreboding.
Her explanation of an unexpired Euro rail pass and making the most of the cost of her flight over and back didn’t assuage his premonition.
The past five years of their marriage had not been ideal.