My car windshield was cracked. Rain slipped in and tapped time on the dashboard while you drove. Stereo cymbals crashed and made kilometres into atmospheres, made our autumn road-trip grand and unruly. We stopped at beach, one famous on this coast. Determined plinking notes on a piano made of sugar. The flat grey sand, bookended by mammoth cliffs that ached towards the Pacific, was ours. Your boots were soaked anyway so you waded in up to your waist, hands white with cold, flapping like seagulls for me to follow. The wind spun flecks of salty sting. We checked into a motel, a scratched key with a disco-ball keychain. You loved this kind of chintz. You slid it onto a chain and bowed your head, slipping it over my neck, a bestowal. The smell of our damp socks on the motel heater reminded you of skiing, of salty-sweet hot chocolate from a machine. It reminded me of a slow thaw, from the outside slipping in, like rain.