Hans stepped out into the snow wearing white shorts and a white t-shirt.
Ever the optimist, Hans gripped his tennis racket, and a single ball. He walked along the stamped down path to the tennis courts. The fencing around them prevented snow clearing in the winter, but sometimes the courts were turned into a skating rink. In years past, Hans had been able to hit the ball a few times, though he inevitably slipped. He occasionally hit a skating child and apologized.
Now, though, as the snow fell, he had no hope of playing. It was a wet snow, good for packing into snowballs, but a snowball doesn’t mix well with a tennis racket, and a tennis ball doesn’t bounce on wet snow.
Still, Hans tried. He threw the ball down once to get a feel for the court. It buried itself five inches deep. Hans dug it out, his hands already red and chilled.
He tossed the ball up in the air, swung his racket back, then fired it forward. The ball went flying to the other side of where he imagined the net was, needling straight into a snow bank. Hans stared, considered walking over to hunt for it, but knew it would be a futile endeavour. He took a breath in, let it out in a fog, and turned to go back inside.
He would search for that tennis ball, along with all the others, in the spring.