Gabriel, wrapped in his inadequate blanket, was hunched, shivering, and silent in his little seat. Jonas stopped the bike wearily, lifted the child down, and realized with heartbreak how cold and weak Gabe had become.
Gabriel has become so weak...
It's called snow, Gabe. Snowflakes. They fall down from the sky and they're very beautiful.
There was no response from the child who had once been so curious and alert.
Wearily he remounted the bicycle. A steep hill loomed ahead. In the best of conditions, the hill would have been a difficult, demanding ride. But now the rapidly deepening snow obscured the narrow road and made the ride impossible.
He pressed his hands into Gabriel's back and tried to remember sunshine...he felt his face begin to glow and the tense, cold skin of his hands and arms relax...Jonas began to walk up the hill.
Maybe there's still hope...
But the hill was treacherously steep; he was impeded by the snow and his own lack of strength. He didn't make it very far before he stumbled and fell forward.
There was no purpose in if-onlys. His entire concentration now had to be on moving his feet, warming Gabriel and himself, and going forward.