For a man who’s kept a picture of a beach in his wallet for six years, Toby Flenderson isn’t out of place in the snow. Normally he’d be inside on a cold, snowy night like this, but he’s got Sasha for the weekend and she had begged (“Snow, Dad! Snow!”), and since he can’t say no to that face (how could anyone?), he’s standing under the dull glow of the street lamp with his hands jammed in his pockets.
Sasha squeals with delight as she hurls herself into a pile of snow, the flaps and strings on her hat flying wildly in the air as she does.
He reaches down and helps pull her out of the snow. He rubs his nose against hers and says, “You better not get a cold.”
“You better not get a cold,” is her reply. She punctuates her sentence by sticking her tongue out at him.
He laughs and sets her carefully on the ground. She bends down and begins packing snow together for what he assumes will be a snowball (and he assumes he’ll be the target).
Toby glances up at the stars and blinks when wayward snowflakes drift onto his eyelashes. As he watches the snowflakes float through the gleam of the streetlight, he’s never felt so far from Costa Rica. Things hadn’t gone as planned, but by now he’s used to that. Mishaps and disappointment are really the only constants in his life. When he got back from the trip, his ex had asked why he was going back to Dunder-Mifflin instead of finding himself a new job and he honestly didn’t know the answer. He supposes he’s a man who enjoys the familiar things in life, even if they are mostly unpleasant.
He feels something hit his abdomen and looks down to find Sasha grinning devilishly up at him.
“Got you!” she exclaims.
“Oh, yeah?” he says and bends down to make a snowball. “Well, that’s it, kid. You’re in for it now!”
“No!” she squeals with delight and takes a few steps back. When she sees her father pick up the snowball, she laughs and throws her hands up to protect her face.
Toby laughs and gently lobs the snowball at her. It hits the shoulder of her snowsuit and most of it falls back to the ground.
Sasha lets out another peal of laughter then runs forward and throws herself into her father’s arms.
“Want to go inside and have some hot chocolate before bed?” Toby asks.
Sasha nods and wraps her arms around his neck.
Toby hugs her close and wonders why he ever left in the first place.